Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Succeeding post-COVID
For more than 25 years, the Nevada County Economic Resource Council (ERC) has been committed to ensuring a thriving, attractive business environment in Nevada County. As the community begins to reopen following the pandemic, the ERC is focusing on the role the organization can play to help businesses succeed in a post-COVID world.
The ERC Board of Directors is comprised of industry and community leaders from a variety of sectors. Current ERC Board of Directors Chairperson Jason Fouyer became involved as a government official and continues to engage as a local business owner. While he initially became involved with the ERC while serving on the Grass Valley City Council, he continues to work with the organization because he understands the value of having representatives from a variety of sectors working together for the greater good of the community.
Each month leaders in manufacturing, health services, education, real estate, agriculture, hospitality, city and county government, construction, and others meet to inform and discuss what can be done to ensure a thriving community. What makes the ERC so valuable is it is one of the only organizations gathering these key players in one place to share challenges as well as successes as it relates to Nevada County. The ERC serves a vital function by providing a platform to discuss business retention and business recruitment, Fouyer said.
“There’s no other place for the electeds, for business leaders, nonprofit leaders, community organizations, to all come and sit around a table and have really important conversations,” he added. “So, if nothing else, providing that platform is the most important thing the ERC brings to the community.”
The challenges facing local business include finding employees, supply chain issues, understanding how to advertise and market, and ultimately how to successfully reopen. Fouyer said the ERC is uniquely poised because of the cross section of industry sectors that meet each month. “If I weren’t involved in the ERC, I wouldn’t have firsthand knowledge of PPP loans, what other people were doing, other people’s pivots, everybody’s manifestations and changes. I was able to be part of that dialogue. I got to hear what the government was thinking. I got to hear what other industries were doing and I am able to gather that information and apply it to my organization.”
For the next few months, the ERC will use resources to educate, inform and invite business owners to help them recover and prosper in a post-COVID environment. While many businesses are looking for financial resources, the ERC is not a funding source, Fouyer said.
“We don’t have a check to write,” he added. “What we do best is provide resources, communication, guidance, etc. “
Plans are underway to bring manufacturers together to discuss common concerns and discuss solutions, to assist employers in connecting with potential staff, to share marketing techniques and to encourage a grand “reopening” of businesses in the community.
The ERC will also be offering membership opportunities for local businesses. The group works as an advocate on state, regional and local policies and strives to solve other known challenges to the business community including affordable housing, broadband, workforce, innovation, and manufacturing partnerships.
Fouyer said, “We complain about silos all the time in Nevada County, and the ERC is the only organization breaking those silos. We come to the table to hear about issues and find solutions. We provide a forum. We invite you. We want you there. We need you there. We want to hear about your problems, your struggles, and your successes. That table needs to stay open.”
Each month, the ERC will use this page to detail programs and offer updates on the important work happening on behalf of local employers. The ERC board meets on the first Thursday of each month and is open to the public. To become involved in the ERC, go to the website http://www.ncerc.org, or call 530-274-8455.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a freelancer writer in Nevada County. She writes a monthly column on behalf of the ERC.
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