Summit offers insight on post-pandemic business success
Special to The Union
The annual Economic Summit, presented by the Nevada County Economic Resource Council on Oct. 25 at The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley included entertainment by the local group Air Aligned and a wealth of information for business owners, civic leaders and others in attendance. One of the featured speakers, Sierra Business Council Vice President Kristin York, took the stage to share some timely information about how to succeed in this post pandemic environment.
York is also a Professor of Business who has spent the last decade studying and researching market failures as well as policy interventions that have not been effective, such as housing, healthcare and broadband. York said instead of discussing what has not worked, she would share some wins that have taken place since the pandemic outbreak in early 2020.
York stated that the Sierra Business Council conducted a survey to support the comprehensive economic development strategy for the region and found Nevada County has a number of strengths including arts and culture, talent, entrepreneurship, leadership, agriculture, natural resources and healthcare, among others.
Over the past 18 months, her office has fielded about 20,000 calls from around the region giving the Sierra Business Council a good idea of what businesses were concerned about. York said, “Things like, where do I find money? How do I grow my business? How do I get out of my business? We had a lot of questions about succession planning —people who were ready to get out – they might not have had the valuation or didn’t have a family member interested in taking over. We heard from people who wanted to start a business, and of course hiring issues.” She explained after talking to all of those businesses, some trends emerged.
Businesses who were able to succeed in the pandemic did so by being first in line for funds that were available, were already well capitalized, and were able to pivot quickly. She said they each fell under the headings of “Innovate, communicate, and patriate” and explained each term.
York introduced attendees to a business that while clearing land found a way to mill the wood on site with huge success. Another business has developed an artificial intelligence solution to help the county identify evacuation routes, safety ratings, forecasts approaching fires, etc. The company is working with the Town of Truckee and Nevada County on a pilot program and are in the crowd funding process. Another interesting note is that many of the entrepreneurs are about 15 years older than the norm, showing a trend for people leaving their careers to pursue more meaningful work.
York’s positive message offered helpful information for those who are struggling to stay in business, those working to expand and also went on to discuss broadband opportunities and innovative businesses that are training others to provide services to circumvent delays in the supply chain.
The Sierra Business Council was a major sponsor of the Summit which also included a presentation from Vice President and Chief Economist of the California Association of Realtors, Jordan Levine, and the keynote economist, Christopher Thornberg.
In closing, York said that this is not about a new normal but about a new community. She said it’s about sticking together as a community as happened during the shutdown – from the philanthropy by private owners to the local government putting federal funds into the local economy — stating our community is strong and will continue to succeed because of it. “I think we should be grateful that we live here and that we have each other,” York concluded.
Members of the Economic Resource Council and the community benefited from this information and also from one of the first opportunities to network in over a year and half. The Economic Resource Council board meetings are open to the public, currently still meeting on zoom. To get the link of the presentation or to learn more about the work of the Economic Resource Council write to email@example.com.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a freelancer writer in Nevada County. She writes a monthly column on behalf of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council
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John Cassidy, the longtime CEO of Sierra Central Credit Union, has announced that he will retire January 15, 2022, ending his 22-year career as CEO of Sierra Central Credit Union.