The Transylvania Times -

Task Force Launches Transylvania Tomorrow

 

Last updated 4/15/2020 at 8:21pm

The Transylvania Business Task Force has launched Transylvania Tomorrow, an initiative to assist Transylvania County's small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the recent public health crisis. A central element of the Transylvania Tomorrow initiative is the development of a Small Business Emergency Relief Fund, according to a press release.

The fund is being launched based on direct feedback to task force members from stakeholders and provides a direct way in which less impacted businesses, corporate donors, private foundations, citizens and other philanthropic organizations can financially support the small business community.

At launch, the fund has received $26,000 in contributions, which includes task force commitments, along with a $5,000 donation from Transylvania Tomorrow's first corporate donor, Comporium.

The fund's reach and overall impact will be directly tied to private sector contributions. The task force anticipates the financial needs to be great and is requesting help to increase funding availability, so that as many businesses as possible can be involved. Any business or community member wishing to contribute should go to http://www.brevardnc.org/transylvaniatomorrow to access the online donation tool or contribution mail-in instructions.

Businesses that have been severely negatively impacted and have an interest in applying for funds through the Transylvania Tomorrow program are also encouraged to visit the webpage and complete the online application or print version. The maximum individual business award from the fund is currently set at $3,000.

A selection committee will review requests and award grants until funds are exhausted.

Awarded funds are designed to provide fast, emergency relief to businesses to assist with employee payroll, rent, utilities, insurance or other similar business costs associated with adapting and operating during the COVID-19 crisis. Business eligibility guidelines are as follows:

•Must have primary operations anywhere in Transylvania County.

•Should employee less than 50 full-time workers.

•Must be able to demonstrate a 25 percent or more decrease in revenue due to COVID-19.

•Must be in good standing in regard to state and local taxes and business licenses.

•Prefer businesses that are independently owned; have been in operations for 12 months or more; and have a brick and mortar location somewhere in Transylvania County.

•Applicants must be willing to provide key pieces of information to help track the impact.

Additional information on the fund, including deadlines, award criteria and other ways to support the Transylvania Tomorrow initiative can be found on the webpage and Facebook page. The Task Force will review applications in confidence. All donations will be received, processed and dispersed by the Community Focus Found-ation, a 501c3 organization serving Transylvania County.

The COVID-19 Business Task Force

The Business Task Force was formed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with the mission of working together across the community to support businesses as they work through and recover from this time of crisis.

The task force consists of the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce, Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center, Heart of Brevard, Transylvania County Tourism and Transylvania Economic Alliance.

"Transylvania County is a special place," said Clark Lovelace, executive director of the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce and Transylvania County Tourism and a task force member. "Small, authentic mountain communities like ours are difficult to find. That's part of what makes us such a desirable place to live and to visit. Our small businesses are at the heart of who we are and the driving force of our local economy. They represent people who love Transylvania County enough to stake their livelihood in our community. We owe it to these individuals to protect their investment in our community."

The "vitality" and future of small businesses in the community are a critical concern, said Nicole Bentley, the Heart of Brevard's executive director.

"These businesses, who have served and supported residents and visitors for so long, are under significant threat from the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, it's our turn to serve and support them. If we want a vibrant community tomorrow, we must act today," she said.

Josh Hallingse, the Transylvania Economic Alliance's executive director, said there will be a time to "rebuild and recover."

"While we all feel the impacts of this public health crisis, the economic toll, so far, is heavily concentrated on small businesses in several important business sectors," he said. "This initiative will help our local businesses directly impacted to reach a day in which they can reopen to the public. This initiative provides a tangible way for those that have the capacity to invest to help small businesses beyond typical patronage and shop local initiatives."

"Throughout this crisis, we have seen federal, state, and local leadership step up to the challenge by providing resources and support to our county's small businesses. This initiative is an extension of those efforts by providing a helping hand to Transylvania County businesses," said Ben Smith, director of the Small Business Center at Blue Ridge Community College.

According to Shelia Carland, director and city executive of Comporium's Brevard Office, "Comporium recognizes that there are so many businesses in our community who are hurting at this time and we feel this fund is a great way to show our support and make a difference."

 
 

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