ANCA looks forward as two-year business resilience program wraps up

SARANAC LAKE | When the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) launched its Center for Pandemic Response (ANCA CPR) in 2021, small businesses across the region faced unprecedented challenges recovering from the economic crisis delivered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the following two years, the innovative business resilience program tapped into ANCA’s regional networks and knowledge of the North Country business community to serve the urgent and long-term needs of more than 300 local entrepreneurs and nonprofits.

Last month, the regional economic development nonprofit closed out its federal grant for the project, which ultimately connected 327 North Country businesses and organizations with services to help them build stability to better withstand crises like the economic shutdown of 2020. In its final report to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Mastercard, the ANCA CPR team shared impacts and success stories from businesses and organizations that enrolled in the program. ANCA is now leveraging case studies, project data and client feedback to develop additional programming that meets the expressed needs of the region’s business community.

“We are thrilled to have had this opportunity to directly support so many local businesses and organizations,” ANCA Entrepreneurial Economy Program Director Danielle Delaini said. “This work would not have been possible without the EDA and Mastercard, who have demonstrated their commitment to our region’s small businesses through their unique partnership of private and public funding support. Together, we have learned so much about the real needs of our business community and how to effectively address them with customized services. We look forward to continued collaboration with these and other partners to build on this important work.”

Delaini said the pandemic underscored the vulnerability of the region’s small businesses in the face of unexpected challenges. As they worked to provide small business support throughout the crisis, she said, ANCA saw an opportunity to build on the services and networks ANCA had already developed through its Center for Businesses in Transition (CBIT), clean energy program, local food system program, Adirondack Diversity Initiative, and other small business initiatives. Project partners who provided technical expertise for ANCA CPR clients include the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation, CITEC Business Solutions and the Cooperative Development Institute, as well as several local contractors who completed energy-efficiency upgrades.

“ANCA is fortunate to have so many well-connected and passionate staff, partners and stakeholders who share a deep commitment to our region’s small businesses,” ANCA Executive Director Elizabeth Cooper said. “ANCA CPR was able to identify specific needs of individual businesses and utilize our team’s diverse expertise to support them in tangible and empowering ways. We are so grateful for each staff member and service provider who supported ANCA CPR’s work over the last two years.”

Read the full article in the Sun Community News.