North Central PA LaunchBox survey aims to help businesses recover from COVID-19

May 28, 2020

DUBOIS, Pa. — Results are in from a survey distributed by the North Central PA LaunchBox intended to explore the needs of regional businesses as they endure the COVID-19 crisis, with an eye on reopening when possible.

Serving the counties of Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, Potter and McKean, the LaunchBox developed this short, online business recovery survey to fully understand not only the initial ramifications of COVID-19 towards businesses, but also ongoing issues that may impact those businesses once they begin to reopen. This project has been in cooperation with several counties in the region including Cameron, Clearfield, and Jefferson, along with municipalities and regional resource partners. The intention was to dig deeply into what needs local business and industry might have moving forward, so that the LaunchBox and other industry partners could help to connect business owners and community leaders with resources necessary to thrive coming out of the quarantine.

“The concept behind this project is to be able to examine the effects of COVID-19 on businesses from municipal, county, and regional levels. This will help local and county officials gain access to data that they can directly pass along in conversations with state and federal legislators to further help assist businesses through all stages of this pandemic,” said North Central PA LaunchBox Director Brad Lashinsky. “Another benefit of this survey is being able to examine the effects of this pandemic on a regional level and to utilize the skills and assets associated with all the business resource partners in the region. It provides public officials and resource partners with an overview of the impacts to businesses throughout the region due to COVID-19. This will hopefully allow partners to best utilize their skill sets and resources to support those businesses being impacted."

Lashinsky indicated that the raw data from the survey is going to be directly used in a new COVID-19 Rapid Response Recovery Program developed by the North West Industrial Resource Center, SEWN (Strategic Early Warning Network) and the Clarion University Small Business Development Center, in conjunction with other resource partners. They will take each individual survey collected, examine the needs, and call the company to further discuss developing a recovery plan for them to get through and past the pandemic successfully. The survey collected 288 individual responses.

“COVID-19 has spread through our area and we are not sure of the final impact that it has created,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Herbert L. Bullers Jr. “Businesses throughout the surrounding areas began to consider laying off, putting themselves and employees in hardship. Thanks to the LaunchBox, a conversation began between business owners and local officials. This survey revealed the real effects and impacts that this brought to the area. The information that was accumulated, plus the conversation between those effected, will help the area return as quickly as possible to some sense of normalcy.”

Clearfield County Commissioner John Sobel added, “The results are helpful in the sense that more information is better in reopening business in the County and the region. The same will be a complicated process and we need to do it right. I do want to thank Mr. Lashinsky for his efforts, as well as the DuBois campus of Penn State. I am hopeful that our local businesses will weather the effects of this most unfortunate event in human history.

“The information does help us as local leaders work with the challenge of local businesses obtaining enough funding until they are able to get back on their business feet again," continued Sobel. "The survey results showed that most businesses felt that they might very well need further assistance because of the losses they’ve suffered. We now know to focus on trying to help them obtain a further influx of cash if necessary.”

Lashinsky explained that as a result of the North Central Region Survey, the LaunchBox has been asked to conduct a survey for the North West Region, which includes eight counties. All told, the impact of the surveys will cover about a quarter of the commonwealth.

For a complete listing of survey results, visit https://psu.box.com/shared/static/5fdwbgk86pwhlgad2wphh32hz3opy94t.pdf

For more information, contact the North Central PA LaunchBox at 814-372-3020 or ncpalaunchbox@psu.edu

Visit this link for additional business resources offered by the North Central PA LaunchBox and regional partners.

Last Updated May 29, 2020