The president of Washington State University, Kirk Schulz, urges all WSU employees to to make local purchases and support local businesses struggling with worsening economic hardship during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic .
" The health of our business community is critical to the health of our community at large, "said Schulz, who along with WSU First Lady Noel Schulz, has been so is a support priority Pullman business during the last few months. " We keep hearing that many of our business owners have reached a critical point and are ing to decide if they can continue trying to find ways to endure or reduce their growing financial losses and close permanently. ”
A vibrant and welcoming community is key to the overall college experience . Schulz, along with others, cared and which continued businesses closures ] not only damage the livelihood of friends and neighbors who own operate or work in companies but also the WSU sis topic in general such as future university students and employees evaluate where they choose to live study and work.
Pullman, in particular, has been hit hard.
WSU students generally represent almost 60% of the city's total population and most of the instruction is moved to a remote location, virtual model th and traditional influx x has dropped far below normal. Additionally, many of the iconic events attracting thousands of visitors to city each semester and that Pullman business owners have come to rely on such as home football games, the start, and other annual meetings have been canceled due to public health mandates .
The pandemic has been a triple blow to Pullman's economy. A concerted effort by the university approximately 5,700 full and part time Pullman Campus employees buying locally could help local businesses hold out long enough to overcome the worst of the pandemic.
Although not as potentially dramatic, similar efforts out of the nearly 2,500 employed elsewhere in the WSU campus system, research centers, E xtension offices and other physical facilities could help their communities as well.
"It's easy to say that we love our community, but every now and then, we really have to step up and show action to those words and now it's one of those most important moments, "said Brandon Chapman, a Pullman City Council Member and WSU employee. “It is vital that we help our community by buying locally because it does so much more than helping the individual business owner; it keeps the money in our city and contributes to all the services we trust and help us improve our quality of life ”.
The WSU system has a long tradition of supporting business and community development across the state.
Washington Small Business Development Center
A publicly funded network of almost 35 business consultants who provide free one-to-one advice and other services for small business owners throughout the world state, the Washington Small Business Development Center has been a program of Washington State University since 1980 . is managed under a cooperative agreement with the United States Small Business Administration .
"When small businesses succeed, local communities rule," said Duane Fladland, Washington SBDC State Director.
Almost 1.4 million people in this state are employed by a small business, he said Fladland, and those small businesses are critical to creating a sense of place and community. "Small business owners in every community are the first to offer help when a community need arises," Fladland said, "so it's gratifying to see people help the small business community."
Carson College of Business
Two programs designed to help business owners and entrepreneurs are offered free of charge through Carson College of Business at WSU.
- Carson Business Solutions p broadcasts teams of business students from WSU with small businesses for 13 weeks of free confidential consulting. Released this fall, it is open to small businesses and nonprofits throughout Washington. " The program is a free resource that helps them address challenges, develop new opportunities, and drive business innovation," says Garth Mader, director . "For students, we offer the opportunity to work with a real company on timely issues. " Contact Garth Mader at firstname.lastname@example.org .
- The Business Growth Mentoring and Analysis Program at WSU Vancouver contributes to the regional economic development helping small businesses and nonprofits grow and succeed while providing educational opportunities for Carson College of Business Students. The program consists of a free student consultation and a monthly small business forum. The program is confidential and provides more than 500 hours of free consulting services to qualified companies. In addition, the Business Growth MAP Alliance invites local business owners to meet to learn about best practices and engage in discussions about important issues for growth and success. Attendees get valuable information from local experts and WSU faculty. Contact Nolan Yaws-Gonzalez, Senior Manager, at email@example.com .
WSU Metro Center
Other associations and community development programs are being carried out through outside the university system, including an effort by WSU Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension to help the business district of a northwest Washington city to recover of pandemic closures.
Based on the Everett campus, the Metro Center has been hired by the small Snohomish County Arlington Community to help their business community recover from the financial difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the first steps was to develop an online marketplace for Arlington businesses, particularly those that had not yet taken advantage of e-commerce opportunities.
The Metro Center was created to strengthen connections between WSU and the cities of Washington. It draws on the experience of the entire WSU system, including the offices and research stations of Exte nsion in support of its municipal clients .