“COVID-19 changed everything,” said Latorra Monk, owner of Oaklandia Cafe in Oakland, California.
Monk started her business journey in 2019 with plans to welcome the neighborhood to her cozy café and create a local hangout. Then, shortly after her grand opening in 2020, the pandemic forced her to shut her doors. “It is my first year of being a business and it has been obstacle after obstacle and shutdowns.”
Experiences like Monk’s have been echoed by many small-business owners across the United States struggling to stay in operation during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, as the nation begins to see lower COVID-19 infection trends and increased vaccination efforts, business owners are juggling day-to-day operations while wading through a sea of small-business recovery resources.
Simplifying the search
As a part of their commitment to the economic health of their communities, Kaiser Permanente partnered with Conveners.org, a nonprofit committed to addressing social impact issues, to launch the Resilience Compass.
The Resilience Compass is a website to help small businesses and nonprofits recover after disruption. It features an easy-to-search database of public, private, and local sources, providing access to:
- Funding opportunities
- Training resources
- Workforce management tools
- Strategy support
The site allows users to sort by business type, including a category for diverse-owned businesses. It also features useful articles with advice and success stories about boosting performance, growth, and stability.
The aim of the Resilience Compass is to drive local economic revitalization and help build long-term business resilience, understanding that healthy communities require physical, mental, and economic health.
Resources on the site are applicable to businesses across the United States, and the website is continuously refreshed with local and state tools for each of the communities Kaiser Permanente serves.
Strengthening small and diverse businesses
Before using the Resilience Compass, Monk found that tracking down resources required multiple searches, insider knowledge, and an expectation that small-business owners should already know the exact resources for their specific needs. After an initial search on the Resilience Compass, she found much of what she was looking for in one place.
“The financial resources were some I had already seen,” shared Monk. With the Resilience Compass, she also found new resources, including links to tools that addressed her specific needs and many dedicated to supporting Black and female business owners.
Monk applied for programs that would support business operations, marketing, and funding, all areas she identified as needing the most attention. As a result, she had an intake interview with one of the Resilience Compass partner non-profit organizations, received helpful administrative tools, joined a business network for people of color, and signed up for monthly follow-up meetings.
“I hope that my business can grow and flourish to become a beacon in the community. I want to stay in business because I love what I do,” shared Monk. “I feel the Resilience Compass resources could be extremely helpful for me.”
Visit resiliencecompass.org for more information and to find small-business resources so you, your business, and your community can thrive.