With Lincoln County holding the ignominious title of “highest unemployment rate” in Oregon for much of the Pandemic, and with two of the hardest-hit business sectors – dining and lodging – being so prevalent in the Lincoln City economy, it is well past time for at least a glimmer of good news for Lincoln City businesses.
Just such a glimmer shone forth on Monday, Aug. 24, when the Lincoln City City Council voted unanimously to fund scholarships for small businesses seeking to attend workshops through the Oregon Coast Community College Small Business Development Center.
“Small business is the backbone of Lincoln City,” said Lincoln City Mayor Dick Anderson after the vote. “We feel it is important to keep these business owners educated and up to date in this environment and for the future. Business supports our community and we are pleased to be able to step up and give back in return.”
The city’s scholarship program is part of Lincoln City’s “Economic Tool Kit,” the same source of funds such as zero-percent loans businesses can use for façade improvements, business expansion projects, and more. Once limited to businesses physically located within Lincoln City’s Urban Renewal District, the scholarship program approved Aug. 24 covers the cost of SBDC workshops for any business located within the city limits. Included in the program are a limited number of scholarships for the SBDC’s year-long Small Business Management Program. The council’s actions also included setting aside up to $10,000 to cover the costs of advising services for Lincoln City businesses over the next twelve months.
Thanks to the scholarship, Lincoln City businesses can register for any of the workshops planned for the Fall 2020 term (lineup is online, at oregoncoast.edu/sbdc) at no out-of-pocket expense, while funds last on a first-come, first-served basis.
“We appreciate that COVID-19 has impacted the city’s finances profoundly with the reduction of Transient Room Tax and other revenue streams,” said SBDC Director Dave Price. “This makes us even more grateful for this renewed investment in the continuing education and support of the city’s small business owners. If ever there was a time for business owners to need every tool available to them, it’s now – as they approach an ‘off-season’ that no one can really predict, and as we all work together towards recovery.”
All told, the city approved up to $24,900 in scholarship and advising support for local small businesses. Last year, the city approved a similar amount – this is the eighth consecutive year of such support – but less than half of the approved amount was spent. “The SBDC only submits invoices for scholarships for programs and workshops businesses actually attend,” Price said. “And with the near-total shutdown of our Spring and Summer terms, a lot of programs were switched to remote delivery and made free to all businesses anyway.”
If your business is located within Lincoln City city limits, you’re eligible for free tuition into the Small Business Management Program or any Small Business course, on topics such as financial statements, social media marketing, bookkeeping, personnel management, and more.
Business located elsewhere in the county may be eligible for some other scholarships (for the SBM Program), and workshops start at just $25.
The SBDC strives to provide free, confidential, one-on-one business advising to anyone who requests it. Learn more, and find the complete Fall 2020 workshop lineup at oregoncoast.edu/sbdc. Or, call Dave Price at 541-994-4166