Steuben County Economic Development Stakeholder Update

Message from Executive Director, Isaac Lee

First, I would like to welcome you to our latest addition of communication from the Steuben County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC). Over the last few years, we have been using direct email and social media to communicate important key items to our community. Recently, we all have been impacted by COVID-19. One way or another, we realize that this will impact us all for a duration of time that is yet to be determined. We are truly experiencing unprecedented times.

This was a bad week in a string of bad weeks. The death toll in the U.S. surpassed that of 9/11 and a consensus is forming around the increasing likelihood of this number reaching six figures before the pandemic comes to an end. The Dow capped the worst quarter in its 135-year history with a 400 point drop. Any sense of relief stemming from last week’s $2.2 trillion stimulus bill — really a rescue bill — is fading fast as unemployment claims reach well into the millions. There is no doubt that dark, challenging days lay ahead. For many, this will be their first professional experience with a struggling economy.

We must remain vigilant in the defense of our critical roles within our communities. Economic development organizations are essential — a question we are getting with increasing frequency. We are the voice of and advocate for, economic well-being. For precedent, you need only look to the most recent disasters in our country; economic development organizations have been included in every level of response, from the federal government down to local government, precisely because of our leading role in promoting and securing economic well-being. It is more important than ever that we assert our authority in this space.

We would like to share with you a few thoughts on the days and weeks ahead:

  • Take care of yourself and your teams. This will be a long road and your community needs you to be well and be focused.
  • Reach out to partners — old friends and new ones — and find ways to collaborate, at any level. As resources become more scarce, it will be essential to partner wherever possible.
  • Tell us your thoughts about the current situation and let us help communicate that to our elected officials — especially in Washington — about what you need and what our communities need.
  • We must root for our collective success. There will be whole college courses and books on how we got to where we are and we know that assigning blame just doesn’t matter right now. We must do everything we can to support success in combating this pandemic and in supporting our economy. 

Second, as executive director, I have sent out directly to some of you several emails regarding the ever-changing news and updates from the various state agencies, federal agencies and local organizations. We are all experiencing heavy loads in getting emails and material from all directions. And we are currently working on building a landing page on our website which will work to gather some of this material for your benefit. Below, you will see some of that material and we hope that this helps you navigate this space during this time.

Third, locally we are encouraging our area residents and businesses to do as much business locally. This will help promote our businesses who are still open and furthermore help our local economy move. 

Finally, we are working on organizing a webinar (Zoom) meeting next week to help our area businesses with information and best practices. Our intention is to do these weekly as ways to update everyone on these changing topics and latest updates.

Stay healthy and let us know if we can help!

Isaac Lee
Executive Director

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