Strong leadership, a collaborative spirit made recovery possible for small businesses

Esther Chin

Esther Chin, creator of Garden of Esther homemade pasta products, is one of the many small business owners who received a federal grant with the help of the Florida Small Business Development Center at Indian River State College.


The past year has certainly been one of the most difficult in the modern history of business. No one could have predicted the scope and depth of the challenges encountered by small business owners and operators. Fortunately, but not surprisingly, regional economic development organizations, educational institutes, business organizations and municipalities responded to assist with the hardships and create a path forward for Treasure Coast small businesses.

When state and federal economic assistance first became available the region’s municipal leadership immediately created and deployed small business grant programs. These grant programs and the lifeline these funds provided were and continue to be a source of survival for many regional small businesses.

Elected and administrative leadership at Indian River, St. Lucie, Okeechobee and Martin counties created channels and mechanisms to ensure these grants made it into the hands of small business owners. Elected officials are sometimes easy targets for criticism and complaints, but now it is time for a big thank you and to recognize the region’s municipal leadership for its vision and prompt response to this small business crisis.

These Treasure Coast municipalities leveraged the region’s four economic development organizations to promote and support their small business assistance grant initiatives. In some cases, the EDOs were engaged to implement the municipalities’ grant programs. Helene Caseltine, Peter Tesch, Joan Goodrich and Megan Smith along with their respective EDO teams were the sneakers on the street ensuring grant dollars made it into the hands of small business owners.

Indian River State College has supported the marketplace, establishing and launching rapid credential programs and deploying grant funds for students. The Florida SBDC at Indian River State College is proud to be a part of and support these valuable grant programs.

The team of writers, editors and designers at Treasure Coast Business Magazine also takes pride in knowing the pages of this business-dedicated publication are used to disseminate and distribute timely resiliency assistance information.

Again, our region’s political, administrative and educational leadership deserves a thank you for their commitment of manpower and grant dollars dedicated to support small business owners and operators.

While a friendly competitiveness has always existed and will continue among the region’s four counties, it was impressive to witness the collaborative spirit that came out when the small business marketplace was threatened.

Treasure Coast Business Magazine looks forward to covering and reporting on the region’s return to business.

See the original article in the print publication

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