Main Street businesses, entrepreneurs, startups and employees who are wondering “what’s next” during these unprecedented times can turn to Niagara Global Tourism Institute’s TReC. The business incubator has put into place a number of virtual resources to help business owners navigate through this uncharted territory.
“Supporting small business owners and entrepreneurs is crucial in times like these,” said Pat Whalen, director of TReC. “We are connecting with our incubator network and the entrepreneurship community in Western New York to offer business owners the resources they need to mitigate risk, protect their employees, and support their customers during the coronavirus pandemic.”
From 7:30-8:30 a.m. Monday mornings, TReC’s popular “Niagara Open Coffee Club” is now being held via Zoom. This networking forum, which is held each week, offers attendees a chance to share ideas, offer support, ask for assistance, and form new connections. To find out more, visit https://trecbyngti.com/niagara-open-coffee-club.
On the second Tuesday of each month, the “Niagara Falls Entrepreneurship Meetup Group” is also accessible via Zoom. Experienced entrepreneurs, as well as those who are just starting out, can share tips and resources to help others create or grow a new business. The next meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. May 12. Information can be found at https://www.meetup.com/Niagara-Falls-Entrepreneurs-Meetup/.
Each Wednesday at 1 p.m., TReC hosts a small business discussion group. Whalen partners with Jeannine Brown Miller (JBM HR Consulting Inc.) and Tom Murdock (general manager of the Western New York Incubator Network) to offer guidance and advice on managing businesses during the coronavirus outbreak. During these discussions, the speakers will provide practical information and resources for businesses before opening the floor to questions from attendees.
Business owners are encouraged to contact Whalen at [email protected] or Brown Miller at [email protected] with their ideas on the topics they would like to discuss. The upcoming session, which is scheduled for April 15, will feature Ranya Green, LMHC, senior mental health counselor in Niagara University's counseling services office, who will discuss mental health issues related to the pandemic. Connect with the group at https://www.meetup.com/Small-Business-Group-Discussion/.
On Tuesday, April 14, the “TReC Masterminds Group” will be launched. Comprised of a dozen C-level executives, this group will meet on a regular basis for one year to offer advice and collaborate with one another. For more information, see https://trecbyngti.com/trec-mastermind.
The Niagara Global Tourism Institute is a Niagara University-led initiative to transform the regional tourism industry. Created to foster collaborative partnerships between the public and private sector to improve the regional tourism product, the NGTI operates with a focus on research, skills development, entrepreneurship, and technology.
Last November, the NGTI's TReC business incubator affiliated with the Business Incubator Association of New York State Inc. Its tourism-technology focus is a unique asset in WNY designed to magnify the region’s existing momentum in the entrepreneurial and tourism fields. TReC works directly with entrepreneurs starting a new company from conceptualization to their eventual establishment in the community, and provides startup companies with full suite of services, including business plan development and implementation, mentoring, and guidance with legal and financial matters.