SEEC looks ahead

by Patsy Nicosia

November 4, 2020

SEEC and its partners are hoping an online Business Recovery Roundtable next Thursday will give businesses, nonfor-profits, and even local government the resources and inspiration they need to push ahead into COVID 2021.

Registration for the free Zoom event, set for Thursday, November 12, at 8am, is now open at

Organized by the SchoCo Forward Economic Alliance— the Sharon Springs Chamber of Commerce and Destination Marketing are the other partners—SEEC’s Julie Pacatte said the Roundtable will focus on access to capital, something that’s always a concern as business slows in January.

“And now with COVID, it’s going to be an especially dark winter,” she said. “We wanted to give people a chance to look at things like loans and grants and think about how they might modify their business so they’re ready when things pick up in the spring.”

This is SEEC’s second Roundtable; the first, preCOVID, was held at the American Hotel in Sharon Springs and focused on lodging. Though the focus on the 12th will be on access to capital, Ms. Pacatte said she also sees it as an opportunity for businesses to connect and reenergize. “It’s always helpful to hear what other folks are doing,” she said. “We saw a lot of creativity and success this summer with things like outdoor dining. Maybe businesses want to consider ramping up deliveries to keep that going… “Emotionally, it’s always great to hear someone else validate what you’re going through too.”

Speakers at the Roundtable, which will be run over Zoom, include:
•Jim Becker, chair of SEEC’s Resiliency Fund. Mr. Becker will talk about the emergency grant and zero-interest loan program available to Schoharie County businesses through SEEC.
•Steve Smith, executive director of the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, which has recently launched a CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund.
•Walt Brady, deputy director and director of lending, Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region, which offers free
professional development and training.
• Jeffrey Smith of Municipal Solutions Inc, which works with municipalities and not-forprofits.
•Tom Grey of the STEED Emergency Fund.
•Allison Nowak of the NY Forward Loan.
•Jamie Casterlin, business development officer at the National Bank of Coxsackie.

Ms. Pacatte said the SchoCo Forward Economic Alliance had considered holding a separate session for municipalities—which are looking at unprecedented revenue losses—but quickly decided it was important for others to hear their questions about the challenges they’re facing. “We all need to know that even in these crazy times, there are opportunities and we’re all in this together,” she said. “We need to keep our shoulder to the wheel and keep pushing ahead. That’s something Schoharie County has always been good at.”

What comes next for SEEC in 2021 will depend in part on what the group hears at the Roundtable, Ms. Pacatte said. Business retention, tourism,
agriculture and attracting “talent” will likely remain at the top of their to-do list, she said, “but we want to hear what people need, what’s on their minds as we keep moving ahead. COVID is a challenged we didn’t expect, but our goals are still the same.”

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