Community in a Time of Crisis

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by Jeanine Black, Bounce chief marketing officer

Bounce Innovation Hub is many things – a trusted resource for entrepreneurs, a professional location for startups and small businesses, a place where ideas are born and innovation thrives.

It is also a community – a community that spans all ages, genders, races and ethnicities. It is an open environment where people are encouraged to gather, work, study, engage, collaborate and find their space. As we get to know one another, we find comfort in familiar faces and routines. We celebrate each other’s wins and mourn our losses.

As leaders of that community, it is our responsibility to look out for those who walk through our doors – whether they are staff, coworking members, office tenants, clients or visitors.

And when the larger, global community is in crisis, that sense of belonging is crucial for our well-being, as humans.

At the time of this writing, we are in the midst of the coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic. Most of us, if we are able, are working from home. Bounce is closed to the public until March 31, and possibly longer. Classes are postponed and most coworkers and building tenants have chosen to work from home to avoid spread of the disease. And Remarkable Coffee and Café has closed per state mandate. (Read our latest statement)

To be sure, “social distancing” is the opposite of Bounce’s mission – we exist to bring people together, to socialize, collaborate, engage and grow. So we want to take a moment to tell all of you that even though we cannot be physically together during this time, we are still a community and your Bounce team is thinking of you each and every day.

If you are in a program or taking a class that has been postponed, we are closely monitoring all guidelines from national and statewide entities. It is our hope that classes can resume, in-person, in the near future, but we have to be realistic, as well. MORTAR is still on track to start April 7. However, our directors are currently coming up with plans B, C and D, just in case – for all programs. As small businesses are hurting all over the world right now, we will do all we can to continue to help ours to keep moving forward.

Please make sure you are staying in contact with your facilitators, instructors, advisors, EIRs and mentors at this time, whether via email, phone call or video. We may not be able to meet in person, but we can still communicate.

To our day-pass coworkers and other visitors, please bear with us and understand our measures are not to exclude anyone, but to protect everyone. We will get through this and we will be open to you, once again.

We also urge you to think about and support our local businesses and nonprofits who are suffering right now. You could donate or volunteer, order take out from a favorite restaurant, buy a gift card for a later service at your barber or hair salon, or order flowers from a local shop for your elder relatives who are quarantined in their assisted-living facility.

Bounce exists to help entrepreneurs and small businesses. We would be remiss if we didn’t ask for your assistance on behalf of ALL small businesses, entrepreneurs and nonprofits, whether they are a part of Bounce or not. This is a time to come together as community in love and spirit, if not in person.

Here are just a few of the many resources, in addition to city, county and state, that we’ve identified to help navigate getting and giving assistance during this time:

  • https://supportlocalakron.com/ is a website started by Bounce coworker Byron Delpinal and his wife, Kirsten, to support local businesses.
  • Bounce company Dot Org Solutions, a marketing and fundraising consulting agency, offers advice on Leading and Planning During a Crisis.
  • Bounce company EmBold, a web + design and development digital agency is offering help for at-risk businesses setting up online sales and deferring initial set up costs. Call (330) 362-8334.
  • Marketing agency Amp Strategy is offering free 20-minute, one-on-one plug-in sessions for any Akron-based arts/cultural business, start-up entrepreneur, or small nonprofit this Friday. Email mailto:kat@ampstrategy.com to find your time on Friday (first come, first served).
  • Summit County Take-Out is a public Facebook group that supports local restaurants.
  • ArtsNow is providing ways to support the local arts and culture community: https://artsnow.org/blog/

Last, Bounce has a robust and active Slack Workspace and Facebook page. Please use these resources to add to the list above, seek further information and guidance from Bounce and most of all, let us know how you’re doing!

Slack invite: https://join.slack.com/t/bouncehub/shared_invite/zt-4nas6pus-1wAhMwzkSvuyAuZ5nswfDA

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BounceInnovationHub/

Everyone at Bounce misses seeing your smiling faces and talking with you. Keep in touch, stay positive, take care of each other, and hopefully we will all be together again, soon.

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