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Economic Scene Newsletter - March 1, 2021

COVID-19 FUNDING AND OTHER UPDATES

EXCLUSIVE PPP APPLICATION WINDOW ESTABLISHED FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, the Small Business Administration (SBA) established a 14-day, exclusive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees. This gives lenders and community partners more time to work with the smallest businesses to submit their applications, while also ensuring that larger PPP-eligible businesses will still have plenty of time to apply for and receive support before the program expires on March 31, 2021. SBA also announced four additional changes to open the PPP to more underserved small businesses than ever before. Click to view PPP applications.

SBA GRANT FOR LIVE VENUE OPERATORS, MUSEUMS, ZOOS AND OTHER ELIGIBLE PERFORMING ARTS ORGS

The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program, administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020. The program includes $15 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. Eligible applicants may qualify for SVO grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. For the first 59 days of opening the grants, the SBA will reserve no less than $2 billion of program funding for grants to entities that have no more than 50 employees. It’s important to note the SBA is in the process of setting up the grant program and is not yet accepting applications; however, you can learn about SVO program details, eligible organizations and allowable use of funds as well as view frequently asked questions.

NATIONAL RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION UPDATES COVID-19 OPERATING GUIDANCE

The National Restaurant Association collaborates with safety experts from government organizations, academia, the public health sector, and corporations to bring operators the most up-to-date guidelines to ensure safe on- and off-premise dining. The updated COVID-19 Operating Guidance builds on the original document and incorporates the latest information and best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

WORKFORCE

VIRTUAL JOB FAIR COMING IN MARCH

Businesses in need of talent can register for the CareerSource Flagler Volusia Virtual Job Fair to be held from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, March 10. Businesses can video chat with potential candidates from their virtual booth. Registration is free. Those in need of assistance with registration can follow this step-by-step guide. Need more help? Email jobfairhelp@careersourcefv.com.

HOUSING AND REAL ESTATE

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE

The commercial real estate market is recovering, according to the National Association of REALTORS® Research Group latest Insights report. However, the recovery is facing a difficult challenge amid social distancing and business opening regulations to control the spread of COVID-19. Commercial real estate sales transactions picked up in the fourth quarter, but full-year transactions were 32% below last year’s level. The industrial market continues to be the lifeblood of the commercial market, with industrial occupancy increasing by 268 million square feet, fueled by the sustained rise in e-commerce sales. On the other hand, the office sector shed 98 million square feet of occupied office space. The pandemic has negatively impacted 75% of small businesses and increased by four-fold the fraction of the workforce working from home, to 25% from just 6% prior to the pandemic.

BUSINESS NEWS

EMBRY-RIDDLE RESEARCHERS RECEIVE FAA GRANTS TO ASSURE DRONE SAFETY

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) recently received four FAA grants to advance the integration of unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, into our nation's airspace. The grants, totaling about $500,000, will be used by ERAU researchers to assess risks and help develop safety protocols for unmanned aircraft as they are increasingly integrated into such uses as package delivery and aerial taxi services. Learn more about the grant award.

County, Sparton team up to help the economy and the environment

Operating out of its vast manufacturing facility in DeLeon Springs, Sparton has been a good neighbor, a good corporate citizen and one of Volusia County’s largest private-industry employers for more than 50 years. For Sparton and the local community, being socially responsible takes on added significance given the company’s close proximity to a delicate watershed that includes the natural spring at DeLeon Springs State Park about a mile away. And that’s why Sparton’s recent overhaul of its onsite wastewater disposal system to a more environmentally-friendly treatment plant was cause for celebration. And it all happened with the help of a grant from the county – an investment in Sparton, the local economy and the protection of precious water resources.

INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYERS

VOLUSIA BUSINESS RESOURCES  – The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major NEW disruptions to the business community. But at the same time, this global health crisis has resulted in countywide collaboration among economic development and emergency response teams to harness countless economic resources and present it all in one virtual location. Volusia County’s Economic Development division is leading the effort, serving as the coordinator between cities and agencies, as the clearinghouse of information, and by creating a new website -- VolusiaBusinessResources.com -- to serve as a countywide source of assistance and incentive program information for businesses. The website includes all federal, state, regional, county and private-sector resources, webinars and provides direct links to Volusia County’s cities’ resources pages. Read the complete release here.

VOLUSIA COUNTY COVID-19 UPDATES – Stay up to date with COVID-19 related news and emergency information via Volusia County’s public information network.

VOLUSIA COUNTY BUSINESS ASSISTANCE

For business assistance from the Volusia County Division of Economic Development, call 386-248-8048 or e-mail vced@volusia.org.

What We Do

The Volusia County Division of Economic Development assists business owners and works collaboratively with local stakeholders. We provide assistance at no cost to businesses with the desire and potential for growth within Volusia County.

The Division can help start-ups, second-stage, or maturing businesses directly or refer owners to other qualified organizations. Our economic development ‘ecosystem’ is focused on creating higher value, higher wage jobs.

While other community partners focus on recruiting new businesses to our county, the Economic Development Division assists existing Volusia County firms and entrepreneurs who are positioning themselves for new growth.  Incrementally growing the 13,935 established businesses already in our county offers the potential for significant economic growth and long term economic health.

In 2018, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach MSA, which encompasses Volusia County, was $16.4 billion. Our rapidly growing economy, now in the top 40% of all MSA's nationally, is driven by thousands of local enterprises that produce a variety of goods and services, creating jobs and stimulating even greater investment. Area companies not only support local commerce but also transact business throughout the world generating up to $293 million in exports, annually.