Build Economic Resiliency
Economic instability has been a devastating side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment has risen to record breaking levels and businesses struggle to remain viable. Rochester was built on innovation and entrepreneurship and those characteristics continue to be the backbone of Rochester’s economy. Its innovation and entrepreneurship that will contribute to the City’s recovery from the impacts of the pandemic as well as long-term economic resiliency from future challenges.
Relevant Rochester 2034 Strategies:
Economic strategies targeting small businesses:
ECN-2b. Guided by the 2019 City of Rochester Commercial Corridor Study, create a new financing vehicle housed within the Rochester Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) aimed at providing predevelopment funds for small businesses. This investment should focus on high-impact neighborhood projects that will serve as anchors for further development in neighborhood districts
ECN-2e. Assess and reduce administrative and regulatory barriers for small business development and support.
ECN-2f. Continue to explore creative and innovative ways to finance businesses, focusing on providing grants, below-market interest rates on loans, and large-scale economic development incentives through programs like the SBA 504 lending program.
ECN-2g. Continue to support and expand programs such as Kiva Rochester and other innovative community-based methods for increasing capital access such as micro-lending, shared assets, and resource pools.
ECN-2h. Collaborate with traditional financial institutions to make lending practices more accessible and culturally inclusive.
ECN-2i. Raise awareness of new and existing financial products and strategies available to residents and small businesses.
ECN-2l. Offer businesses a stronger and more coordinated network of service providers focused on technical assistance, training, and mentorship opportunities. Focus on connecting service providers through systems integration, shared performance management, navigating multiple levels of bureaucracy for development projects, the creation of a central hub of information and referrals, and increased funding to support “Navigators/Advocates” to assist in accessing services.
ECN-3a. Support and grow startup businesses in the community through incubator and small business programs and initiatives, such as NextCorps, Luminate, RIT Center for Urban Entrepreneurship, and the Commissary.
ECN-4d. Increase outreach efforts to the industrial/manufacturing sector to maintain and enhance strong business relationships. Rochester's manufacturing base provides well-paying entry-level and mid-skill level jobs to neighborhood residents.
ECN-4f. In accordance with the Finger Lakes Forward: United for Success Plan, increase program focus on industries such as optics/photonics, food production, advanced manufacturing, and technology. These industries are gaining regional momentum in large part due to the growing prominence of RIT and UR.
ECN-5b. Leverage business accelerator strategies and programs to assist MWBEs’ progression from sub-contractors to prime contractors.
ECN-5c. Ensure loan and grant-making processes are equitable and responsive to the needs of all cultures, ethnicities, and abilities.
ECN-6a. Create a formalized anchor collaborative network in the Greater Rochester region. Draft goals and strategies for anchor collaboration including support for OWN Rochester Companies, shifting procurement streams to support local businesses, hiring employees from low-income communities, community-building activities, living wage, supporting local homeownership, and more.
ECN-7b. Adopt evidence-based methods and approaches to analyzing citywide economic/market trends, commercial dynamics, and economic development opportunities on an on-going basis.
Economic strategies targeting workforce development:
WRK-1c. Coordinate and analyze data around the labor market in terms of growing industries. Share this information with workforce partners to help guide their strategies and support skills development in emerging labor sectors.
WRK-1d. Develop new resources to provide crucial services to support workforce programs, such as childcare, transportation, stipends, and benefits navigation to program participants.
WRK-2b. Encourage employers to work with members of training programs, such as Operation Transform Rochester (OTR), to offer financial support to students in the form of scholarships.
WRK-3c. Develop a transitional employment program that features simple, low-skill, short-term job opportunities to assist panhandlers and other residents facing housing or employment crises. Similar programs exist in Syracuse and Albuquerque and are designed to provide people who are not yet employable in the traditional job market with a stepping stone. The transitional employment set-up will give them confidence, work experience and access to services.
WRK-3f. Foster partnerships with disability organizations and local employers to increase employment of Rochesterians with disabilities and understanding of ADA accommodation requests.
For the full "Rochester 2034 Pandemic Resiliency Strategies" report, click here.
For more information on Rochester 2034, click here.