Economic Development Corporation will work with Bethesda firm to boost local businesses

Economic Development Corporation will work with Bethesda firm to boost local businesses

$1 million COVID-19 relief effort will run through June 30, 2021

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The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation announced a $1 million pilot program Thursday morning that will help businesses in the county recover during the COVID-19 health crisis

The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) announced Thursday morning that it is partnering with Bethesda company to help local retail and restaurants suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MCEDC, a public-private partnership with the county, said in a press release on Thursday that it is collaborating with the consulting firm Streetsense on a $1 million pilot program, called the 3R Initiative.

The County Council contributed $500,000 to the program on June 16, and the MCEDC and Pepco contributed $250,000 each, according to the press release.

Through the program, businesses can get technical assistance — and financial support in some cases — during the next year. The program lasts through June 30, 2021.

“The 3R Initiative will work with selected communities using a wide variety of relaunch tools such as redesigning retail space, advising on new business models including e-commerce, and creating a Montgomery County Retail Recovery Guide, among others,” the announcement stated.

The MCEDC added that many of the county’s 2,500 storefronts have had to close or cut back on operations due to the health crisis. The program is being launched in the summer in preparation for a possible second spike of coronavirus during the fall, the press release stated.

“This partnership, made possible with the generous support of Pepco and the County, allows us to boldly reimagine long-lasting solutions to help our hard-hit restaurants and retailers reopen and recover,” MCEDC President and CEO Ben Wu said.

Streetsense CEO Brian Taff said in the press release that his company conducted a countywide retail study in 2017 that it would use to help determine where the greatest economic needs are.

“We can now build upon and overlay the current COVID-19 economic realities to reimagine and relaunch retail enterprises throughout the County,” Taff said.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdsamagazine.com

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