Detroit Regional Chamber

COVID-19 Tele-Town Hall with Ned Staebler

March 30, 2020 Detroit Regional Chamber Season 1 Episode 6
Detroit Regional Chamber
COVID-19 Tele-Town Hall with Ned Staebler
Chapters
Detroit Regional Chamber
COVID-19 Tele-Town Hall with Ned Staebler
Mar 30, 2020 Season 1 Episode 6
Detroit Regional Chamber

President and CEO of TechTown Ned Staebler shares information on the Detroit’s Small Business Stabilization Fund to mitigate barriers to capital for the most vulnerable businesses with Sandy K. Baruah, president and CEO of the Chamber.

Show Notes Transcript

President and CEO of TechTown Ned Staebler shares information on the Detroit’s Small Business Stabilization Fund to mitigate barriers to capital for the most vulnerable businesses with Sandy K. Baruah, president and CEO of the Chamber.

Speaker 1:

Well. Good morning everyone. This is Sandy Baruah from the Detroit regional chamber. Want to thank you all again for joining us for our series of tele town halls with a local and national officials who can shed some light on what's happening out there in our new world of a reacting to Kovac 19 and more importantly, how some of our great organizations here in the region are stepping up to help small businesses, individuals and families. Uh , today I am delighted that our guest is , uh, my friend , uh , net Stabler who wears multiple hats. But the two hats that we are going to put on him today , uh, is number one. He is the president and CEO of tech town. And number two, he is the vice president at Wayne state university for economic development. So throughout the day we're going to be talking to Ned about , uh , how Wayne state is responding and what they're doing to fight the covert 19 , uh , crisis. I and also how tech town has , uh, developed new programs in a very short period of time , uh, to help the also important small business community in the city of Detroit. Although housekeeping , uh, for everybody. Uh, we welcome your questions. Uh, more than half . [inaudible] of today's session , uh , will be devoted to Q and. A. Uh , you will have a question or chat function , uh, in front of you and , uh, please feel free to type in your question , uh, using that function. Uh, Devin O'Reilly who is the head of the Detroit regional chambers entrepreneurship , uh, efforts and also manages , uh, the chambers planet M landing zone , uh , will be my partner in crime today and he will be monitoring questions and serving as the question moderator later on in our program. Also, I want to let all of our listeners know that this , uh, broadcast will be captured and available , uh , afterwards as a podcast on the chambers , uh, website , uh, Detroit chamber.com. Uh , we'll take you to a splash page which will have our Kovac 19 business resource center splash page. Just click on that and you can go to the tele town hall series, which is prominent on that page. And you'll be able to listen to these , uh, all of our , uh , previous , uh, discussions and be informed of our upcoming discussions , uh, with people who you're going to want to hear from. Also, that site has a tremendous amounts of information , uh, for businesses, for small businesses and even for families and individuals , uh, to respond to the covert 19 crisis. So with the housekeeping underway, I am very pleased to welcome my friend Dave Burnett . Good morning.

Speaker 2:

Good morning, Sandy. Thanks for having me.

Speaker 1:

Well, great. Thank you so much for taking your valuable time. I know how busy you are. Uh, you , uh, the two hats that we're going to talk to you about have been very busy. Your hats have been moving around a lot. Uh, let's talk about tech town first. Tech town responded early , uh, to this crisis to assist the small business community in Detroit. Why don't you talk about what tech town has done and what you are continuing to do.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. So, first of all, for those of you on the call who don't know what tech town is and who it serves, a tech town is a business incubator and accelerator. We really are just an economic development group focused on inclusive economic development all over the city. You hear tech town and you assume that what we're doing is, is technology based. And certainly that's our roots. We were created 15 plus years ago through a partnership with Henry Ford and Wayne state university to commercialize technology, Marjorie in the healthcare space out of those two institutions. But very quickly we expanded our scope , um, beyond just those institutions to the entire city and then beyond technology. But eight or nine years ago, we started a series of programs to help restaurants and coffee shops and retail and services and light manufacturing businesses all over the city of Detroit. So , uh, today at any given year will help 400 to 500 businesses and I would say almost three quarters of which won't be technology-based at all. So we really do have clients all over the city of Detroit , uh, running all sorts of businesses. And in addition, we have about 130,000 square foot facility that has lab space, office space, and a big coworking space as well with about 500 members. So , um, we have a whole , uh , a variety of programs that we offer. And I would say in some ways it's a, it's a microcosm of a university in that we're offering classes. We have residents and tenants , uh, and we have , um, clients , uh, and physical location . So it was, it really was a whole logistical issue for us. But this is what I think was really , uh, important. We were watching the spread of coven across the world and how various countries were responding and trying to get a sense of what it was going to do here. And so very early on we recognized that this was going to result in a shutdown, sort of like we've seen here. Um, and that there were a couple possibilities that could be orderly and, and coordinated or it could be a little bit chaotic and people were going to be left on their own. And judging by the leadership we were seeing sort of at the federal level, we decided that , um, it was gonna be a little more everybody on their own. So we , um, we got out in front of it and more than a month ago now, we started, we put a plan in place, so we call it a four phase plan. But of course once we started executing on it and it turned into more like a five or six phase plan with some half steps in between, we put this plan in place. Uh , primarily , uh, we started with the concept of how do we protect the safety and health of our , our employees and our clients and our tenants and members. Uh , and then also we, you know , then proceeding on to how do we continue to provide services. So we actually shut the physical location down very, very early and had our teams working remotely. So we got the , the zoom, Microsoft teams Slack go to meeting kind of challenges out of the way, which allowed us as the rest of the community got put into sort of lockdown first with bars and restaurants. A couple of weeks ago. And then more recently with everybody to already be pivoting, to think about, okay, what do our clients need? How do we help them? And the , the number one thing we saw, we knew from our close relationships with small businesses across the city was cash. Um, uh , a Goldman Sachs study from last year says 47% of small businesses in this country have less than two weeks of cash on hand. And if you drill down into African American and Hispanic neighborhoods, that number jumps up to 94 and 89%, respectively. So virtually every small business in the city of Detroit, we knew it was going to have a cash problem. So we very quickly, over the weekend, three weeks ago, got on calls with our partners, places like the new economy initiative , uh , the Detroit economic growth corporation, the city of Detroit, mayor's office invest Detroit. And we said, what are we going to do up this? How are we going to help these small businesses when people don't want to go out to eat , uh , and they don't want to go shopping or they can't do these things. Um, and what we heard was because tech town is a nonprofit, we were a , we were better positioned to flexibly shift into a , what we ended up being the Detroit stable as a small business stabilization fund. Um, this is all part of a coordinated effort , um , in partnership with these other organizations. You'll see now that some of those other organizations are coming online with our own products to help folks. This was all always part of the plant . In fact , uh , some of the folks who are coming online now with programs help fund us early on so that we can get cash out the door to extend runways for small businesses for a few weeks until, as we keep talking about it, the cavalry's coming and now the cavalry is coming. So , um, we're continuing to have those conversations with them about what their funds are gonna uh, service and we'll continue to fill gaps , uh, as necessary. So quick updates , uh, to date, we've raised over $600,000 for this fund. We're giving grants , uh, on average there would over $2,000 a piece, but some of them go up as high as $5,000. Um, we closed applications last Friday and are still this week reviewing the last sort of hundred or so of the applications we've gotten. We've gotten more than 500 applications to date. So , um, we are still looking for a little bit of money. I reckon we need about $200,000 more , uh, to, to meet the demand from these folks. Um, and uh, we have already gotten about a couple of hundred thousand dollars out the door with a couple hundred thousand more , uh, uh, going out this week. So there's already cash in the hands of people that need it more. We'll be going out this week and , um, we're going to continue to look at other areas where some of these other programs, I guess BA and , uh, the DGC program that came online with help from NBDC , uh , aren't meeting those needs. So, for example , uh, the new DGC program requires you to be in brick and mortar , uh , and be in the city of Detroit. Um, so we're going to expand beyond just Detroit to Hamtramck and Highland park and work with service based businesses, things like that. So I'll stop there , um, and , uh, uh, answer any other questions you might have.

Speaker 1:

Well, net , uh , that was a great summary. Thanks. Uh , so just a couple of quick questions on the stabilization fund. Uh , first of all, who were some of the big , uh , early contributors who , uh , got you to your $200,000 , uh , goal?

Speaker 2:

Well, 600 or two 50. We did that in a couple of days. Uh, and we got great corporate response. Uh, so , uh, Dan Gilbert from the Quicken loan , uh, uh, community foundation , uh , I'm , no, that's not the right name of it, but I always get confused , uh, with it. Uh, but the, the Quicken loan family as well as some from his private personal family foundation. But we've also gotten help from , um, folks like Google , uh, Comcast, Microsoft, DTE, JP Morgan , a lot of the big names. Uh, in the city have really stepped up , uh, in this time. And, and I want to tell you that beyond just financial support , um, the Ralph Wilson foundation as well , um, all of them have stepped up and said, what do you need? How can we help? Uh, and beyond cash? Are there other things that you're seeing , uh , that folks need? So , um, I think we should be proud of the , the, the corporate community stepped up. Um, and you know, I think this is going to be a continued need. So , uh, if you're listening and you're thinking about, you know, what do we need to do? The answers continue asking people closest to , uh, businesses , uh, what they're seeing, what they're hearing, and asking how you can help.

Speaker 1:

That's great that the community, the corporate community stepped up. I mean, to raise that kind of money in literally a matter of hours is , is hugely impressive. And, and I'll , I'll say Ned, it, it has lot to do with the credibility that you and you , uh , that you have personally and , uh, the credibility that tech town has. Let's move to Wayne state. Uh , that's another hat that you wear as a vice president, Wayne state. How has the university shifted , uh, you know, one from a , a educational delivery standpoint, but also , uh, you know, the real important role that Wayne state is playing , uh, regarding , uh, kind of , uh, tracking and , uh , trying to find , uh , remedies to , uh, the, the virus.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's, you know , um, that , that's a great point that there's so many different ways that , um, uh , the university is stepping up. First and foremost. The leadership from president Wilson , uh, has been nothing short of , uh , amazing. You know, we were in a cabinet meeting , uh, close to a month ago and having this conversation about spring break, which was coming up, what are we going to do? And , um, we were literally calling our, our, our counterparts at other universities to see what they were doing and, you know, trying to give a sentence of it. But president Wilson, no has an epidemiologist background. Uh, we also have , uh , dr Jack Sobel , who's the Dean of our medical school and an infectious disease expert on our cabinet. Um, you know, stepped up and said this, this might be unpopular with some people. This is definitely going to cost the university a lot of money, but we need to cancel those university sponsored trips. Uh , because a, it's a public health problem and B, we can't guarantee that our students and our faculty who are going there won't end up trapped as, as borders closed and you know, no fly zones, et cetera, et cetera, which I think was really pressure . And when you look at, I've been talking to a lot of people who've said, Oh my so-and-so, I know someone whose daughter was on a school trip with the American university and got stuck in Morocco for a week , uh, before they finally found an alternate way to get her home. Right. So , um, that leadership was great , uh, from the president, not just on , uh, what we did with things like spring break, but then, okay, how do we move our entire operation , uh, online, which is an easy to do , uh, when you're talking about 27,000 students and, you know, hundreds and hundreds and thousands of classes, because don't forget, universities are incredibly decentralized places , um , that, that, you know, they're very schools and colleges that have their own curriculums and their own technology, et cetera , et cetera . So , um, but the provost and the president I thought did a great job of sort of pushing down , uh , this leadership and getting folks on the academic front , uh, to, to understand that what was important was the public health concern. And yet we still needed to make sure our students were getting a really quality education. So they've been very flexible and practical in that front. But you mentioned the medical side of it as well. And you know , uh , Wayne state has a large , uh, wonderful, excellent medical school. One that , uh , the , the plurality, you know, I think it's 30% of doctors , uh , in the Metro Detroit area , uh, are graduates of as well as the fabulous nursing program. And , uh, uh, so in school pharmacy, so , uh , we have a medical sort of supply chain, if you will. Uh , the first thing that we got up and , and doing , uh, more than a week ago now was a mobile testing side drive through testing , um, which is a partnership with, with our , uh, our, our medical school, our physicians group and uh, access , uh, out of Dearborn , uh, that she fought . Um, and um, it is specifically targeted at medical providers. So we're really trying to help , uh, on those folks on the front line , um, to see how we can stop the spread from that perspective. And then of course, we're a research university. So dr Phil levy , uh , and his team got, I think five or six , uh , hospital systems around here together and are already working on the preclinical work to get the clinical trials done as we start moving towards treatments and vaccines. Um, so we're really stepping out in all the ways that a university , uh, is supposed to and , uh, and, and is capable of, you know, we have a physical location as well and you'll probably see that coming into play more and more , uh, as, as this , uh, crisis continues in the city of Detroit,

Speaker 1:

neti . Uh, we are just reading over the weekend. I have how at TCF center , uh , formerly Kobo is going to be used as a field hospital. Uh , I also heard some discussion about potentially using some sites , uh, on campus. Is that a possibility?

Speaker 2:

It's certainly a possibility. Um, that's actually what I was kind of alluding to there. Um, I , um, you know, I got a call from , uh , both the mayor's office and the governor's office. Um, two weeks ago they'd been on this for a while thinking, trying to think ahead of this and asked , uh , could we use your dorms or could the army Corps of engineers use the dorms for this and my , you know, would you be willing to help out? And my first response was, of course, we're willing to help out. We'll do everything we can. Part of the challenge was that, you know , um, our dorms weren't empty. They were , uh, largely depopulated, but there were still on every floor in various ways so it wasn't conducive to it. But our housing people , uh, have been great at creating a situation now where we think they are going to be very useful if this becomes a possibility. Uh, so the , uh, Wayne state will certainly participate in that if it's necessary.

Speaker 1:

Let's go back to the small business community. Uh, what are you seeing in terms of small businesses that are employing some best practices, unusual ways or out of the box thinking that they are employing to , uh, to keep their businesses viable or to keep their businesses , uh, at least top of mind during , uh, during this crisis?

Speaker 2:

So I think that, you know, I mentioned before the cash is King for these small businesses. Um, I think the most successful things I've been seeing are the small businesses that have , have realized that they're going to have to find other ways to bring cash in the door. So a lot of them are using gift cards. And there are various platforms , uh, up now where you can see complete lists of , uh, businesses that have a , an E gift card available. If you're a small business and you're listening, if you use something like square , uh, as your point of sale system or even your backend, I will tell you I set, my wife owns a small business. I set up her to get you gift cards on square. It takes about two minutes. They have a really easy, like three click approach to doing it. Um , I recommend you do that. Folks are looking at multichannel , um, you know, other ways to sell products online and uh, you know, you can go to tech down and get help with that if you want. We've opened up our office open office hours to everyone. They're all done virtually. You can get about a half an hour with an expert to talk through an idea and of course you can get more time if you need it beyond that, but , um , go to our website and sign up for an open office hour and they can help you with those types of ideas. Um, so, you know, there's, there's a lot of , uh, good things the businesses are doing. I think the most important thing is remember that there's going to be something on the other side of this. And , uh , your customers right now are seeing how you're responding, how you're treating people , uh , how you're treating your employees and your staff. Um, you know, this is when your values are being displayed to the world. Um, and folks that are being able to find ways to be public health conscious , uh, living up to their values of inclusion, living up to their, their family values are going to succeed and come out of this and the other side , uh, with the support of the community and the customers that are coming back.

Speaker 1:

Oh , in droves. You know, one of the things that we're telling small businesses, and I'm sure you and , and your experts are saying very similar things, is, you know, first of all , uh, you know, find ways to stay in front of your loyal clientele and either through social media, through web, if you're able, if you're providing a service, find a way to , uh, provide that service , uh, in a video way. Uh, even if it's not a , that much of a revenue generator, it keeps the , uh , it keeps your name and your value out in front. And also, you know, don't be shy about talking to your landlord, talking to , uh, your financial institution about, you know, payment, deferrals or reductions. Uh, you know, I , I, I, you know, I think one of the big differences that I see in this crisis as opposed to the 2008 financial crisis is I see more businesses and more governments, frankly , uh, really trying to stave off , uh, some bad decisions later on , uh, by, by kind of recognizing that it's much better to keep an existing business in business , uh, and , and prepare to be in business after the crisis is over as opposed to trying to foreclose or, you know, do collections now. Uh, and so I think we learned something from, from the 2008 crisis.

Speaker 2:

Well, and a lot of landlords, I mean, for example, I mentioned Quicken loans community fund earlier, but the bedrock came out and basically gave a , a grace period on rents , uh , to everyone. Um, you know, to your point, I think a lot of folks realize that, that, you know, they're in this and it's much fun . Even from a financial point of view, it's much smarter to do it that way than how they tried it a decade ago. And the federal government, you know, you're good friends at SBA. You know, when, when I first got asked, you know, a month ago, what do we need? What do we need? And I started asking people for money. Some people told me, Oh, the SBA is coming, don't worry about it. And my response was a very knee jerk. The SBA never works for small businesses. The loans will be too hard. They can't take loans, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Um , the products that the SBA is coming out this time with, especially the , the paycheck protection , uh , act, which is a forgivable loan to businesses with no payments for six months and things like that , um, are actually really good for small businesses and nonprofits. Um, I really recommend , uh, you look at it. So I think people are, people learned from that experience 10 years ago. Uh, and I think we're gonna come out of this , uh , much better than we did that time because of it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I, I agree. I think the federal government has, is leaning much more into this. I mean having, having been part of the tarp effort in 2008 and having it failed the first time and we were asking for 800 , um, uh, $800 billion , uh, to see deceit to see, you know, $2 trillion , uh , pass in the matter of one week was , uh , w w was was , was, was quite an eyeopener for us. Hey, let's turn it over to , uh , my friend and colleague, Devin O'Reilly. Devin, you have a couple of questions for Ned .

Speaker 3:

Sure, absolutely. Um, how are you doing ed ?

Speaker 2:

I'm doing great. Devin, how are you?

Speaker 3:

I , I'm doing as well as we can be. Right. Um, great to have you on. Thanks for doing this. Um, I wanna I wanna revisit , uh, the , uh, the stabilization fund cause you know, that's really a really important thing, especially for Detroit small businesses. Um, can you talk a little bit more about kind of the, the ideal profile of a, of a business that is interested in this and , um, you know, who you're looking to serve with this and maybe talk a little bit more to a business that is still potentially interested in , in accessing the stabilization fund.

Speaker 2:

Well, I mean, just the , you know, the, the stabilization fund in its current iteration is not taking applications anymore. We had to cut it off at some point because , uh , uh, you know, as I said, the , the other folks are coming along. So , uh, coming online. So , uh , D GCs applications are coming on my , uh , right now , uh , I know they've partnered with Wayne County so that it's not just the city of Detroit. Anybody in Wayne County , uh, can, can get access to it as well. Um, the, and I know there are similar programs in Oakland and McComb and , and other places around the state. Cause I mean, DC made sure to cover all the, all the area. Um, but what I will say is I'm pretty sure you have to have a brick and mortar location for those. So when we look at our next iteration of , uh, the stabilization fund, which , uh, you know, I , I talked about potentially next week, but we'll see. We're talking with our partners right now to finalize some of their details. Um, my guess is we will look at some of a smaller grants to some of the , the , the non brick and mortar businesses. So say you're a catering company or you are a service based business that you work out of the house, things like that. Um, so , um, we probably will still on the smaller side. So for example, in this iteration we were at 10 employees or fewer. We might raise that a little bit based on some feedback we got. I will tell you that the DGC and Wayne County program, I believe goes up to , uh , 50 employees. Um, so that's a, that's a bigger set of businesses, but that's really , um, how we're looking at this is , uh, trying to fill the gaps that some of the other programs aren't, aren't meeting their needs.

Speaker 3:

Sure. Have you been , um, have you been partnering or, or working with some of the, I guess you'd say kind of on the ground organizations, the community development corporations in the various neighborhoods, the , uh, the business associations on the, the different corridors? Um, some of those , uh , more grassroots organizations that serve the small businesses?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. So our, our, we had a review panel for all these applications and they included obviously , uh , I think three or four people from our organization. But then there were another six or seven or, or more, eight or nine maybe from, from some of those exact organizations, things like the Osborn neighborhood Alliance and Jefferson East incorporated and , uh , uh, build Institute and prosper us as well as invested Troy [inaudible] and , uh, DGC and folks like that. So we work, that's how we do our work. Normally our , our small business programs are all done in partnership with local CDCs , uh , along commercial corridors across the city. So it was really a natural fit , uh , for us to partner with those folks. I mentioned before , uh, something about folks, you know, when you're doing your part, make sure you're coordinating with people closest to the work. And I'll just reiterate that , uh , I know everyone has a great idea to do right now, but um, you know, the people closest to the work have the best sense of what real needs are and have been doing this for a long time. They probably have tried your idea at some point rather than reinventing the wheel, talk to the folks doing the work and try to plug into their efforts , uh, rather than, you know, trying to use their limited bandwidth to do the things you want to do.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, absolutely. I personally can say I appreciate that. I appreciate that approach and that really is, you know, the tried and true way to go about it. I'm looking at kind of more of that , the startup , because tech town has a lot of startup companies, various, you know , technologies and uh, and really all sorts of sectors. Um, you're very, very diverse in that sense. Startups are used to dealing with uncertainty and kind of working on the fly. Have you, with those that you've talked with, have you noticed or looked at any startups that are kind of handling this differently? Um, seeing as how uncertainty and kind of, you know, running around with your hair on fire is kind of some, some ways the way that startups kind of operate and the way they succeed, have they been able to kind of embrace this or even somewhat thrive in it?

Speaker 2:

Um, you know, syrups are also really good at pivoting , um, and being flexible. So I've gotten a lot of emails from folks saying, Hey, I've got an idea. Could our product be used to , um, uh, screen people who are at higher risk of exposure by asking a few questions? Could our PR , could we , uh, work on a testing product or things like that. So , um, there are certainly a lot of people that are looking at this as a market opportunity, which I think makes a ton of sense. I mean, you see it at the bigger level. Uh, you know, the general motors is in forged the world who are now looking at making ventilators , uh, folks like Commonwealth sewing who are now making gowns and masks and, you know, people like that. So , um, that, that'll be an interesting one. I've gotten a couple of people reaching out that said, Hey, you know, if we think about the, the near and medium term future, there's going to be a high demand for a lot of disappointment for a long time. Could we build a hub and a manufacturing center around , uh, uh , PPE and , um , ventilators and, you know, things like that. And so I think there's , there's going to be a lot of entrepreneurs who are going to think, okay, market opportunity, unmet demand , um, I know how to make stuff. Why don't I try and fill that gap? So , um, you know, necessity is the mother invention in Detroit. We hustle harder. So, I imagine you're going to see more and more of that in the coming months.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, no, absolutely not. I , I think, you know, maybe if that's one, one silver lining or bright spot we can take away is that, you know, the entrepreneurial community, especially in Detroit , um, has, has always been kind of used to , to pivoting to inventing out of necessity and , um, you know, not so great a situation. So I think perhaps we can see some really interesting companies pivot and, and be created out of this to address those needs. So , um, you know , I think that's, that's one of the interesting things that we both see in working with with entrepreneurs and innovative people. So yeah, I'm gonna , I'm going to throw it back to , uh , to Sandy. We're , we're almost out of time here, so I'll, I'll let Sandy wrap things up.

Speaker 1:

Great . Devin, thanks so much. Hey, Ned. Uh , as we wrap things up , uh, you know, you talked about , uh, doing kind of a round two of the stabilization fund. Uh, are you in a position to kind of preview that in terms of , uh , how that might work? Any differences between round one and round two?

Speaker 2:

Um, beyond what I've already said? Not really. I mean, I was probably, I'm sure someone from my team is listening right now saying, would you stop talking to ed ? You've given, we're not sure on those details, but , um, we're gonna as I said before, we're going to try to fill in gaps. Uh, as of now, I don't see anybody else who's doing a whole lot with , uh, uh, non brick and mortar building , uh, not in brick and mortar businesses. We'll probably do that. So for example , uh, and we're going to continue to, to pivot. So , um, Washtenaw County , uh, thanks to a generous gift of $1 million from the linen. Doug song foundation is gonna model , uh, do our program. Uh , but they're also including a smaller grant for non brick and mortar businesses. So I've reached out to them to say, great, tell me how you , you know , uh , you learned some of this stuff , uh, the brick and mortar from us. We want to learn from your experience on the , uh , uh, the service and home based businesses. So, you know, there's no pride of ownership. Uh, we're all about stealing. I mean , uh, transferring knowledge and best practices. Uh, and we're going to keep trying to do everything we can to make sure that Detroit small businesses have access to the resources and opportunities that they need to survive and grow in this dangerous time.

Speaker 1:

Great. Finally, why don't you remind , uh , the small businesses that are on the line , uh , of tech town's website where they can go and , uh , get some advice and help.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Tech town , detroit.org. And we need everybody to lean into this. So if you are a , an accountant, a lawyer, a bookkeeper, a marketing person, a digital marketer, whatever it might be, and you want to help out, we're looking for experts for ask an expert program who are willing to donate some time to help small businesses , uh, through this , uh , uh, pandemics . So please go there as well. Tech town , detroit.org. You can also donate on the website to help our efforts. Anything you can do to help right now will be greatly appreciated.

Speaker 1:

Great. Ned , thank you so much. You have stepped up so strongly , uh, so early , uh, to help the small businesses in our city and in our region. Uh, I just, I just thank you so much. Uh , we were proud to , uh , feature the stabilization fund on our resource site. We were proud to , uh , kick in at least a few dollars , uh, uh, into that site.

Speaker 2:

Right . We've , I forgot to mention that the Detroit chamber was one of our very first , uh, uh, uh, donors. So thank you so much.

Speaker 1:

No , no, no, no, no, no. I wasn't fishing for the compliment, but I , it was just a , it was just a way to a thank you and the tech town team , uh , you guys are really playing an instrumental role and given , uh , that we are all going to be in this , uh , stay at home mode for a time, measured in weeks, not days. Uh, the efforts that you are leading are going to be all that, more important. So Ned , uh , my friend, thank you so much. Thank you for joining us. Uh, for all of you who have joined us on the phone, who I'm happy to announce also includes Ned's mother, who I'm very disappointed, did not ask a question through our chat site. Uh , we thank you all for joining us and , uh , please join us for our next , uh , talent town hall, which will take place later on today , uh, with the Lieutenant governor of the state of Michigan Garland. Gillcrest. Ned, thank you so much to everyone who called in. Thank you. Have a good day. Take care.