San Diego County

San Diego Small Businesses Hurt by Digital Divide Widened by Pandemic Have a Lifeline

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Local small businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for a program introduced Wednesday that offers free resources to companies seeking to keep up with the digital demands of the coronavirus crisis.

The San Diego Business Hub, a program developed by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation in partnership with local tech company GoSite, will offer up to 100 local businesses free access to GoSite's full suite of digital tools for one year. Services will be offered to businesses run by women, minorities, veterans and other "economically under-resourced groups'' and will include payment and invoicing, bookings, review management, customer communications and template websites.

According to the EDC, the program is intended to help small businesses catch up after the COVID-19 pandemic essentially forced many industries to adapt to the digital sphere or die. An inability to pivot services online was identified as a key factor in regional business closures during 2020, according to an EDC statement.

"Small businesses employ the majority of San Diegans, and it's essential we invest in their growth, recovery and resiliency if we are going to get this recovery right. This partnership with GoSite allows us to do just that: Provide the digital tools small businesses need to weather future economic downturns,'' said Nikia Clarke, San Diego Regional EDC vice president of economic development.

Applications are being accepted at The program was funded through grants from the San Diego Foundation and Union Bank.

"This partnership is a prime example of how San Diego public, private and civic sectors rally together to solve hard problems,'' San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said. "Access to these digital tools will help our region achieve a more equitable recovery and help small businesses struggling today be more resilient as San Diego gets back on track and back to work.''

GoSite CEO Alex Goode said, "Small businesses face great challenges, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. GoSite's mission is to help small businesses adapt and succeed, with technology in hand for them to easily communicate with customers, manage online bookings, accept online payments, generate invoices and drive reviews -- all in one place.''

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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