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3/26/20 Letter from MEP President & CEO Grant Kier

Friends and colleagues,

I hope this note finds you in good health. As we all contend with our new reality, the Missoula Economic Partnership is committed to keeping you informed with updates and insights regarding Missoula’s economy and the resources available to help businesses find their way through these times. Things are changing by the day, if not hour, and as you receive this newsletter we are working to understand the tools and support available through newly passed federal legislation.

Last week, MEP accepted the invitation to serve as Economic Recovery Task Force Lead for Missoula County’s emergency response. Every member of the task force is instrumental in our community’s response to and recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19. We are convening a weekly call with colleagues providing business support and economic development services with the following goals:

  • Understand impacts to our businesses and their employees
  • Identify ways to focus existing capacity and deliver innovative new solutions
  • Anticipate impacts and opportunities locally so that resources are ready when needed.

Our virtual meeting this week made one thing clear: our community’s needs are urgent but our service providers and local government are poised to work together to bring innovative resources to bear as well as to communicate business needs to our delegates in Congress. The Missoula Chamber of Commerce is circulating a survey and we encourage all local businesses to respond. The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is focused on keeping manufacturers in business and producing, and identifying ways for manufacturers to shift production in response to current demand. Many banks are offering up to six-month loan deferment, as well as short term lines of credit or loans that can be rolled into the SBA’s Disaster Relief loan program. If you’re a business owner impacted by COVID-19, reach out to your bank or lender to see what kind of assistance they may be able to offer or if they can help you navigate some of the federal aid programs.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have quickly pivoted their products and services to adapt to rapidly changing demands and meet community needs while keeping people employed. Montgomery Distillery is manufacturing hand sanitizer for first responders, many local restaurants and retailers have implemented take-out/delivery models, and the Missoula City-County Health Department has contracted with local tech startup PatientOne to provide a software platform for remote monitoring of patients diagnosed or suspected to have been exposed to COVID-19 by healthcare providers.

We are still in the early stages of this event unfolding. The breadth, depth, and duration of the impacts remain unclear and may remain so for weeks. However, our local community is quickly rising to this challenge and I am encouraged by what we see in early assessments of bipartisan federal relief. We will continue to keep you informed about where you can go to get the resources you need and how you can be a resource to others. Please don’t hesitate to keep us up to date on what you need from us.

Yours in partnership,

Grant Kier
President & CEO, Missoula Economic Partnership

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