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A quick-read roundup of the latest news to keep small business owners in the know.

COURTESY: BESTHQ - Business incubator BESThq will follow up the virtual Business Expo West event that was held in April with an in-person event, Business Expo West 2, on June 25 at Tektronix in Beaverton.

Business Expo West — the Sequel

BESThq's Business Expo West has become an annual April highlight for small business owners looking to connect on the Portland metro's westside. But with business as usual on temporary hold due to COVID-19, the Beaverton-based business incubator had to make do with an alternative as the date for this year's event rolled around.

In order to follow the state's stay-at-home order to flatten the curve of the novel coronavirus outbreaks, BESThq set up a virtual Business Expo West event, with a promise that an in-person expo would be held once the ban was lifted.

With Oregon now moving back toward opening up for business, BESThq's team is gearing up for Business Expo West 2. The event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday, June 25, at Tektronix's campus, 13600 S.W. Termain Road in Beaverton. Attendees can expect to find resources, professional services and business education opportunities as well as plenty of networking with other Portland metro-area small businesses.

Registration is available online and tickets are $20 per person.

Get ready for your business close-up

A new platform created by a national branding agency wants to help small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 share their stories as they reopen.

Open for Business, an initiative created by CMD, offers a free platform to connect small business owners with storytelling experts who are volunteering their time to help develop and create short video messages. The business owners will be able to share their videos with customers and clients through social media. CMD also will host the videos on the Open for Business platform.

The platform is designed to make signing up an easy, user-friendly task while promising a quick turnaround time for the video messages, according to CMD. Small businesses that participate in the initiative will be able to choose the professional creative they want to work with. Once a business signs up and is approved, a resulting 30- to 60-second spot will be developed, created, completed and ready to send out as soon as possible, with most videos ready to go in one day.

The agency currently is signing up small businesses and creative storytellers across the country interested in participating in the initiative. For more information or to sign up, visit them online (weareopenforbusiness.org).

Checking the pulse of small business

Close to one-third of small business owners in the U.S. think it will take more than six months for their operations to return to normal, according to a recent survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Small Business Pulse Survey was created by the Census Bureau to provide ongoing, real-time insight into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses across the country. The survey is being conducted weekly.

Nearly 101,000 small businesses participated in the first survey, with responses collected from 22,449 small businesses between April 26 and May 2.

Of the small businesses that responded, an average of 51.4% said they had been impacted negatively by COVID-19. When asked how long they expected it would take for their business operations to return to pre-pandemic levels, an average of 31.4% said they expected it would be at least six months.

An average of 44.9% said they had experienced disruptions in the supply chain as a result of COVID-19 impacts. Drilling down into the survey results, 65.8% of respondents with businesses in the retail trade sector said they experienced supply chain disruptions, while 49.6% of respondents in the manufacturing sector reported dealing with supply chain disruptions.

During the duration of the survey project, more than 100,000 small businesses will be invited each week to respond to 16 "check-the-box" questions designed to gather data that will include changes in employment, disruptions in supply chains, and how businesses are using federal assistance programs. Each survey is expected to take no more than 5 minutes to complete. The Census Bureau expects to have participation from a total of 885,000 small businesses by the time the survey ends, a date that currently is set for July 9.

Data from the weekly surveys will be posted online every Thursday, with information available at the national and state levels, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Data from small businesses, which the Census Bureau categorizes as those with less than 500 employees and with at least $1,000 in annual revenue, also will be available for the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the county.

Check out the survey results on the U.S. Census Bureau website.


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