Business Recruitment and Retention

Top Issues Council Brief: Inclusive Entrepreneurship

This report explores successful methods UPMOs have used to support inclusive entrepreneurship by improving capital readiness, easing access to commercial spaces, and developing programs for business retention and sustainability.

Evolving Third Places

Third places in North America are not just about bars and coffeehouses. Instead, the definition should reflect the forms they take within specific subcultures and cohorts amidst fast-moving societal and technological change. Learn where else we’re going these days for a sense of community and belonging.    

International Place Management & Effective Small Restaurant Support

Grants to support the recovery of independent, small restaurants were implemented in downtown districts in Toronto, Mexico City, London, Tokyo and Sydney. Learn how place management works in these cities and what interventions showed the most impact for small restaurants. 

Reimagining the Downtown Your Community Deserves through Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Reimagining downtown takes more than traditional programming and events. Learn how two downtown agencies/organizations teamed up with commercial property owners and city leaders to reinvigorate their downtowns by flipping the negative impacts of COVID into a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine the future of our downtowns – one storefront at a time – through inclusive entrepreneurship, incubation and pop-ups. 

Inclusive Entrepreneurship

This presentation from IDA’s 2022 Annual Conference covers many of the issues in the Inclusive Entrepreneurship top issues council.

Shelonda Stokes Master Talk

Shelonda Stokes serves as the President and CEO of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and the President of Downtown Management Authority. Shelonda, a results-oriented, mission-driven executive, leads these two non-profit organizations with the goal of establishing equitable change and vibrancy in Baltimore City’s Central Business District.

Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street

Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street is a pop-up retail store program in downtown Raleigh to provide affordable and attractive short term retail space for minority and women-owned businesses to improve diversity in storefront ownership in downtown and Raleigh.

DowntownDC BID Pandemic Assistance Grant Program

The Downtown Pandemic Assistant Grant Program was created to provide financial assistance to small businesses severely impacted by the COVID pandemic. The program application process was designed to be completed with simplicity and ease. Elements of the program’s success included a web-based application platform and marketing to alert area small businesses to the program.

State of Cape Town Central City Report

This is the ninth, and largest, edition of the State of Cape Town Central City Report, produced at the height of South Africa’s various harsh lockdowns. Its mission is to illustrate in financial terms the investment opportunities of the most successful downtown in South Africa through meticulous research.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Rapid Recovery Planning Program

The Rapid Recovery Plan (RRP) program distributed nearly $10 million across 124 communities throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to assess impacts from COVID-19 and develop actionable, project-based recovery plans tailored to the unique economic challenges in downtowns, town centers, and commercial districts. In total, the program has resulted in nearly 1,000 actionable project recommendations requiring mixed levels of funding, technical assistance, and resources.

Downtown Shopping Districts After COVID: Rich with Opportunity!

How did COVID affect downtown shopping districts? What are the challenges faced by these districts, and what is already being done to address those challenges? Looking ahead, which changes are transitory and which are permanent? And what can Place Management Professionals do to position their district for success moving forward?

Advancing Places: The Present and Future of Office

In January 2021, we heard research around how the pandemic-induced work-from-home experiment had altered perspectives on work, flexibility and the office. We are circling back with experts to present new findings on this topic. Join this session and learn from recent research conducted by Cushman & Wakefield and the Center for Real Estate & Urban Analysis (CREUA) at the George Washington University School of Business around office demand, hybrid work and occupiers’ workplace strategies.

Advancing Places: Placemaking and Design for Successful Retail

Watch this session and explore how downtown managers can foster better downtown retail environments with advanced techniques of placemaking and design. We will learn from two seasoned professionals whose expertise in placemaking, and retail design has created tools for more active people environments to support retailers.

Fostering Resiliency: Helping Your Downtown Rebound after COVID

Over the past decade, downtowns have enjoyed a revival not seen since the middle of the 20th century. And then COVID-19 hit. Now that consumers are clamoring for a return to normal activity, it’s time to reevaluate your downtown. To do that, it’s important to understand who your visitors are. 


This free webinar was presented by Buxton. To learn more about them go to www.buxtonco.com. Click “Buy Now” to get your free access to this recording today. 

Retail is Changing Are You? Models to “Disaster-Proof” Our Districts

Brick and mortar retail, especially with the pandemic, is changing drastically but our downtown recruitment efforts aren’t keeping up. Moving forward, shared spaces, studio/retail mixes, pop up retail, a diversity of business owners–and an understanding that retail must be different to disaster-proof our districts–will be key to keep retail and businesses alive in our downtowns.

Planning for Retail Vitality in the Face of Changing Market Dynamics

Downtowns are struggling to address the retail challenges and trends accelerated by the pandemic, including changes in shopping habits and fewer downtown workers. Hear how two BIDs approached finding solutions that acknowledge hard truths and identify opportunities for action while working with stakeholders to resolve long standing policies and regulatory issues that stand in the way of downtown recovery.

Recruiting Diversity to Propel Placemaking

How do we build great urban places in unexpected locations? And can we use mercantile diversity to drive larger conversations forward? This session highlights the stories of two communities, one suburban and one urban, and how their redevelopment success is built upon curated diversity and the homegrown business innovation of restaurants and retail entrepreneurs.

Colleges and Universities – Powering Cities and National Economy

Colleges and universities are America’s economic engines in towns, cities and metropolitan areas. Typically, large employers, ed’s and med’s are the economic backbone, creating jobs, supporting business, bolstering tourism and innovation districts and collectively fueling the economy. These institutions and host communities need each other to be successful. How do they work with diverse but conflicting stakeholders to maintain mutually beneficial partnerships?

Advancing Places: Retail Is Changing. Are You?

Brick and mortar retail, especially during the pandemic, is changing drastically but our downtown recruitment efforts aren’t keeping up. Moving forward, shared spaces, studio/retail mixes, pop-up retail, a diversity of business owners – and an understanding that retail must be different to disaster-proof our districts – will be key to keeping retail and businesses alive in our downtowns.

Advancing Places: Cementing UPMO Leadership Role in Economic Development

With businesses facing an existential crisis and municipalities cutting budgets in 2020, UPMOs were forced to take the lead on triage and recovery. This session will explain how the pandemic experience and crisis management can translate into a permanent and lasting role in economic development.

Heather Hiles Master Talk

Heather Hiles is an expert in technology, learning and talent development, with a 30-year track record of creating and scaling nonprofit and for-profit organizations that have improved millions of lives. Hiles is the founder / co-founder of SFWorks, EARN, The Hiles Group, Pathbrite, Calbright College and Black Ops Ventures.

Staff Supper and Heart & Soul Cookbook

The Staff Supper and Heart & Soul Cookbook project was a partnership between RDBID and RWBID. Its goal was to support food and beverage establishments and their employees who had been laid off due to the closure and were experiencing financial and emotional hardship due to COVID 19. This program ran for seven weeks during Saskatchewan’s government forced closure (April through June 2020).

Cincy Card Connection Program

The Cincy Card Connection program was created and managed by 3CDC to provide immediate financial support to Downtown Cincinnati merchants. The program established a unique gift card matching system that benefits two businesses with one gift card purchase. In order to help as many local businesses as possible, the matching gift card would be purchased from a similar, but different, business.

Downtown Los Angeles Virtual Tour Platform

The DTLA Virtual Tour platform is an innovative tool developed by the Downtown Center BID to showcase the Downtown Los Angeles real estate market, its most significant properties, public spaces, and development projects, to investors, developers, brokers, and prospective commercial and residential tenants. With a dynamic combination of interactive technology, digital mapping, high-definition photography, and drone video footage the DTLA Virtual Tour offers both a bird’s-eye view of downtown.

Small Business Innovation Fund

The Center City Small Business Innovation Fund is an initiative designed to spur and support innovation and adaptation by small businesses as they adapt to the new economic realities caused by the COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn. This award delves into the details of the application, outreach, and review process as well as challenges faced in the program’s implementation.

Curbside San Diego

Curbside San Diego is an initiative spearheaded by the Downtown San Diego Partnership to promote the creative and flexible use of the public right-of-way for the expansion of outdoor business operations in downtown San Diego during and post the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative’s two primary goals are to develop creative and flexible uses of the public-right-of-way and promote long-term solutions to transforming downtown’s streets and sidewalks into vibrant people-focused places.

Denver Startup Week

Denver Startup Week is a celebration of Denver’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and culture of innovation, designed to showcase downtown’s strong landscape for starting and growing a business. This year, Denver Startup Week reached all the way around the world, and our 23,000+ YouTube views and more than 18,000 Zoom attendees mean that Denver Startup Week 2020 reached further than ever before!

Dining Delivery Support Program

The Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District (D.I.D.) was searching for ways to help keep downtown restaurants in business while operating within the bounds of the safety restrictions we were experiencing. This sparked an idea to partner with a local downtown delivery company Waiter on the Way to deliver for downtown restaurants with a special discount.

Dining on the Spot

The Dining on the Spot program, which provided expanded outdoor dining options when indoor seating was closed early March and April, was directly responsible for keeping Downtown West Palm Beach restaurants in business. In addition to creating a mechanism to continue serving customers, the DDA also provided funding for equipment rental and a branded signage program for restaurants participating in Dining on the Spot.

Downtown Strong Small Business Impact Fund

In March of 2020 Twenty-two thousand office workers disappeared. Three-million visitors vanished. Our local retailers were shuttered. If ever there was a time to get creative, this was it. The decision was made to create a small matching grant program with an initial budget of $10,000 from our marketing account. A brand, Downtown Strong, and logo were created, and we began to promote the opportunity to our downtown businesses and non-profits.

DOWNTOWN-A-THON

Downtown Lynchburg Association held the first ever DOWNTOWN-A-THON, a 12-hour virtual event to raise money for the Downtown Recovery Initiative. The event was broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook from 9am – 9pm, and featured video content highlighting all facets of Downtown Lynchburg – interviews with business owners and local leaders, restaurant features, music performances, non-profit profiles, and more.

DSM Forward Playbooks

The DSM Forward Playbooks are a strategic, ongoing project aimed at helping area businesses and industries prepare for the next steps related to economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry-specific and professional business function playbooks are meant to provide guidelines and recommendations to assist in determining future strategies and tactics.

Lift Up Local

Lift Up Local is comprised of three smaller projects: Expanding sidewalks, a grant program, and a downtown voucher program. This Best Practices dives into the logistics and details of each component.

Hero Meals

Facing one of the first COVID shutdowns in the country, our restaurants were faced with immediate lost revenues, extra food, and a desire to help those fighting on the front lines of the pandemic. The Downtown Tacoma Partnership stepped in creating a site for people to purchase Hero Meals from downtown restaurants we delivered to the front-line workers keeping our community moving.

Curbside Baltimore

This program was created, and scaled up quickly, to support local restaurants and retailers during COVID shutdowns in the spring and fall. It had two components: a universal hashtag #CurbsideBaltimore that we created for businesses to promote their pivot in response to COVID, and; a subsidized gift card program for locally-owned shops, restaurants, and makers within our BID. For each $20 gift card purchased, we added an additional $10, giving the purchaser $30 to spend.

Re-Start Downtown Fresno Grant Program

In the early months of the COVID emergency, Downtown Fresno businesses were facing limited re-opening after nearly 3 months of limited operations due to closed in-person retail, no in-door/ out-door dining, no events or pedestrian traffic, and no office workers. The Re-Start program aimed to assist small businesses by providing grants ranging from $1000 – $2500 that could be utilized to help alleviate some costs and help businesses re-open safely.

Downtown Dallas COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Supporting business continuity, building an inclusive city and positioning Downtown Dallas to be an international model for economic recovery and social equity is top of mind for Downtown Dallas, Inc. We work every day to protect the last 25 years of investment in the heart of our city and the diversity of our community, while advancing continued growth. Downtown Dallas, Inc., in close collaboration with its members, established a comprehensive path forward.