During the summer of 2020, government leaders needed to continually evaluate the economic conditions of their communities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They needed to make strategic decisions about how to help businesses, which ones should reopen, what part of the workforce should continue to remain remote, how long that should continue, and so forth. But there was a lack of data on which to base these decisions.
Illinois-based Blane Canada, Ltd., an economic development services firm, and the volunteer, grassroots BR|E (business retention/expansion) COVID-19 Response Network envisioned a way to quickly provide that data.
They created a benchmark survey and follow-up questionnaire to measure the level and severity of the impact and to learn the needs of businesses. The carefully selected questions revolve around the workforce, finances, supply chain, and the future.
However, they needed to gather and deliver this benchmark data, and that would be quite a challenge.
Getting the right technology in place
The COVID-19 Response Network wanted a tool that would allow them to analyze and distribute data on a large scale and free to the public. The group needed a technology partner who would take time to understand the problem, ask the right questions, and build a technology solution against a tight timeline.
Eric Canada, CEO of Blane Canada, was confident that Fusion Alliance, his company’s technology partner of two years, would be the right fit.
He asked if Fusion could build a tool for economic developers to learn the impact of the virus on their business communities. Within two weeks, we had a solution and dashboards up and running, available to the public.