The recently released quarterly report from Capital Crossroads shows how the business sector has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and what it is doing as the economic recovery begins.

The report for the group’s second quarter identified what’s been done, how priorities have shifted and what the next steps for each of its 10 “capitals,” or areas of focus. Here is some of what was reported.

BUSINESS CAPITAL
Effects:

  • Greater Des Moines Partnership launched a program to help small businesses that did not receive assistance from the Iowa Economic Development Authority or from the federal Payroll Protection Program.
  • Many manufacturers shifted to making personal protection equipment, such as face shields and masks.
  • Broker Tech Ventures Accelerator and Global Insurance Accelerator moved entrepreneurial programs to online.
  • Most of the bioscience companies at the Iowa State University Research Park were closed, while vaccine work and animal health/immunotherapy ramped up.
  • Prairie Meadows closed, experiencing a $20 million loss for each month it remains closed with many questions unanswered as to what it will look like when it reopens.

Shifting priorities:

  • Greater Des Moines Partnership increased virtual programming to support businesses and people working remotely.
  • ISU Research Park shifted focus to improving infrastructure, getting much needed work done now rather than later.
  • ISU Research Park offered free lab space to groups making PPE.

What’s next:

  • Help businesses while leading resiliency.
  • Identify what the new normal will look like.
  • Identify ways to be more inclusive and embrace entrepreneurship.
  • Emphasis on expanding broadband access.
  • Ensure every organization has a crisis management plan.

CULTIVATION CORRIDOR
Effects: 

  • Midwest farmers collectively losing millions daily with disruptions in the supply chain, with effects on the workforce and consumers. “The system is stretched, stressed and we are seeing it start to break down.”
  • Farmers worried about what happens if suppliers shut down as spring planting gets into full swing.

Shifting priorities:

  • Marketing focused on how agriculture and food are essential parts of our system, feeding the state, the nation and the world, and Iowa’s role in that system.
  • With the first Cultivo World Ag Innovation Program delayed, priority is now to still have cohort this year with several countries lined up.

What’s next:

  • Recruiting new investors.
  • Focus on hosting Cultivo Cohort from Australia in August.
  • Create a strong message on how science prevails and with planning within the food/ag system, food was delivered to the consumer.

CULTURAL CAPITAL
Effects:

  • Transition of live events to online, or cancellation of events altogether.
  • Loss of revenue by artists and organizations.
  • Decrease in hotel stays, leading to drops in hotel/motel tax receipts that fund cultural and tourism in the region.

Shifting priorities:

  • Increased communications and promotions to support local businesses.
  • Focus on getting dollars to partner nonprofit organizations.
  • Regular meetings to discuss the effects of COVID-19 with a broad coalition of nonprofit leaders to create a platform for information and resource sharing.

What’s next:

  • Continue work on Regional Cultural Assessment.
  • Work to increase attendance at events in the region.
  • Continue to advocate for arts, culture and tourism in the community.
  • Work with cultural sector to ensure financial stability now and in the future.

CAPITAL CORE
Effects:

  • Concerns about increased foreclosures and evictions as moratoriums expire, and homeless numbers possibly rise.
  • Ongoing questions about unemployment assistance and possible need for additional stimulus funds.
  • Some Invest DSM programs are on pause, and 2021 funding unclear.
  • Timelines for the Downtown Vision plan have shifted.
  • Workforce Housing Study has been put on hold.

Shifting priorities:

  • Short-term housing priority focused on emergency response and helping the homeless population.

What’s next:

  • Keep momentum going with support that’s already been built.
  • Maintain communication with local government leaders about existing challenges.
  • Work together to create a message of resiliency, strength and positivity.

For a more comprehensive overview, see the full report.