Tucson businesses get help pivoting post-pandemic

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 6:34 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - COVID-19 wreaked havoc on many small businesses but now some local entrepreneurs are getting help to pivot post-pandemic.

Startup Tucson is using $420,000 in grant money towards developing a program to mentor small companies and help them expand their business models into a world after COVID.

“They have customers, they have sales, but we really want to be that fuel on the fire,” said Dre Thompson, the executive vice president of Startup Tucson.

Thompson said they’re focused on job creation and choosing startups who are ready to hire employees to participate in the program.

“I always knew that skincare was all I needed to be doing,” said Janae Peats, a local business owner in Tucson.

She took the leap and founded her company, Ku’Panda, during the pandemic. Peats said she has found mentorship through Startup Tucson.

“Leverage their expertise and how we can go further with the resources we already have so that yes, I’m dedicated to the customer, but use resources I already have so I don’t exhaust myself,” she said.

The grant will be used to teach companies how to thrive online and also give them a space to do so.

“We’ll be building a design and media lab in downtown Tucson. Companies are gonna have access to top-of-the-line equipment to build really beautiful online content,” Thompson said.

Entrepreneurs will receive mentorship throughout the program and be given the opportunity to collaborate, take product photos, and continue building their brands in the lab. Thompson said the grant will give support to 60 different local businesses who will be selected this summer.

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