There’s no denying that this is a strange and scary time for people. Aside from all the major and serious health concerns about COVID-19 and how to survive social distancing, many people are worried about the economy—especially small businesses owners.
Our friends at Bea’s are trying to make it a little less scary for people in our community.
At the end of February, Eli and Beatrice (Bea for short) Wolnerman opened Bea’s Detroit, a new coworking space in Eastern Market. Their space is really unique: coworking, cocreating, event space, a cafe, retail . . . But what do you do when everyone is told to stay at home?
Like many small businesses, they were feeling nervous about the effects COVID-19 would have on our community.
“In our unique position as a coworking space and in supporting small businesses we thought, rather than panic and freak out, why don’t we focus on the positives,” Eli said. “We wanted to provide a platform for small businesses to come together and talk about these challenges, learn from each other and ask for support.”
Eli, Bea and Connar McLeod, their event coordinator, put together Don’t Bea Afraid, a virtual event to provide support and actionable advice for small businesses in the community. It’ll be held on Friday, March 20th at 10am.
“We really just want to help. That’s the whole impetus for this,” Eli said.
The first portion of the event will feature a panel of six local experts. The panelists will offer advice on various topics, like finances, creative marketing, family management, mental health, and shopping local. They’ll also provide tips for surviving any setbacks from COVID-19.
The second portion of the event will be like a virtual business fair. Small businesses from Detroit will have the chance to livestream in the event and share their story and what they’re trying to do in the wake of shutdowns and isolation. They can also share any special promotions or other ways in which the community could support them.
“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, and I think it’ll be a cool way to continue to help small businesses flourish, even in a time when everyone’s feeling down and sad about this situation,” Connar said.
Bea herself will moderate the event from Bea’s Detroit, but everyone else can tune in from the comfort of their home offices or wherever they are.
“We’re really nimble and could put this virtual event together. We’re partnering with people who can help set up cameras that we don’t have expertise in,” Eli said. “We’re not tech experts at all, but this is a good opportunity to learn this. Because we have to.”
Everyone who wants to watch will be able to log onto Facebook and watch the event live. “We chose to do it that way because we’re not trying to grow our mailing list. We just want to connect with the community,” Connar said.
After the virtual event, they’ll post a recording. So if you can’t tune in on Friday, don’t worry—you can catch it later.
“Our tagline is ‘Bea informed. Bea compassionate. Bea proactive,’” Connor said. “Those are the things we’re really trying to promote throughout all of this. We’re all well aware of the negatives. But we can’t dwell on them. We have to make the most of this situation.”
For more information and to tune in on Friday, visit the Facebook event page.