Blog

Think Dutchess CEO, Sarah Lee, Featured on Medium’s Authority Magazine

The COVID pandemic has exposed a number of weaknesses and strengths across every industry. Leaders in all fields have been required to adapt and adjust to changing environments and community needs. The best leaders have been able to unite teams and create immediate and future impact on the industries they serve.

Sarah Lee, CEO of Think Dutchess was recently spotlighted as one of those leaders in Medium’s Authority Magazine. She has led the organization on impactful work, including recognition from the International Economic Development Council for their entrepreneurship program and marketing efforts. As CEO of Think Dutchess, she has facilitated over $2.5 billion in private investment in Dutchess County.

To learn more about Sarah’s achievements and goals to move Dutchess County forward in a post-pandemic environment, click on the photo below.

Think DUtchess CEO Sarah Lee
Think Dutchess CEO, Sarah Lee

 

Amazon Eyeing Dutchess County, Potentially Bringing 500 Jobs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT INFO:
Sarah Lee
Think Dutchess Alliance for Business
sarah@thinkdutchess.com
845.463.5400

Dutchess County Attracting Amazon and 500 New Jobs

Global e-retailer considering New York over other locations; $135 Million Investment in East Fishkill location

Dutchess County, NY—

     Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is considering locating a logistics center in East Fishkill, NY which will create up to 500 new jobs over the next 3 years. Amazon is still considering other locations across the United States for its expansion project, but Dutchess County remains the frontrunner for the company’s relocation and $135 million investment.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Amazon’s proposed investment in the former IBM West Campus site in East Fishkill – and with 500 new jobs – will help our county recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Job creation and growing the economy is a top priority, and a significant investment by Amazon in Dutchess County will strengthen and secure the logistics industry cluster in the Hudson Valley, while creating hundreds of jobs in the county. Despite uncertainty in the economy, this expansion will provide an important economic boost for the community and job opportunities for our residents and we’re proud that Amazon has recognized the great strides we have taken over the last nine years to make Dutchess County so attractive for business.”

The Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency is negotiating a Payment in Lieu of Tax agreement, sales tax exemption and mortgage tax exemption as well as employee training assistance. These agreements are performance-based and tied directly to job creation and investment commitments.
“The Town developed specialized zoning to attract new investment to the former IBM West Campus site that has remained fallow for over 20 years,” said Town of East Fishkill Supervisor Nicholas D’Alessandro. “Amazon is a world leader in the e-retail industry and its commitment to locate a distribution center here in Dutchess County underscores the impact of the work our team has done to improve the local business climate. The creation of 500 new jobs will provide a tremendous boost to our local economy and we look forward to a long and successful partnership in the community.”

Sarah Lee, CEO of Think Dutchess said, “It is rewarding to work on this project and to collaborate with the Town of East Fishkill to develop an attractive incentive package to encourage the company to make an investment in Dutchess County. The significant increase in employment will help re-invigorate the county’s economy and have a positive impact on local business.”
“We are very happy to be a member of the team who is putting together a financial incentive package that will bring significant new capital investment and jobs to Dutchess County,” said Tim Dean, Chairman of the Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency. “Amazon’s $135 million investment in Dutchess County is a strong example of making smart investments in companies that want to locate in our community.”

####

About Think Dutchess Alliance for Business
Think Dutchess Alliance for Business, formerly Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation, is the one-stop shop for business development needs and activities in Dutchess County, New York. A business-led, nationally recognized economic development corporation, Think Dutchess’ mission is to attract, retain, and expand for-profit and not-for-profit businesses in Dutchess County. Think Dutchess’ organizational structure includes programs in business retention, expansion and attraction; financial counseling and deal structuring; zoning and permitting; commercial real estate; innovation and technology; strategic marketing and municipal advocacy. For more information about Think Dutchess Alliance for Business, visit www.thinkdutchess.com

 


 

Winners Announced for the 2020 Virtual Business Excellence Awards

Think Dutchess to Host First Virtual Business Excellence Awards

 Winners represent a diverse selection of industry leaders.

 

 

November 3, 2020

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. –—

 

Think Dutchess Alliance for Business will host its first virtual Business Excellence Awards with a video premiere set to release on November 19, 2020 at 5:30 pm. The awards, which typically gather nearly 400 of the region’s top C-suite executives, business leaders and government officials, will continue its tradition to honor the businesses in Dutchess County making significant contributions toward economic development.

“This year, perhaps more than ever, it is important that we celebrate the success and continued growth of our community in the face of the global pandemic,” said Think Dutchess Alliance for Business CEO, Sarah Lee. “Our winners represent the core values of the awards in displaying excellence, innovation, collaboration, service and resilience.”

This year’s winners represent key leaders that have made an impact on growing the economy, maintaining jobs, improving safety and maintaining our overall health and safety despite unprecedented challenges. They are:

  • Innovator of the Year: Hudson Valley Concierge ServiceA local concierge and driver service company that’s quickly grown while integrating modern communication technology to assure client safety;
  • Nonprofit of the Year: Community Family Development- The City of Poughkeepsie’s oldest nonprofit daycare center that proved quality childcare is not only essential for children, but also to maintaining a healthy workforce;
  • Small Business of the Year: Story Screen Beacon Theater- A boutique cinema experience that successfully pivoted to bring the community together in a safe way while attracting tourism.
  • Large Business of the Year: Crepini A food manufacturing company that navigated growing pains to bring new jobs and safe manufacturing to Dutchess County’s food hub.
  • The Grand Award- Business of the Year, Central Hudson Gas & ElectricOne of Dutchess County’s largest employers, the gas and energy company has been a critical agency in attracting and supporting business, extending essential grants to support the community in a time of crisis, and an avid supporter of programs to encourage economic growth.
  • Special Recognition Award- Mary Kay Vrba For her more than 25 years of dedication and service, Vrba has been instrumental to building the tourism industry in Dutchess County and developing it into a powerful economic development driver.

To allow guests to celebrate the winners safely at home and support local business in the process, special “At-Home Celebration Kit” tickets offer three special menus that can be ordered and picked up by the ticket holder on the night of the event. For more information visit https:/thinkdutchess.com. Tickets are on sale now

Sponsorships, congratulatory messages and advertising opportunities are also available at https://thinkdutchess.com/sponsorship/.

###

 

About Think Dutchess Alliance for Business

Think Dutchess Alliance for Business, formerly Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation, is the one-stop shop for business development needs and activities in Dutchess County, New York. A business-led, nationally recognized economic development corporation, Think Dutchess’ mission is to attract, retain, and expand for-profit and not-for-profit businesses in Dutchess County. Think Dutchess’ organizational structure includes programs in business retention, expansion and attraction; financial counseling and deal structuring; zoning and permitting; commercial real estate; innovation and technology; strategic marketing and municipal advocacy. For more information about Think Dutchess Alliance for Business, visit www.thinkdutchess.com


 

Think Dutchess Magazine Wins Second Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 16, 2020

Contact: Rachel Welch

rachel@thinkdutchess.com                                              

845.463.5400

 

Think Dutchess Alliance for Business Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council

Business and lifestyle magazine serves as attraction tool spotlighting Dutchess County’s live, work, play amenities 

 

Washington, DC  – Think Dutchess Alliance for Business won a Gold Rank for its Think Dutchess Magazine, a project in the category of Magazine and Newsletter of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).  The honor was presented today at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference, which is currently underway.

The Think Dutchess Magazine is a high quality magazine-style publication designed to provide residents and prospects an in depth look at Dutchess County. The publication covers everything from key demographics and business success stories, to quality of life and emerging opportunities that make Dutchess a dynamic place to live and work.

The magazine serves to highlight the growth happening throughout Dutchess County. It spotlights local businesses, leaders educational facilities and emerging industries. This year’s magazine was produced by Ashworth Creative and highlights businesses such as Four Brothers Drive-In, Troutbeck, Unlimited Tomorrow and more. Each year, the magazine grows in popularity as large businesses and real estate brokers utilize copies to share information with potential clients, residents and potential talent.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from The International Economic Development Council,” said Sarah Lee, CEO of Think Dutchess Alliance for Business. “Our magazine enables us to showcase the array businesses and leaders that make Dutchess County such an amazing place to live, work and play. We are grateful for the opportunity to share it and hope it will continue to attract new visitors, talent and businesses.”

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. 35 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from 4 countries.

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the very best of economic development and exemplify the ingenuity, integrity, and leadership that our profession strives for each and every day”, said 2020 IEDC Board Chair and One Columbus CEO Kenny McDonald. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing campaigns, projects and partnerships have measurably improved regional quality of life.”

 

About the International Economic Development Council

 

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at www.iedconline.org.

About Think Dutchess Alliance for Business

Think Dutchess Alliance for Business, formerly Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation, is the one-stop shop for business development needs and activities in Dutchess County, New York. It’s a business-led, nationally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and economic development corporation, whose mission is to attract, retain, and expand for-profit and not-for-profit businesses for the benefit of Dutchess County. Think Dutchess’ organizational structure includes programs in business retention and expansion, financial counseling and deal structuring, zoning, commercial real estate, innovation and technology, strategic marketing and municipal advocacy. For more information about Think Dutchess Alliance for Business, visit https://thinkdutchess.com

###


 

Dutchess County Announces Stabilization Grants for Small Businesses

Office of the County Executive

22 Market Street ¨ Poughkeepsie, NY  12601

Phone:  (845) 486-2000 ¨ Fax:  (845) 486-2021

 

Date:  September 9, 2020

 

For Further Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus, Communications Director

(845) 486-2000

 

Molinaro Announces Stabilization Grants for Microenterprise Businesses Negatively Affected by COVID

 

Poughkeepsie, NY … Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced today Dutchess County has made $430,000 in grants available to assist microenterprise businesses negatively affected by COVID-19, through a program administered by Community Capital New York (CCNY). A microenterprise is defined as a business with five or fewer employees, including the owner. The program provides grants of up to $10,000 to stabilize microenterprises and preserve low- and moderate-income jobs. Eligible businesses can apply online at https://communitycapitalny.org/the-dutchess-county-microenterprise-stabilization-grant-program/

 

County Executive Molinaro said, “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and this pandemic has forced many to close, with many more struggling to remain open. These grants will help these businesses stay afloat – keeping our neighbors employed and communities vibrant.”

The funding for the program comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant COVID/CARES Act (CDBG-CV) which was provided to the County’s Urban County CDBG Consortium.  Eligible businesses must be in a municipality which is a member of the Consortium. The Consortium includes all Dutchess County municipalities, except the City of Poughkeepsie, which received its own CDBG-CV funds; the city is expected to announce a similar program using its CDBG-CV funds by in the near future.

City of Beacon is also committing $150,000 towards this program, specifically for business located in the City of Beacon.  Funding for this program is from the City’s Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) funds; its applications will be accepted via the same application and follow the same guidelines, and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Eligible businesses must meet the following standards, established by the federal government:

  • Five or fewer employees, including the owner
  • Located in the Dutchess County Urban County CDBG Consortium
  • Retain, rehire or create at least one low- and moderate-income job for six months
  • For-profit business (non-profits are ineligible)
  • Operate outside of a residential property
  • In operation prior to March 15, 2017
  • Not be one of the following business types: adult book, video and entertainment facilities, check cashing facilities, gambling facilities, gun shops, liquor stores, non-therapeutic massage parlors, medical marijuana production /distribution, pawn shops, tanning salons or tattoo parlors
  • Must document that funds are not duplicating other financial assistance provided via the CARES Act.

The low and moderate job standard can be met several ways:

  • Retain, rehire, or create at least one full-time position for a person whose full-time annual salary is below $54,950 . For retention, the position must be at imminent risk of job loss without the funding; or
  • The business is located within a Low- and Moderate-Income Area (LMA) http://www.dutchessny.gov/Departments/Planning/docs/2020-CDBG-Low-Mod-Map.pdf and primarily serves local residents; or

The following are the federal established low- and moderate-income limits:

Household Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Income Limit $54,950 $62,800 $70,650 $78,500 $84,800 $91,100 $97,350 $103,650

 

Eligible uses of funds include:

  • Rent
  • Working capital
  • Technical training
  • Machinery and equipment, including personal protective equipment for employees
  • Certain other costs associated with stabilizing a small business

Ineligible Uses:

  • Relocation of business operations
  • Renovations
  • Paying off existing debt
  • Reimbursement for costs incurred before aid

Applications are available on at https://communitycapitalny.org/the-dutchess-county-microenterprise-stabilization-grant-program/ and will be accepted until all the funds are expended.  CCNY will also provide technical assistance to potentially eligible businesses.

The Dutchess County Urban County CDBG Consortium includes 20 towns​, eight villages and the City of Beacon.  For the purpose of ​administering this program, the villages ​will be considered in conjunction with their respective town.  For the first four weeks of the application process, CCNY will award grants based on an equitable distribution among the 20 towns and the City of Beacon.  After October 7, 2020, applications will be approved on a first-come, first-serve​d basis.

 

###

 

 

Colleen T. Pillus

Communications Director

Dutchess County Executive Office

22 Market Street

Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Phone: (845) 486-2000  Fax: (845) 486-2021

email: cpillus@dutchessny.gov

www.dutchessny.gov


 

Think Dutchess Small Business Relief Fund Now Accepting Applications

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

August 19, 2020

Contact: Rachel Welch 

rachel@thinkdutchess.com

Think Dutchess Small Business Relief Fund Now Open

Applications are being accepted immediately.

 

Dutchess County, NY— In order to mitigate the impact the global pandemic has had on our small business community, the Think Dutchess Small Business Relief Fund is accepting applications. The loan fund offers a 36 month, zero percent loan up to $10,000 for small businesses in Dutchess County impacted by COVID-19. By promptly providing small loans to qualified Dutchess County businesses that have been unable to secure assistance from other relief programs.

The loan fund allows eligible businesses access to much-needed capital to retain jobs and reopen successfully. Business interested in applying must be located in Dutchess County, have ten or fewer full-time equivalent employees, and have not received other forms of relief including Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), local emergency or similar loan programs.

“Dutchess County small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges as the after effects of mandated closures and capacity limits begin to prove their impact. Even as things return to normal, the impact of the coronavirus has placed many small businesses dangerously close to closing” said Sarah Lee, CEO of Think Dutchess Alliance for Business. “Despite remaining innovative and resilient, this loan fund allows us to provide our small businesses with the additional support they need to stay open and keep our friends and neighbors employed.”

Applications for the loan will be originated by Think Dutchess’ Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Community Capital New York. For questions, please contact Marilyn Yerks, CFO, at marilyn@thinkdutchess.com.

###

About the Emergency Loans

Small Businesses in Dutchess County can apply for a Small Business Emergency Loan of up to $10,000, at a 0% interest rate with a 36-month repayment period. The loan can cover any emergency need that will help the organization stay solvent including salaries, rent, and other operating costs. Read more about the application requirements below.

 

How to Apply

Eligible small businesses can apply at https://thinkdutchess.com/dutchess-county-small-business-relief-loan/ where you will be redirected to our CDFI partner, Community Capital New York to complete the application. For more information about eligibility requirements download the Small Business Express Loan Fact Sheet HERE, or visit Community Capital New York at: https://communitycapitalny.org/dutchess-county-loan-program/.

 

About Think Dutchess

Think Dutchess Alliance for Business, formerly Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation, is the one-stop shop for business development needs and activities in Dutchess County, New York. A business-led, nationally recognized economic development corporation, Think Dutchess’ mission is to attract, retain, and expand for-profit and not-for-profit businesses in Dutchess County. Think Dutchess’ organizational structure includes programs in business retention, expansion and attraction; financial counseling and deal structuring; zoning and permitting; commercial real estate; innovation and technology; strategic marketing and municipal advocacy. For more information about Think Dutchess Alliance for Business, visit www.thinkdutchess.com

 

About Community Capital New York

A nonprofit lender for more than 30 years, Community Capital New York works to create a thriving, inclusive and equitable economy where all people have access to build wealth and prosperity for themselves, their families, and communities. As one of the only nonprofit, community-based lender exclusively serving Westchester and the Hudson Valley, they drive capital and resources to start-ups and small business owners typically excluded from current systems and to affordable housing development. Community Capital New York is an SBA-lender and a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. To learn more visit: https://communitycapitalny.org/


 

Past Winners of the Think Dutchess Business Excellence Awards

Over the past 20 years, the Business Excellence Awards have honored the outstanding businesses that contribute to the immense growth and innovation happening in Dutchess County.  We realize that the more that local companies come together, the better it is for all industries- as it results in a thriving business community.

Nominations for the 2020 Awards are now open!

We encourage you to nominate the businesses you feel are creating a lasting impact on the Dutchess County economy. Entering the awards is a great way to raise your company’s profile and credibility, and often leads to new business opportunities and growth potential.  Just ask these past winners.

 

2019

 

2018

 

2017

2016

  • Barton Orchards- Agricultural Business of the Year
  • Taylor Manufacturing- Manufacturer of the Year
  • Hudson Valley House of Hope- Nonprofit of the Year
  • Hudson Cadillac, Buick, GMC- Small Business of the Year
  • Indoor Organic Gardens Poughkeepsie, Brud Hodgkins- Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Hudson Valley Tech Meetup- Innovator of the Year

2015

  • Dennis Murray, Marist College- Special Service Award
  • The Bardavon- Non Profit of the Year
  • NERAK Systems- Manufacturer of the Year
  • Sabellicos Greenhouse- Agricultural Business of the Year
  • Gus Serroukas- Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Tinkleman Architecture- Small Business of the Year

 

Self-nominations are encouraged! Winners within the last five years are eligible to apply or can be nominated in a different category other than their previous award. To enter, select the category that best represents the business. You may submit an application in more than one category as long as the criteria for entry are met.  Download, complete and save the fillable pdf for the nomination category and return to Rachel@thinkdutchess.com by August 24, 2020.

Nominate a business HERE


 

Software Company, DocuWare, Breaks Ground in Beacon, NY

Software Company, DocuWare, Hosts Official Groundbreaking with Small, Socially Distant Celebration

Local government and business leaders joined to celebrate business relocation and continued growth in Beacon.

Socially distant groundbreaking ceremony for tech company DocuWare in Beacon, NY

 

German company, DocuWare, has a new home in the City of Beacon, NY.  The company broke ground on Thursday, July 9, 2020, with a small socially-distant groundbreaking ceremony at the former Beacon City Highway Garage which will be home to the company’s US headquarters. The tech company provides digital document management that helps automate business processes to more than 600,00 users across 90 countries.

 

DocuWare, with current facilities near Stewart Airport, will bring with them their 63 current employees and hire another 87 two years after the move. Beacon’s prime location was a critical factor in the company’s decision to relocate. Increased housing and highly sought after quality of life of factors, combined with Beacon’s proximity to transport provides “additional opportunities to attract new tech talent,” noted DocuWare president, Jim Roberts. Employees will be able to live and reside locally as the property will be home to a two-story office building for the company, eight residential units and green space for employees and residents along the Fishkill Creek.

The economic benefits to Beacon and southern Dutchess go beyond just the employees, said company co-founder and Thomas Schneck.  “We have a requirement that everybody must come for certification to our location and be trained there in a week-long training course, which creates about 800 to 1,000 overnight hotel requirements and these people need to go out to dinner and go shopping,” he said. “It is going to be hundreds and hundreds of people going there every year to get recertified.”

Think Dutchess provided site selection and technical support for DocuWare. CEO, Sarah Lee says she is “excited to welcome DocuWare to Dutchess County.” “DocuWare will further support Beacon’s growing business community and highlight Dutchess County’s unique quality of life amenities. Additionally, the company will help attract top tech talent as more businesses recognize Dutchess County’s strong infrastructure and growing residential opportunities.”

 


 

SBA Re-Opens Economic Injury Disaster Loans

NEWS RELEASE

PRESS OFFICE

 

Release Date: June 15, 2020                                Contact: Press_Office@sba.gov, (202) 205-7036

Release Number: 20-47                                         Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs & Instagram

 

 

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance Program Reopened to All Eligible Small Businesses and Non-Profits Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic

 

WASHINGTON – To further meet the needs of U.S. small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19 today.

 

“The SBA is strongly committed to working around the clock, providing dedicated emergency assistance to the small businesses and non-profits that are facing economic disruption due to the COVID-19 impact.  With the reopening of the EIDL assistance and EIDL Advance application portal to all new applicants, additional small businesses and non-profits will be able to receive these long-term, low interest loans and emergency grants – reducing the economic impacts for their businesses, employees and communities they support,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza.  “Since EIDL assistance due to the pandemic first became available to small businesses located in every state and territory, SBA has worked to provide the greatest amount of emergency economic relief possible.  To meet the unprecedented need, the SBA has made numerous improvements to the application and loan closing process, including deploying new technology and automated tools.”

 

SBA’s EIDL program offers long-term, low interest assistance for a small business or non-profit.  These loans can provide vital economic support to help alleviate temporary loss of revenue.  EIDL assistance can be used to cover payroll and inventory, pay debt or fund other expenses.  Additionally, the EIDL Advance will provide up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) of emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties, and these emergency grants do not have to be repaid.

 

SBA’s COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance

  • The SBA is offering low interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19 in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories.
  • These loans may be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, and that are not already covered by a Paycheck Protection Program loan. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses.  The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • To keep payments affordable for small businesses, SBA offers loans with long repayment terms, up to a maximum of 30 years. Plus, the first payment is deferred for one year.
  • In addition, small businesses and non-profits may request, as part of their loan application, an EIDL Advance of up to $10,000. The EIDL Advance is designed to provide emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.  This advance will not have to be repaid, and small businesses may receive an advance even if they are not approved for a loan.
  • SBA’s EIDL and EIDL Advance are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response.
  • The SBA is also assisting small businesses and non-profits with access to the federal forgivable loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program, which is currently accepting applications until June 30, 2020.

 

For additional information, please visit the SBA disaster assistance website at SBA.gov/Disaster.

 

###

 

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov

 


Think Dutchess Digital Ambassador- Richard Romano

Richard Romano- Screamin’ Onionz

Profession:

We own Aha! American Healthy Appetite and we make shelf-stable jarred food products produced with whole ingredients from the Hudson Valley. Our signature product is Screamin’ Onionz which are NY State onions slow-cooked in craft sauces. We use 4 whole ingredients, are gluten-free, all-natural and have no added sugar. They replace raw onions in recipes, so they save time in the kitchen.

What attracted you to Dutchess?

I grew up in Hopewell Junction, but came back with my family after 20 years in the hotel & restaurant profession in Manhattan. Dutchess County always felt like home to me and now its great to share it with my wife and kids.  

How has Dutchess County influenced you and your professional role?

My Dad bought a restaurant when I was 13. I worked there every weekend, along with a paper route, and all summer long, until I graduated high school and left for culinary school. I also worked in the kitchen at IBM Poughkeepsie and helped to serve thousands of people a day. This prepared me as I headed off to Manhattan to become an Executive Chef, General Manager, Director of Operations and to eventually assist struggling restaurants with distressed property turnaround and later opening a bunch of restaurants for notable chefs and restaurateurs. Some of which ran the highest-grossing restaurants in the country. Dutchess County provided me with the base I needed to succeed.

Favorite Dutchess County past-time or activity?

We love to be outdoors for a nice walk, riding bikes along the rail trail and hiking, when we have time. I love watching the stars at night, identifying constellations, and looking at the moon with my children. I used to love doing that as a kid.  

Favorite Dutchess County eatery?

I really have to say that our favorite eateries are the ones that support our Screamin’ Onionz. They really helped us understand the versatility and ease of use of our product which led to creating them in gallons. This led to us approaching private and public schools. We thank them so much for their faith in us.

What do you think would be a surprise to anyone visiting Dutchess for the first time? 

I would say they’d be surprised at all the farms, farm markets and specialty producers utilizing locally grown products for their creations.

Advice to anyone visiting or looking to do business in Dutchess?

I would let them know to look into the Dutchess County organizations supporting small business growth here. We didn’t realize the overwhelming amount of assistance and programs here geared towards propping up businesses.  For us, the Think Dutchess Pitch Competition led us to be a Think Dutchess Ambassador which led us to the Hudson Valley Agribusiness Corporation’s “Farm and Food Funding Accelerator.” The Think Dutchess pitch competition really prepared us to go in front of potential investors, to hopefully procure investment for the growth of our company within the next few months. 

 

Think Dutchess checked in with our Ambassadors during the NY State Pause from the COVID-19 pandemic. As the county moved forward, learn how these leaders adapted to change, championed local business and remained a critical part of keeping our county businesses working, and our friends and neighbors positive about the effects and outcomes the pandemic created.

 


ONE UNIFIED VISION

A premier business-led organization, Think Dutchess Alliance for Business brings together 11 agency partners creating a one-stop shop for your site selection, financing, incentives, permitting and advocacy, strategic planning and counseling, marketing and networking needs.