Ann Arbor livestream series seeks to highlight businesses that served community during COVID

Ann Arbor entrepreneurial research nonprofit EntryPoint is seeking to put the spotlight on Midwest businesses that have been supporting their communities during the year of COVID-19.

EntryPoint is now accepting applications for a newly announced six-week livestream program, The Cackle: Special Edition Celebrating Midwest Small Businesses. The Cackle is EntryPoint’s weekly livestream interview series that highlights small businesses, startups, and people who are having an impact on communities across the Midwest. The new special edition series will air every Monday at 10 a.m. starting on July 26, and applications are being accepted on a rolling basis. 

"Small business owners have done so much during these unprecedented times, and this is a way to celebrate them. Many have been critical to community connectedness, and we want to show gratitude and give back to them," says EntryPoint founder Emily Heintz. "This is an easy way for people to get visibility for their businesses and for us to shine the light on the amazing job they've been doing since the pandemic."

Heintz reports that a previous special Christmas holiday edition of The Cackle that focused on small businesses had approximately 60,000 views, generated over $61,000 in purchases from small businesses, and in less than a week brought in over 15,000 new potential customers. She's expecting the upcoming series to be just as popular.

"I'm pumped that, as we move into the next post-pandemic stage, there's lots to talk about because we're not going back to business as usual," she says. "Are people leaving their houses? Are people still expecting curbside pickup? Are people still going to order online or continue to do livestreams? Let's navigate all of this together."

She adds that navigating unknown business territory while still bringing community members together has been challenging for many small businesses who struggled in the face of financial loss. With support from DTE Energy Foundation, Jobs Ohio, Lightship Capital, World Business Chicago, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation, one participating business will receive $1,000 that can be put towards their economic recovery. The award will be determined by public vote. 

"We hope this money can give these companies a boost and bring out more people to celebrate our local businesses. We definitely need to support these companies more than we have been recently," Heintz says.

Despite applications being accepted on a rolling basis, companies are encouraged to apply sooner than later in order to have a higher chance of getting on air before slots get taken. 

"We've made it really easy to apply and you can be anywhere in the Midwest or from any business sector," Heintz says. "Are you a local dentist that's doing something cool and unique during the pandemic, or a therapist who is meeting with people virtually? We want to make your good work visible to more people and celebrate you."

To apply to be on the series, click here.

Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at jaishreeedit@gmail.com.

Photo courtesy of EntryPoint.
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