Creating Connections for Struggling Businesses through the Refocus Workshop



Daniel Mitchell, Program Director of SMARTstart, finally got the cash to provide $5,000 grants to local small businesses, but he wanted to take a more involved approach to supporting the ones who got the money. Cash is great, but Daniel wanted to use the opportunity to build relationships with businesses in the area — especially during a time of chaos and confusion for so many small business owners. Plus, grants work best when there is some kind of accountability built into the offering.


Daniel found his solution with Refocus, a CO.STARTERS workshop for business owners who are stuck specifically due to the impacts of the pandemic. He realized that by making participation in a Refocus workshop a stipulation for receiving a grant, he could create opportunities for accountability as well as initiate relationships vital to their long-term success.

“Not all of these businesses are in a Chamber of Commerce or go to networking events. Most of these people own pet-grooming salons or restaurants who never go to events. It’s so important to know that they’re not alone.”

“I am very proud we could work with Pasco County to bring a relief like the Pasco Business Grant to our business community in a time of great need,” said Bill Cronin, President/CEO of Pasco EDC. “We wanted to make sure we also provided these businesses with a new tool moving forward in an uncertain economy and the REFOCUS program could not have been better received. After every session we receive emails from companies commending the program and our staff for their assistance to provide a fresh outlook on business moving forward.”

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