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COVID Relief: Less Than 40% of the state aid to small businesses was spent before the programs were closed

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A Dayton Daily News investigation revealed that Ohio spent less than 40% on the $310 million allocated by state leaders last year to assist restaurants, hotels, and performance venues whose patrons were affected by the pandemic.

The total grant amount for the four programs was $115.9 Million statewide when applications were closed in December. This amount includes $13.7million for 718 non-profits and businesses in the nine-county Dayton region. To obtain the list of recipients of grants from the Ohio Department of Development (which administered the programs), the Dayton Daily News used Ohio’s public records law.

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The recipients say that the programs provided a lifeline. However, industry advocates argue that the state could have done more for struggling businesses. For example, $50 million was set aside by the state to support the hotel industry. However, $13.8 million, which is less than half of that amount, was only spent.

Joe Savarese of the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association stated, “We were talking about an era in history when every penny mattered for this business.” It made a significant difference for many properties, but we could have made more of it if we had made some adjustments.

The most considerable sum of money donated by state leaders, $200 million, was to Ohio’s restaurants. Eighty-four million dollars was awarded from this amount. Based on the number of sales, each business could receive a grant of up to $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000. Four hundred eight establishments received grants totaling $8.5 Million in the nine-county region.

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Kelly Gray was the applicant listed for grants totaling $180,000 to Hot Head Burritos locations and Rapid Fired Pizzas throughout southwest Ohio, including Dayton and Oxford.

Co-owner of Hot Head Burritos Kelly Gray left and founder, Ray Wiley in their store at 1113 Brown St. in Dayton. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Gray and her business partner had too many restaurants to be eligible for the federal Restaurant Revitalization Program, which provided grants to some local restaurants of over $1 million.

She said, “(The state program allowed us to remain in business.” Without it, we would have been forced to file for bankruptcy.

Gray stated that it was “disappointing” that less than half the funds were used. She knows that there are businesses that need it.

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She said, “I believe there were people who were truly mom-and-pop operations, had one, two, and didn’t get the required documentation.”

$194 million still uninvested

Ohio Gov. The programs were launched by Mike DeWine in June 2021, with $155 million provided by the Ohio General Assembly. DeWine then announced that the fund had been doubled to $310million with the new state budget.

DeWine stated that as we recover from the pandemic, “We want to give our local business this money to help us succeed,” he said.

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According to the announcement, applications will be open “until funds run out.”

Officials from the Ohio Department of Development have announced that they are no longer accepting applications for these programs as of Dec. 3, 2021. They had approved 5,905 applications and were still processing payments for 209 of these in mid-April 2022.

Todd Walker, a spokesperson for the Department of Development, stated, “We worked with stakeholders as well as trade associations to market these programs and locate eligible companies to apply for them while they were open.” “Applications declined, and we stopped receiving new applications for these programs,” said Todd Walker. The programs were closed after additional outreach to media and businesses to inform them that the funds were still available.

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About $110 million was spent on the federal CARES Act and $5 million on the Ohio general fund. The $194.1 million of CARES Act money that was not spent was used to fund other eligible programs. By the Dec. 31, 2021 deadline, the federal program had to close. The state will return its portion to its general fund.

Agency officials stated that applicants were screened before money was given. No businesses have been required to repay or enforce the rules.

Restaurant program

According to state data, red Lobster was the largest recipient of Food and Beverage grant money in the local area. The location is listed as having received $430,000.

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Red Lobster officials claim that this was distributed to their 40 Ohio restaurants — program rules allow businesses to list multiple locations on a single application — and it has helped them avoid permanently closing any Ohio locations over the past two years.

Officials from the company stated that COVID-19 was the most challenging challenge they have faced in their 54-year history. “The Ohio Food and Beverage Establishment grant Program funds helped Ohio restaurants keep their doors open and staff to serve our guests safely.

The majority of recipients were not chains but local restaurants. Guerra’s Krazy Taco, located on Belmont Avenue in Springfield, received the largest grant in Clark County at $30,000

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“It kept my workers here. It was there for that purpose. It kept me in business,” stated Felix Guerra, the owner.

Felix Guerra, the owner of Guerra’s Krazy Taco, makes one of his famous tacos in the kitchen Wednesday, June 15, 2022. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Guerra stated that he did not apply for federal assistance for restaurant operations, so this grant was the largest he received. Guerra wishes they had reopened the grant for another round of funding after it became apparent that there was still money.

He said, “We could have used that for certain.”

Lodging grant

US Hotel OSP Ventures LLC, with a registered address in College Corner in Preble County, was the largest recipient of the lodging grant. It was awarded $100,000. The company’s listed contact did not respond to messages seeking comment.

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Preble County’s only recipient of this grant was her. There were two recipients in Darke County and none in Champaign County. This program awarded grants to 118 local businesses totaling $2.4 Million.

stated that it was evident from the beginning that most of the lodging funds would be unused. It was based on occupancy rates and not revenue. During the pandemic, many places accepted homeless people, nurses, and other first responders at a loss.

Program eligibility also required an Ohio hotel/motel license, so bed-and-breakfasts didn’t qualify.

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demanded that the $30,000 cap be lifted or for another round.

He stated, “There were a finite number” of such businesses in Ohio. “We could easily see more funding available by simply doing the math.”

“The program was crucial in trying to provide as much support to hotel and lodging business, which were arguable most affected by the restrictions and curtailing travel and all of the other things that occurred in the early and middle stages of the pandemic.”

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stated that Ohio’s lodging industry lost $1.9B in hotel room revenue in 2020 and 2021. This does not include other expenses such as food and beverages and banquet rentals. He estimates that it will take 2023 before they return to 2019 levels.

Although tourism is recovering, business travel remains low. He is lobbying for state legislators to create programs that encourage more travel.

Entertainment venue grant

Entertainment venue grants were awarded to 75 local entities, totaling $1.6million. They came in the form of $10,000, $20,000, and $30,0000. Museums like the Springfield Museum of Art were among the local recipients and attractions such as the Westcott House and bowling alleys.

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The Victoria Theater Association received $90,000. It was the largest recipient local, with the funds being split between the entities operating under the Dayton Live umbrella, including Victoria Theater, Schuster Center, and Loft Theater.

Ty Sutton, President of Dayton Live, stated that capital improvements were halted during the pandemic, and their payroll shrank from 250 to 16.

He spoke about the $9.6 million in federal and state grants they received: “In large parts, they meant survival.”

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They were able to hire back people and invest in facilities despite not having any program revenue. They would have been forced to take on significant debt and cut programs like the free education that benefits the community.

Sutton stated, “I don’t know what landscape would look like if it weren’t for that money for the whole industry.”

He stated that many small live music venues didn’t reopen after the pandemic.

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North Second Tap and Bottle Shop in Hamilton is one local music venue that has survived thanks to the state program. They offer live music several days per week. Daniel Connaughton, the owner, said that this was the only relief program he applied to and that it “kind of helped me get started again.”

He was awarded $30,000 and used most of it to sponsor three free shows at a theater next to his business. This helped to increase foot traffic and brought back business. He is now booked all summer with a four-piece band and a Saturday show.

Program for small businesses

Last year, the state-administered the smallest of its four grant programs to businesses created after 2020, the start date for the pandemic. This program was set aside by the General Assembly at $20 million, and $7.5 million was spent.

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The grants for this program were flat at $10,000 each. It helped 117 businesses in nine counties, bringing together a total of nearly $1.2million.

David Wildner, who owns the Spenga gym franchise in West Chester, Twp, found this program crucial. It was opened in February 2020 but had to close 19 days later due to government shutdowns.

Wildner applied for the federal Paycheck Protection Program. However, Wildner’s business was new, and he didn’t have enough revenue history of being eligible for COVID relief programs. However, he still had rent, utility, and other expenses that arose from the start of his business.

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He said, “(The state program) certainly helped.” “I was thankful to be able to participate in that,”

This program was crucial for David Ohio’s New Small Business Grant program was crucial for David Wildner, whose Spenga fitness training center franchise was in West Chester Twp. opened in February 2020 and was forced to close 19 days later because of government-mandated shutdowns.

Wildner stated that the state initially rejected his application because he had incorporated the company in late 2019. After Wildner provided proof of occupancy, proving that the business wasn’t expected to open until 2020, they accepted it.

He said, “I had to convince someone a business doesn’t start the month it opens.”

He wondered if such rules could have contributed to only 37.5% spending of the available funds. He said that advertising was the bigger problem.

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He said he didn’t know about it and added that he only learned about it through the news.

A string of Tim Horton’s franchises that Renko, a Columbus-based company, owned was one entity that benefited from the program. In 2020, the company purchased 37 Tim Hortons locations, including six in Montgomery County and four in Greene County. They were able to receive $370,000 through the program.

Michael Condino, who helped to apply for grants and whose accounting firm handled the company’s accounting, said, “If they wouldn’t have bought them,”

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Condino stated that he represented clients affected by the pandemic. He appreciated the small business and restaurant grants but could have used more because the programs didn’t account for the higher labor costs.

He said, “The restaurant industry has just been destroyed.”

Another program spent $247M.

These programs were not the only ones offered by the Ohio Department of Development. In 2020, a $250 million program granted $10,000 grants to for-profit businesses with 1-25 employees.

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The program awarded $247 million in grants before closing on Dec. 11, 2020. This includes 2,808 grants for our nine-county region. However, program data shows that the program took until 2021 to complete the payments.

Smaller companies were given preference in this program. In other words, 26007 recipients in the state had one employee, and 217 had 25. Our website has a database that shows which companies were paid through these and other programs.

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A new study finds UK corporations experience unprepared to tackle the rising amount of cyberattacks.

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A new study finds UK corporations experience unprepared to tackle the rising amount of cyberattacks.

Cyberattacks are hammering corporations of sizes and industries across the UK, with just a portion of these organized to protect against them, based on a new study by Owner Security.

The 2022 Cybersecurity Census Record shows that businesses face severe organizational, economic and reputational damage. Yet, despite IT leaders expecting this onslaught to intensify over the next year, preparation is lacking, with only a group of organizations prepared to face the threats.

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The report unearthed that the everyday UK company activities 44 cyberattacks per year—significantly more than three every month—and nearly one in five (17%) are afflicted by over 501 episodes within a year. That determines around two cyberattacks every functioning day.

While only about two of these cyberattacks are successful every year, IT leaders anxiety that the volume of episodes may intensify, with 46% expecting the total amount of episodes and amount of successful attacks equally to boost over the next year.

Cyberattacks are producing corporations substantial harm.

Cyberattacks are producing corporations substantial harm.

Successful cyberattacks can bring corporations of sizes to a standstill. Alarmingly, just 26% of respondents consider their company organized to protect against them.

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  • Around one-third (35%) of subjects of a cyberattack report disruption to trading, like the capacity to transport out company operations
  • Around one-third (34%) experienced reputational damage because of a strike
  • 31% of equally more considerable (over 1,000 employees) and more minor (fewer than 1,000 employees) corporations experienced theft of economic data from a successful cyberattack

More than a sixth (22%) of corporations experienced theft of money—with the economic disruption totaling significantly more than £100,000 on average. Considering the current macroeconomic uncertainty in the UK and the truth that the common UK SME makes just £11,000 in gains each year, such economic deficits could be terminal.

Cybersecurity Investments and Tools

The rise of hybrid and distant functions is widening the gap between what’s required to secure organizations and what’s available, with shortfalls in cybersecurity investment causing corporations to be exposed.

Exposure of program consumers, code energy, and permissions are standard necessities aside from company measurement or market, yet IT leaders admit their technology stacks are absent essential resources:

  • Around one-third of respondents (35%) were absent a supervisor for IT secrets such as API keys, database passwords, and recommendations
  • Almost nine in ten (87%) spotlight considerations in regards to the dangers of hard-coded credentials—embedding validation data such as user IDs and passwords directly into the source signal
  • 29% absence a contacts supervisor to help control distant usage of fortunate infrastructures

IT leaders know their current protection procedures have identifiable disadvantages, and passwords and recommendations are unique and need urgent investment. Regardless, nearly one-third (32%) state they keep it entirely to workers to create their passwords, with accessibility frequently provided as required.

“The cybersecurity landscape is complex, with ever-changing dangers and shifting points to manage. However, the study demonstrates organizations can and should be performing more,” said Darren Guccione, CEO & Co-founder of Owner Security. “While many organizations consider potential opportunities, they experience being outmatched by rising external threats and the demands created by current weaknesses.”

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Cybersecurity in Organization Tradition

Despite budgetary commitments and prioritization of cybersecurity from the C-suite, IT leaders admit to not having enough visibility in revealing cyberattacks. Around half (55%) state they have been conscious of a cyberattack and have not noted it to any relevant authority.

Furthermore, 80% of IT experts worry about a breach within their organization. These figures must be a red flag to company leaders, as without a lifestyle of trust, accountability, and responsiveness, cybercrime may thrive.

Guccione proves: “While there were few measures from UK corporations in prioritizing cybersecurity, obvious spaces remain. The quantity and velocity at which threats are hitting corporations are rising, and management cannot manage to wait. Once we move ahead, corporations and IT leaders must make style commitments to cybersecurity and behave on them. They should know how our workplaces have evolved and answer new methods for defending their workers, data, and livelihoods.”

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Business travel is back, and so can the cybercriminals: 3 ways to avoid being a target.

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Business travel is back, and so can the cybercriminals: 3 ways to avoid being a target.

As travelers return to the skies for both business and leisure, they also face heightened cybersecurity risks as high-value targets. Business travelers are especially prey for cybercriminals — they often handle sensitive information and travel without the support of company firewalls and other physical security measures.

Proactive preparation and vigilance are crucial to avoiding travel-related cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Remember these best practices for protecting your data and minimizing risk through your holiday travels, for fun and work.

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Choose private Wi-Fi

Public and other unsecured networks, such as airport or hotel Wi-Fi, present a massive opportunity for criminals to access internet-connected devices conveniently. Avoid sensitive online activities such as shopping, banking, or accessing the business intranet during travel.

For phones, adhere to built-in internet connectivity; for other devices such as laptops and tablets, look at a mobile hotspot. Additionally, it is beneficial to disable Wi-Fi auto-connect, a function that automatically connects the device to available networks, even potentially unsecured ones.

Business travel is back, and so can the cybercriminals: 3 ways to avoid being a target.

Be careful on public devices.

Please stay away from computers at hotel business centers and other public areas as they’re often weakened by outdated OSs and dormant viruses waiting to activate. If you have to access a printer, use a flash drive and another external storage device to minimize exposure.

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Keep clear of public charging stations. Cybercriminals can modify access points to set up malware and download data through compromised USBs and other cords.

Physically conceal and secure devices.

Be mindful of the method by that you carry and store your devices. Phones and devices visible in a bag or pocket may attract unwanted attention and make you a target. Choose gear that fully closes and be vigilant when setting down devices. Never turn your back, even on an idly charging device.

During airplane stretches and bathroom breaks, ensure that your phone, tablet, and laptop are on your person or well secured. Ensure it is a daunting challenge for you to access your devices quickly. They’ll move on if a criminal can’t reach it quickly and easily.

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Cybersecurity travel checklist

  • Before going
  • Back up important data.
  • Ensure os’s and anti-virus software are as much as date.
  • Protect accounts with strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.

While traveling

  • Think before you click: Be careful when hitting links, files, and emails.
  • Avoid using public networks, devices, and cords.
  • Keep devices physically secure.
  • Do not share your travels online until you’ve safely returned home.

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5 Effective Tips to Reduce Fees in Your Business

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5 Effective Tips to Reduce Fees in Your Business

Now’s a good time to make clever cuts with high inflation, and many corporations are worrying about the coming months.

CUTTING fees can be an intelligent way to improve a business’s bottom line. Still, it would be best if you were careful as you do not want to make any cuts that may adversely influence the business enterprise or bring about losses down the line. Now’s also an excellent time to make clever cuts with inflation high and many corporations worrying about the coming months. So, what are several most readily practical approaches to reduce fees in your organization?

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Analyze Costs & Budget

5 Effective Tips to Reduce Fees in Your Business

The best place to begin is by sitting down with your allowance and reviewing each expense. You should see if you will find any costs that could be cut fully out entirely or if you have a less expensive option (that won’t lose quality). Corporations usually discover that they’re spending money on something they cannot need, which means this can be a smart way to free up some cash.

Lower Company Items

One of the most acceptable ways to decrease costs is to cut back on company materials, as corporations usually get too much. Going paperless is one of the finest methods to achieve this, and you will also see that this can support creating more room and lowering your impact. You can do that by systemizing admin perform such as payroll by installing the HMRC payroll application that may minimize the quantity of paper, printer, pencils, and storage required by your business.

Reconsider Your Marketing Strategy

Marketing is an essential cost for corporations; however, you will find that there are usually techniques you can make savings. This can contain publishing your website threads and managing social media marketing instead of outsourcing that work. It’s also wise to analyze the efficiency of one’s campaigns and reduce back/eliminate these which are not yielding results.

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Provide Distant Work

Distant performance has become the norm in recent years, and it can benefit staff and the business equally. From a company point of view, remotely performing can help corporations to cut back their fees as you will undoubtedly be eating much less power (something that many are looking to do correctly now). Distant performance can also let corporations downsize their company, which may free up significant levels of cash.

Review Insurance

Every business will need sufficient insurance set up, and you do not want any gaps. Many corporations also find they have duplicate coverage, or they could make savings by converting to another insurance provider, which is why it’s advisable to review and make any positive changes to cut back your fees while still ensuring a high level of coverage.

They are several most readily practical approaches to reducing your fees that should enhance your bottom line without adversely affecting the business enterprise in virtually any way.

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