Jamestown Community College’s Small Business Development Center presented Mark Geise with the US Small Business Administration’s Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery during National Small Business Week on May 2.
As County Assistant Director for Economic Development and CEO of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA), Geise’s leadership has helped many small businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mark Geise and his CCIDA team have been at the epicenter of business relief efforts in Chautauqua County, especially during the pandemic. He has been able to secure financing in the form of loans and grants for businesses in various industries, helped manufacturers develop personal protective equipment to donate to other businesses in the region, helped businesses to solve employment problems and has shown his commitment to the community with the investment of his time. and energy. He has been successful in leading CCIDA staff and helping local businesses because he truly wants our community, our businesses and our county to succeed.
According to Courtney Curatolo, director of the SBDC, “The CCIDA is known as a strong pillar of the Chautauqua County community and Mark Geise deserves recognition for his outstanding dedication and leadership, not only with the County IDA, but also in his neighborhood, among friends, in family and through the collaborations he has initiated. Additionally, his support of the SBDC has helped hundreds of businesses in our county.
Thanks to his leadership and dedicated efforts during the global pandemic, many businesses have been able to not only survive, but also thrive and attract more talent to the region.
Geise was able to quickly establish an emergency loan fund with funding secured from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, and in four short weeks, IDA helped 24 local small businesses with $10,000 each to provide working capital. essential to overcome the COVID crisis. The CCIDA also established a revolving loan fund after receiving $10.5 million in 2020 under the EDA’s Cares Act Stimulus Funding, which could be used for working capital and equipment purchases. This financing was committed within nine months of its launch and benefited more than 50 companies.
In April 2020, he also led a partnership to ensure all essential businesses were able to ensure the health and safety of their employees with personal protective equipment. He was able to secure local philanthropic funding to provide 50/50 matching grants to businesses to purchase personal protective equipment and provide technical assistance to businesses to help them reconfigure their workspaces to provide appropriate social distancing and other protocols to protect workers and customers.
While many of the programs he implemented helped businesses in the first year of the pandemic, he is still working on long-term goals to help the community. For example, in February 2022, the CCIDA announced a collaboration with the Chautauqua Chamber of Commerce and the SBDC at the JCC to provide small business marketing grants with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Under Geise’s leadership, several new programs were quickly rolled out for small businesses during the pandemic. He remains dedicated to long-term recovery and future disaster preparedness for the county.