January 2021 A new year has commenced, and though we’ve flipped the calendar to 2021, the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have not ceased to impact businesses—particularly the small business community—nationwide. An Essential Membership OneZone continues to work fervently to support all of it members and has recently rolled out an online store called shoponezonecommerce.com that gives retail and restaurant businesses a platform within the OneZone organization to have an online store. I spoke with OneZone President Jack Russell, who discussed his organization’s latest initiatives and programs set for 2021. “Like most businesses, we have moved parts of our organization to a digital platform,” Russell shared. “We have created online events and programs to help our businesses stay connected. One event we are proud to offer is a ‘Virtual Business Cards Over Breakfast’ event. This gives you the ability to speed network with other businesses. Our initial event had over 70 businesses in attendance. It is a great way to connect with other businesses in the community.” Additionally, OneZone has partnered with Bankable—a nonprofit small business lender with a flagship in Anderson, Indiana—to support businesses that are not yet ready or able to qualify for traditional financing options. “In addition to awareness, Bankable and OneZone’s new partnership will streamline the process in which a small business can get connected to Bankable and apply for a capital solution,” Russell shared. “Beyond lending, Bankable’s Growth Ready program can offer many free services to borrowers that range from basic website design to business coaching in order to help them reach their goals, grow and become ‘bankable.’” In addition to the financial spoke in OneZone’s “Small Business Hub,” Russell discussed the educational piece that will offer members additional resources pertinent to their businesses’ growth and exposure. Some of these fee-based programs will be available at member and nonmember prices. “In the upcoming months, will offer SCORE webinars along with a new program called, ‘Grow with Google,’” Russell shared. “This is a partnership with Google where we will be doing workshops for small businesses to make sure you are utilizing Google and your technology the best way possible.” OneZone will also offer legal webinars, and over the next couple of months, it will offer virtual small business roundtables to its members. “We’re looking at three different groups right now,” Russell said. “We’ll have a person who will help run those , and it will be an opportunity for small businesses to not only meet other small businesses but to discuss specific topics relative to their specific industries. We’ve got a lot going on in the small business side of things.” Make your membership to OneZone part of your 2021 business plan. At the basic level, an annual OneZone membership is less than a dollar a day at $300. You get out of it what you put into it, and if you take advantage of the resources that a membership to OneZone provides, your membership is an investment opportunity with a guaranteed ROI. Save the Date OneZone’s annual Taste of the Chamber event has been changed from Thursday, Feb. 18 to Wednesday, April 28 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Ritz Charles in Carmel, Indiana. This networking event that displays businesses from a myriad of industries is open to members, nonmembers and the general public—adults only please. Attendees will be able to enjoy tastings from restaurants, caterers, breweries, bakeries and wineries. Tickets are available online at https://web.onezonecommerce.com/events/Tasteof%20the%20Chamber%202021-4148/details. For more information on OneZone, visit its website at onezonecommerce.com.