Dear Chamber members,
We are in this together and remain Columbia County Strong. As a Chamber we are dedicated to providing critical and important information that will assist your business during these times.  

We are hearing from many sole proprietors who are finding it hard to navigate the business assistance programs that are be offered as a response to COVID-19 virus.   They are not sure if they qualify for the various programs because they may be the only employee. Some wonder if they qualify because they may be a home-based business.  Others are asking if they qualify because many of their employees are HB 1 or 2 Visa holders.  
The good news is that many sole proprietorships do qualify and just need to have their questions answered.  Following are some resources that we feel should be helpful. And as always, if you have any specific questions you can always email us here at the chamber at  
Another option is to reach out to your banking institutions, many of which have business specialists available to answer your questions.  You may also contact your own accountant, as they are equipped and trained on the provisions contained specifically in the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), the Cares Act or many of the other disaster relief programs. As well as answer questions related to tax forms such as 940’s, w2’s and 1099’s.    
The Columbia County Chamber has been asked to inform you of a valuable new mentoring program for small businesses that will provide professional assistance and advice.  Developed by Empire State Development, this program could be invaluable to many of our small business members. 

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and the urgent need for professional assistance and advice for NYS based Small Businesses, they are leveraging the Business Mentor NY system as a method of connecting small businesses in need of help with the growing number of business professionals that are stepping up to volunteer to help in this time of crisis.

From around the state, these business people are acting as Mentors that can guide small businesses through this crisis with financial and related advice on acquiring capital and applying for and leveraging various disaster resources including the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and the SBA Paycheck Protection Program.  This COVID-19 Volunteer Mentor Task Force is comprised of business people from various disciplines, and they have volunteered to try to help you!

Business Mentor NY is the state’s first large scale, web-based, hands-on mentoring program geared to help entrepreneurs and established small businesses overcome challenges to grow.  Mentor volunteers act as pro-bono advisors or sounding boards for the small business owners that are looking for guidance. Providing a potential solution to accessing needed information and expertise through a streamlined process, enabled by technology.

This is available to you simply by visiting the website and creating a 10-minute profile by clicking Join Now.  Use the search tool to select someone you think could help and start a conversation online.  Once connected, you can communicate in whatever way you both choose.

For more information refer to the “Walkthrough for Business Seeking Help with COVID-19” document. Visit: or for more information on Business Mentor NY.

You can also go to for other live resources such as our Entrepreneurship Assistance Centers, NY Small Business Development Centers, and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) around the state.

Together we will survive and we are Columbia County Strong!
Jeffrey C. Hunt, CCE
President and CEO
Columbia County Chamber of Commerce
Columbia County Stands Strong Together!  

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