The NW Innovation Resource Center's new Project ReInvent is meant to help businesses and recently unemployed individuals adapt to the COVID pandemic.

The resource center serves the Puget Sound area and usually provides programs to help entrepreneurs gain the skills or equipment they need.

"Over the last 10 years we've developed quite a few programs that help people pursue new ideas for themselves," said Diane Kamionka, executive director of the NW Innovation Resource Center.

The organization typically provides support for project management and running a business. Those same types of programs could help small businesses attempting to branch out from their typical markets, said Kamionka.

"We realized that many businesses that are unable to operate as they usually have right now could benefit from some of the same programs," she said.

There are many different businesses that have reduced demand at this time because of the COVID pandemic and could use help pivoting to new directions.

"If you have a small machine shop and your customer base is diminished because of the economy," said Kamionka. The Project ReInvent program is meant to show business owners how they can put together some new avenues to pursue for your business.

Kamionka hopes the program can support the local economy and retain more jobs.

"It would help those small businesses that are not able to maintain their workforce at this time," she said. "We're creating a new focus for them and hopefully building some more resiliency."

The program is also meant to help recently unemployed workers.

"We're also helping dislocated workers who have always wanted to try something or start a business but never had the time," said Kamionka.

Those workers can share their skills and take workshops on how to manage their own business.

"If there are those out there able to start a business or create a product with their idea, that generates more workforce as well," said Kamionka.

The program is from the NW Innovation Resource Center and WorkForce Snohomish is collaborating with the organization.

"They have a large responsibility for the dislocated workers in the county," said Kamionka.

The program officially started on Nov. 9.

"What we've done is taken a series of our programs that would normally be done face-to-face and recorded them," said Kamionka.

Those videos will provide the basic foundation of information, after which participants will receive more personalized help.

"After that we can help the individual one-on-one in ways to pursue their ideas," said Kamionka.

Local governments have been supportive of the initiative, said Kamionka.

"The Snohomish County government has also been very supportive of the program," she said. "The cities and mayors have all been very positive as well."

Business owners or individuals looking for more information can go to nwirc.com/programs/project-reinvent/.

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