The Missoula Economic Partnership is taking a leadership role in helping businesses and community organizations in Missoula County to navigate through the COVID 19 crisis.

President and CEO Grant Kier said the MEP is leading the way through an entity called the Missoula County Economic Recovery Task Force Committee.

“We’re focused very explicitly right now on understanding the impacts and effects of COVID on our business and our community economically,” said Kier. “Also, how we can give people the access that are coming online to help them get through it, and expanding awareness about resources that are still in development and identifying any more gaps in those resources so that we know what folks need to help them manage this crisis that we’re in today.”

Kier said the MEP uses a straightforward system to get started.

“What I would encourage folks to do is if you’re a small business owner or if you’ve been impacted by COVID and you’re wondering what resources are available to you then you can go to Missoula Partnership dot com,” he said. “Right now we have a simple four step process that all of these groups have identified as a simple way that businesses can follow in just one, two, three, four steps to make sure they’re identifying their needs and getting all the help they need.”

Kier said the University of Montana has offered assistance to the organization, as well.

“We’ve also developed a navigation system and a support network with help from the University of Montana called the BEAR program,” he said. “That stands for Business Emergency Assistance Recovery, and that program is really designed to make sure that if somebody doesn’t have a whole team of people to help then answer these questions then they fill out a simple form that you can find on that same website. Once you fill out that form then we’ll customize a team of folks that can help you navigate this process and make sure get the resources that are available to assist you through this.”

The task force committee is made up of representatives from several organizations, including Destination Missoula, Downtown Missoula Partnership, Missoula Chamber of Commerce, Missoula College, Missoula County, the Missoula Job Service and several other agencies and organizations.