Many of South Florida’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) directors have two choices: Continue to sustain existing businesses through the pandemic, or return to attracting new entrepreneurs to their cities.
With Option A, they can maintain jobs in the area, and with Option B, they bring in new jobs and increase the value of the city. Each option has its pros and cons.
Christopher Roog, executive director for the West Palm Beach CRA, is leaning toward Option A, which would see the CRA continue to pump grant money into long-established business that need temporary assistance to get through the economic downturn. He said that includes local mom-and-pop restaurants and retail business owners who saw revenue sharply decline due to changing consumer trends.
Most importantly, he believes the vast majority of future job growth will come from existing businesses rather than startups.
What’s more, it’s oftentimes cheaper to aid these businesses, explained Rasha Cameau, director of the North Miami CRA.
Cameau said the North Miami CRA’s typical business attraction grant for startups is $150,000 dollars per business. With that sum, she estimates she could instead help keep 15 to 20 businesses afloat with programs including commercial rent assistance for a handful of months.