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In the long line of industries upended by the coronavirus pandemic, the events and meetings niche has been particularly hard hit. 

For 30 years, the Hunterdon County-based East West Connection played its role well as a full-service strategic meetings, event and incentive company focused on providing value-driven experiences for clients 

But as Founding President and CEO Ralph Weaver explained in the recent New Jersey Business Coalition Town Hall, everything changed over the past year. 

“Prior to the pandemic, EWC had $16 million in revenue and 75 employees,” Weaver explained.  “Last year our revenue decreased by 70% and our work force now is 32 employees.” 

Out of necessity, East West Connection has sought to pivot its work model to managing virtual meetings. To set itself apartit has looked into developing proprietary technology to distinguish itself in the workplace. But to do so, Weaver said, requires a significant investment that is difficult to undertake following a dramatic downturn in business. 

“That’s why access to capital is key to small business like EWC’s survival until we recover from the financial losses caused by the pandemic,” Weaver said. “Ongoing support from the state and federal government is needed.  Whatever grants and loan programs offered we ask that the application process be streamlined and enhanced communication about the status of applications. 

During the NJBC Town Hall, Weaver also encouraged increased initiatives to provide financial support to African American-owned businesses that have been dramatically impacted by the pandemic. 

“As we all pivot to reinvent and maintain our businesses, we need innovative solutions and assistance such as tax credits for investing in technology that could lead to job creation,” Weaver said. 

To hear Weaver’s full presentation, click here.