Our COVID-19 Response

MARCH 23 2020

Dear StarterStudio family,

We trust you are all safe and well and taking all precautions to protect yourselves and your loved ones in this unusual and anxious time. We, at StarterStudio, continue to keep a close eye on the situation as it relates to StarterStudio Members and program participants.

Curfews and closings imposed in Orange County, the rapidly growing number of COVID-19 cases, and mandated shutdowns of all non-essential businesses in at least six states where citizens have been ordered to stay home are very much on our minds right now as we anticipate what might become necessary at StarterStudio.

Very short notice has been given to citizens in recent state-ordered shutdowns. Should such an order be given here by the State of Florida, Orange County, or the City of Orlando, it would require a complete shuttering of the StarterStudio facility including door access and Internet service which could last for an indefinite period. Like most of you, our staff would continue to operate remotely.

Because of the impact to your business continuity a short-notice closure might cause, we want to provide guidance to ensure each of you has ample time to take action for transitioning your business activities from StarterStudio to home.

Current door access records indicate only four people coming in regularly over each of the last 5 days. A sweep of the site yesterday afternoon suggests that many members have already removed their equipment and supplies. We recommend that everyone plan to do the same in coming days since we’re unable to predict when access to the facility might be allowed again should an order go into effect.

If you receive mail at StarterStudio, keep in mind that there will not be a way for us to assist should there be a shut down. For the present we continue to pick up and dispense twice a week. If you are expecting important mail, we recommend that you reach out to senders with alternative delivery address or visit the USPS website to submit a change of address order. The Exchange Building is already closed so no packages are being delivered.

My heart is heavy for each and every one of you. As a nonprofit, it is a time we worry deeply for the community we serve. I know that this historic moment in time and all the impacts it is having on small and emerging companies like yours is unimaginable. As this passes and large numbers of entrepreneurs have to reboot their companies, pivot toward a whole new economic climate, or are newly minted from the ranks of the unemployed, StarterStudio intends to be here.

Our team is working swiftly to offer every bit of our programming online and even scale those online offerings to assure we are here to help reignite the local economy in a recovery. We ourselves are actively seeking grants and loans to weather the storm and looking to our corporate sponsors who care so deeply about you, the entrepreneurs, who are always the center of thriving economies.

We want to be sure that you too are aware of all the economic relief programs available to you to help you carry on with as little disruption as possible. Please visit the Orlando Economic Partnership’s COVID-19 resource page for grant and loan programs you can apply for now and visit there regularly for new relief programs for unemployment benefits that are projected to cover contractors as well as employees through the period of disruption. There is also a very important damage assessment survey there that will help the city and county understand the impacts to your business and identify the issues to be addressed. Your input will be instrumental in how resources are deployed.

I want you all to know how much we value you and your support of StarterStudio. We are taking it minute-by-minute and will keep you apprised of anything we learn as the situation changes. Please reach out to us with any questions or issues at info@starterstudio.org.

Stay safe and well and know we will all get through this. It will test our grit and resilience for sure. But we’ll get through it. Together!


MARCH 18 2020

In our continuing effort to support our Members and accelerator teams, StarterStudio remains accessible ONLY to Members as of today, March 18, 2020. The situation remains very fluid and we continue to monitor health advisories as well as updates from building management.

What we can do to support each other

A sense of isolation for leaders as well as their teams often challenge us. In these times even more so.

Now is the time for us to support each other, even if just being “present” to listen to the experiences and concerns of another. Phone calls, teleconferencing, and a good ear are still available to us.

What we are doing to support our mission

Right now, and over the next several days our entire team is working to:

  • “Virtualize” our programming, including Lunch & Learns, accelerators, bootcamps, mentoring, and even pitch nights. We will have more news on that front very soon.
  • Enhance and promote the sense of community and opportunities for collaboration that StarterStudio is rightfully famous for and can be accomplished virtually. We believe community and collaboration can still thrive in a virtual world.

What we are doing to maintain our space

  • This week and next there will be no public events held in StarterStudio.
  • We again ask that you do not bring non-Members into the space.
  • Our custodial staff will continue to come in each weekday evening to clean and restock paper supplies.
  • Building management informed us today that outside doors to the exchange will be locked. You will need to enter via the Gertrude’s walk door.

We will continue to keep you informed with this kind of update as we make decisions in the best interest of the whole StarterStudio community.

Today, more than ever, we want your help to spread the word that StarterStudio and entrepreneurship in Central Florida will not be dampened by difficult times.

We are a true community and our mission to support entrepreneurs and promote entrepreneurship will, with your help, not waver in these challenging days.

If you have any questions, concerns or ideas, feel free to email our staff at info@starterstudio.org.