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The Impact of COVID-19 On Our Small Business Network

Dear Great Lakes Women’s Business Council Network,

Great Lakes Women’s Business Council’s top priority is the health and safety of our visitors, co-workers, and community.  Like many organizations, we are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 issue and making plans to do our part to keep our community as safe and healthy as possible. We are utilizing the: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for information. Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to postpone and adjust our programs and events:

Our execWE Leadership Vision 2020 that was scheduled for March 25, 2020, will be rescheduled. We are working with the Best Western Premier in Southfield for a future date. We will be in touch as soon as possible about a new date.

Our 36th Awards Celebration, which was to take place on the evening of April 23, 2020, will be postponed until further notice. We intend to reschedule the event for a time when we can be certain of the safety of the 550 attendees we expect or to restructure the event to utilize technology to achieve our goals.  All award winners will still be recognized. 

To ensure the safety for all, staff members will be conducting meetings and counseling sessions by conference call or Zoom.  We will be adhering to the following New Work Guidelines.

New Workplace Guidelines:

  • Encourage employees to stay home when sick and to notify supervisors of illness.
  • Communicate and reinforce best practices for washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, like doorknobs, keyboards, cell phones, and light switches.
  • Ensure hand hygiene supplies are readily accessible throughout the workplace.
  • Encourage staff to work remotely.
  • Implement social distancing measures as feasible, including limiting in-person meetings.
  • Limit large work-related gatherings (e.g., staff meetings and after-work functions).
  • Limit non-essential work travel.
  • Cancel or postpone gatherings, conferences, and sporting events.
  • Discourage employees from eating meals in a large group setting, such as a cafeteria.
  • Tailor continuity of operation plans to the COVID-19 threat.

We thank you for your understanding as we work through this evolving situation. We encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions for the safety of our community, especially our most vulnerable community members. We will continue to strive to find a balance between normality and safety and look forward to seeing you soon. 

Thank you for your understanding,

Michelle Richards, Executive Director

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About the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council

Founded in 1984, Great Lakes Women’s Business Council (Great Lakes WBC), is a nonprofit champion for women, minority and small business owners. We provide access to capital and corporate procurement opportunities, certification for women-owned business enterprises and small business educational support.

Great Lakes WBC represents more than 1,400 WBENC-certified women’s business enterprises generating approximately $8.6 billion in annual revenue and employing 48,000 U.S. workers, as well as 90+ corporate partners in a diverse range of industry sectors. We have provided $8 million in loans to small business owners which created 1,800 jobs. Through the Michigan Women’s Marketplace, we have trained more than 15,000 business owners and entrepreneurs. Great Lakes Women’s Business Council was formerly known as the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development (CEED).

Our Members

We represent woman-owned business enterprises ranging from owner-operated to those that employ hundreds. In addition, our membership is comprised of a variety of entrepreneurs and corporate partners.

Our Initiatives

  • National WBENC certification – Regional partner organization for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, we represent more than 1,000 woman-owned businesses
  • CEED Lending – Access to capital for small businesses throughout southeastern Michigan.
  • Business Counseling – As a women’s business center with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership, we offer one-on-one business counseling.
  • Education – Our Women’s Business Center, Detroit Business Growth Initiative, WBE Forums and Michigan Women’s Marketplace ( provide business development training and webinars.