Lackawanna College Venture Lab Awarded Grant to Help Local Restaurants Boost Sales

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Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti has announced that Lackawanna College has been awarded a $150,000 CARES Technology Assistance Grant to support an initiative that will create e-commerce solutions for struggling Scranton restaurants.

Grant funding will be used to support 36 restaurants in the Lackawanna College Rally for Restaurants: E-commerce Edition presented by the Venture Lab. Participants in the program will be able to launch websites, create online ordering systems and receive training on how to use digital media to boost sales. The goal of the initiative is to ensure that restaurants have the tools they need to continue operations during the pandemic and afterward.

“Local restaurants are a foundation of our community,” said Mayor Cognetti. “We have worked hard to help provide resources the restaurants need to survive during the pandemic. This partnership with Lackawanna College and the $800,000 in small business grants are strategic investments of the city’s COVID Cares Act funding in our local businesses community.”

“Lackawanna College’s Rally for Restaurants has infused much-needed revenue into our local restaurants. With this grant, we can now equip them to respond to the trends predicted in a post-COVID world,” said Stephanie Decker, Lackawanna College AVP of Social and Economic Impact. “Experts warn that restaurants will need to provide online ordering and have a web presence to meet consumer demands post-pandemic. For most of our restaurants, that added expense is unrealistic. With this grant, we can bridge that gap and see more social and economic impact in the city of Scranton.”

Participants who complete the program will receive one year of ongoing and cost-free tech support through the Lackawanna College Venture Lab for marketing, online ordering, social media, and the restaurant’s website.

“We are pleased to be able to assist the small business community during this challenging time,” said the Office of Community Development Director Eileen Cipriani. “These businesses are the heart and soul of our community and we are focused on seeing them succeed.”

These funds are awarded to the city through the Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program from the Housing and Urban Development Administration (HUD).