In response to Member feedback to follow up on the global town hall meetings held in March, the WTCA hosted two global town hall meetings in April via video conference. Over the span of two days, 74 WTC representatives from 14 countries around the world — including China, Cyprus, France, Paraguay and the United States — continued the discussion on their World Trade Centers’ approach to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, including current strategies, beneficial resources, and objectives for the next 30 days. During these virtual roundtables, there were three overarching themes: the importance of our role as an Association in times of crises and prosperity, the importance of globalization in a post-COVID-19 world, and how WTCs can be of value.
In light of the pandemic, WTCs around the world have undertaken similar strategies to help their tenants and business members. From hosting virtual office hours and webinars to sending personalized notes and cold calling their most vulnerable companies, WTCs are reaching out to provide assistance and listen to concerns. Further, some WTCs including WTC Querétaro are offering two months free rent for some tenants to help ease financial burdens during this time.
To help prepare for what’s to come post-COVID, WTCs like WTC Brest are interested in exploring a Post-COVID Business Club to help companies transition to the new normal, or holding WTC-to-WTC virtual meetings to facilitate connections for their business members. WTC Kansas City shared that they would be interested in collaborating on best practice standards for re-opening, while WTC Curitiba shared the launch of a new LinkedIn page, highlighting the charitable actions, products, and services made by Brazilian companies in an effort to help communities. Members also discussed enforcing the importance of globalization to ensure that it isn’t lost in the pandemic’s aftermath.
WTCs around the world have also been collaborating, offering resources and virtual events to their local communities as well as fellow Members. In addition to those noted on the WTCA COVID-19 Resource Page, WTC Winnipeg is a founding sponsor for the Local Futures initiative, a crowdfunding platform designed to help local small business access much needed capital to help sustain them during this period. Additionally, WTC Washington, D.C. launched the Messages of Hope Campaign to stay connected with the global community and stakeholders during COVID-19. The platform shares messages of inspiration from embassies, countries and diasporas to illustrate how our global community benefits from a collaborative support system.
In terms of upcoming events, throughout the month of May, WTC Denver will be hosting its World Trade Month 2020 Series virtually each Friday. Topics will include cities of the future in a post-pandemic world, immigration and innovation, international trade during COVID-19, and the future of supply chain sustainability. Separately, WTC Noida will be developing a virtual expo for SMEs focused across five sectors including electronics and IT; food and agriculture; handcrafts and handlooms; healthcare; and travel and tourism.
Following the global town halls, all Members are encouraged to complete a survey to quickly identify ways they may collaborate with each other. Click here to access the survey. The deadline to participate is May 10.
The WTCA will continue to host these global town halls monthly – please be on the lookout for details on when these will be scheduled. As mentioned before, now is an important time to come together as an Association, and we hope you take part in this initiative to connect with your fellow WTCs around the world.