These are hard times ahead for the economy due to the corona crisis. Small businesses and the self-employed are the first to notice this. To help Vallendar residents and people from the surrounding area find the town as they know it after the current closures, the new website "Hilfe für Vallendar" has been launched. Anke and Frank Siedenkamp worked tirelessly to complete it and are actively supported in its implementation by the initiative "WHU Studenten Helfen e.V." (WHUSH). In the interview, both explain what this is all about and how one can now help to alleviate the consequences of the crisis.
1. In what situation did you become aware: "We have to do something" and who took part in launching the initiative?
I have always been self-employed since my studies and graduation in 1989 as a Diplom-Betriebswirt (FH) and know from unfortunately made experiences the situation of fear for my own existence plus family, but also the great concern for the further well-being of all employees. Therefore I can understand very well the worries of many small entrepreneurs at the moment. I live in Vallendar and so I simply want to try to help them in some way. It took us days and nights of work to create our website and we are still constantly working on improvements. Our team does this voluntarily without any financial benefits. I think we owe this to our entrepreneurs, who probably have to master the biggest crisis of their life. I am particularly grateful to our association of municipalities and mayor Fred Pretz, WHU and WHUSH for their support.
2. What can the new website "Hilfe für Vallendar" achieve and how does the help for the companies work practically?
The non-profit platform “Hilfe für Vallendar” is a declaration of love to our favorite pubs and restaurants, shops, craftsmen and other service providers whose existence is threatened because of the Corona crisis. In cooperation with Helfen.Berlin, we as a team have developed a platform on which vouchers for favorite places can now be bought and then redeemed as soon as the shops/restaurants etc. are open again. The idea is that we save our favorite places from insolvency together. We now pay them the money, we would spend on them in the next months anyway.
Restaurants, cafés, hotels, shops, craftsmen and other small service providers have problems because they still have to pay their staff, rent, heating costs and much more. In order to manage this, vouchers are already bought and paid for now and then used later.
3. In what way are WHU students involved in this process and how do they provide support?
WHU students are a large group of customers of small businesses in Vallendar. They are also very well networked. The success of the whole campaign depends on the purchase of vouchers. The WHUSH student initiative is able to use its far-reaching network to make the campaign known, which they have willingly agreed to do.
4. How has the response been so far, both from companies and helpers?
The site went online only two ("a few" note of the editors) days ago. We are in the process of promoting the campaign. Up to now there has been little response, which will hopefully change in the next few days as awareness increases.
5. Who is supposed to benefit from the initiative and what are the advantages for Vallendar itself?
Everyone will benefit: the entrepreneurs, some of whom will lose sales completely these days, but also the customers, whose favorite restaurants will be able to reopen after the crisis. For Vallendar, the advantage is that its stores will be able to reopen after the crisis and do not have to give up.