Main Street businesses, entrepreneurs, startups, and employees who are wondering “what’s next” during these unprecedented times can turn to Niagara Global Tourism Institute’s TReC. The business incubator has put into place a number of virtual resources to help business owners navigate through this uncharted territory.

“Supporting small business owners and entrepreneurs is crucial in times like these,” said Pat Whalen, director of TReC. “We are connecting with our incubator network and the entrepreneurship community in Western New York to offer business owners the resources they need to mitigate risk, protect their employees, and support their customers during the coronavirus pandemic.”

At 8:30 a.m. Monday mornings, TReC’s popular Niagara Open Coffee Club is now being held via Zoom. This networking forum, which is held each week, offers attendees a chance to share ideas, offer support, ask for assistance, and form new connections. Join the Zoom meeting here: To find out more, visit

On the second Tuesday of each month, the Niagara Falls Entrepreneurship Meetup Group is also accessible via Zoom. Experienced entrepreneurs, as well as those who are just starting out, can share tips and resources to help others create or grow a new business. The next meeting will be held May 12 at 5:30 p.m. Information can be found at

Each Wednesday at 1 p.m., TReC hosts a Small Business Discussion Group. Whalen partners with Jeannine Brown Miller, JBM HR Consulting Inc., and Tom Murdock, general manager of the Western New York Incubator Network, to offer guidance and advice on managing businesses during the coronavirus outbreak. During these discussions, the speakers will provide practical information and resources for businesses before opening the floor to questions from attendees. Business owners are encouraged to contact Whalen at or Brown Miller at with their ideas on the topics they would like to discuss. Connect with the online event here:

On Thursday, April 23, the first meeting of the TReC Masterminds Group will be held. Comprised of a dozen C-level executives, this group will meet on a regular basis for one year to offer advice and collaborate with one another.

“Masterminds have been in existence for years and offer one of the greatest problem-solving forums for leasers to collaborate, share, and learn from their peers,” Whalen said. “The practical business challenges resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak requires uncommon leadership. TReC is committed to supporting Western New York business leaders with timely resources and tools to manage change in today’s business climate.”

For more information, see

The Niagara Global Tourism Institute is a Niagara University-led initiative to transform the regional tourism industry. Created to foster collaborative partnerships between the public and private sector to improve the regional tourism product, the NGTI operates with a focus on research, skills development, entrepreneurship, and technology. In November 2019, the NGTI's TReC business incubator affiliated with the Business Incubator Association of New York State, Inc. Its tourism-technology focus is a unique asset in WNY designed to magnify the region’s existing momentum in the entrepreneurial and tourism fields. TReC works directly with entrepreneurs starting a new company from conceptualization to their eventual establishment in the community, and provides startup companies with full suite of services, including business plan development and implementation, mentoring, and guidance with legal and financial matters.