Local business owner provides free resources to address unemployment amid COVID-19

WEST CHESTER, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- During the COVID-19 pandemic with unemployment numbers still high, one local business owner in West Chester, Chester County is looking to step in and help individuals during a time of much-needed assistance.

From business closures to job losses, the pandemic has left many stuck all across the country.

Laura DiFrancesco, Founder of the Flourish Coworking Space in West Chester, aims to be an added resource for the public. Providing free resources for those currently impacted by the challenges faced in 2020.

"I founded Dean Street Law in February of 2019 and I grew my team quickly to a team of eight," said DiFrancesco who is a Villanova University law school graduate.

Needing space to work, DiFrancesco says while working out of her home, she thought of an idea to bring the feeling of home into a workspace setting.

"I thought, rather than just rent office space, why not create a space that I wanted to work," she added.

In January 2020, Flourish was born as a multi-functioning space with a sense of community.

According to the Action News Data Team, the Pennsylvania economy is not recovering as fast as the national economy. While the nationwide unemployment rate dropped by 4.5 percentage points over the past four months, the state unemployment rate dropped only by 2.4 percentage points.

After closing back in March due to COVID-19, Flourish has reopened, providing free resources for job seekers and local entrepreneurs.

"Being an entrepreneur or being in business particularly through the pandemic can feel a little isolating at times," said DiFrancesco. "So we wanted to create a really robust community to support everybody who steps through our doors."

From free headshots, informational podcasts, and a free week to utilize any workspace needs at Flourish, DiFrancesco says she's just looking to be an extra helping hand.

"When we were shut down for COVID, we did a business boot camp and had an incredible amount of people join us for that," said DiFrancesco. "We're really looking to support everybody who looking to grow their business at this time and even start one."
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