*It’s Something initiative will provide $36K in communication & consultation.*
ST. PETERSBURG, FL, December 27, 2020 – “’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a COVID virus…” COVID-19 made 2020 a nightmare for many people locally and nationally. Unfortunately, the pandemic is far from over. The ramifications extend beyond health to the economy, with thousands of small businesses failing and laying off their employees.
The It’s Something initiative from writing and ideation company Sometime to Sometime, LLC (S2S), will help three St. Petersburg businesses improve their online presence. “Anyone can apply,” said S2S founder/owner Kent Roberts, a USF St. Petersburg MLA graduate who lived in St. Pete for seven years. “Factors to assess applicants will include need, ordinary viability, community involvement, sustainability, and equity.” Macrosocial problems can be intimidating, leading to pessimism toward our virtually limitless potential. Roberts’ mantra as he developed the initiative was, “It’s something…”
*What can I do?*
The St. Pete project is a pilot. Roberts wants It’s Something to help businesses nationwide through direct work and by building a network to bolster and improve small companies caught off-guard by the pandemic.
S2S founder Kent Roberts – formerly the editor-in-chief of Brown University’s humor magazine and a regular contributor to The Onion – was inspired not by laughter but tears. He saw an LA restaurateur in a social media video saying that COVID was collapsing her dream. “I thought, basically, ‘This sucks,’” Roberts said. “‘What can I do?’” Soon afterward, Kent found himself waiting for a lost order inside a small store. He realized fixing ecommerce glitches would have the additional benefit of reducing COVID spread.
Roberts first intended to provide publicity, with a marketing agency providing ecommerce services. But a thought leader in media and ecommerce advised Kent to forego complexity. The “aha” moment that resulted agreed with two growth principles from different fields: agility (from software development) and emergent strategy (from community organizing). “My friend said to provide all services myself for the sake of speed,” said Roberts. Still, he hopes to partner with local organizations to rapidly scale the initiative. Beyond short-term benefits, Kent hopes the digital assistance can help future-proof local economies nationwide.
The deadline for application for the St. Petersburg pilot is 11:59 p.m. EST on January 30, 2021, Roberts’ late father’s 74th birthday. Dr. Keith A. Roberts, a prominent sociologist and passionate educator, died of cancer in July 2018. Months earlier, he advised Kent to incorporate meaning into his work. “My dad suggested that I partner with organizations with strong sustainability and human rights records,” said Roberts. “to integrate my professional goals with my humanity, with my sense of empathy – and that’s the goal here.”
Sometime to Sometime, LLC, launched in Minneapolis in 2020. The mission of It’s Something is to help small businesses and slow COVID spread. Reach Kent Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727-667-8229.