The University of Rochester Ain Center for Entrepreneurship is launching a new virtual webinar series designed for entrepreneurs and small business owners operating during the uncertainty of a global health crisis. Buzz Lab Special Edition: Managing through Uncertainty runs from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays from October 6 – November 3. This program is supported by a University Center grant from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

  • Participants must register online.
  • This free series is intended for entrepreneurs and small business owners whose businesses have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and regulations surrounding the pandemic.

Topics include:

  • Pivoting Business Models
  • Financial Resources
  • Adapting Operations
  • e-Commerce & Digital Marketing
  • Self-Care & Work/Life Balance

View instructors.

Webinar Schedule

All webinars will be held virtually via Zoom. Click the events below for session details. Register using the button to the right.

There are no upcoming events at this time.

October 6, 2020: Pivoting Business Models

Jason Barrett
President, Black Button Distilling

Gemma Sole
Co-Founder & COO, N.A.bld

What do distilling bourbon and making apparel have in common?! Find out in this Buzz Lab Boot Camp session.

Join Gemma Sole ’09 (KEY) and Jason Barrett as they discuss real-life case studies of pivoting business models during times of crisis from tech startups and a distillery to PPE providers. This workshop will introduce you to unique companies and their strategic shifts during the first quarter of 2020 as they reacted to unknown business environments during the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll be hearing from the entrepreneurs firsthand about what led them to action, hurdles they encountered along the way, and where the pivot has led them to today. You’ll also learn what they would have done differently, when and why, and ask your own pandemic-related advice, pivoting questions and more during dedicated one-on-one breakout sessions after the case studies are revealed.

October 13, 2020: Financial Resources

Baye Muhammad
CEO, Rochester Economic Development Corporation

Finances are a key component of any business. In particular, looking for the right financial resources for your business is very important and any entrepreneur should be informed about the different options they have. With his extensive background, Baye will talk about several financial alternatives for small business such as federal and state resources, PILOT programs and private and non-profit lenders.

October 20, 2020: Adapting Operations

Janine Caschette
Owner, AVVINO Restaurant

Kim Gaylord
Executive Director, TechRochester

As many other small-businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted AVVINO restaurant without prior notice. As restaurants were required to shut operations down to help reduce the spread, Janine had to rethink her business in order to stay afloat. Following the Governor’s guidelines, AVVINO implemented a series of adjustments to continue to sell food. The priority then became how to still offer genuine hospitality regardless of the conditions of its physical space. Learn how AVVINO shifted to the digital world to keep customers engaged.

Similarly, TechRochester was forced to pivot its business operations as a result of COVID-19. As an events-based organization, Kim was forced to stop planning all in-person events. Emotions were high, disappointment loomed, questions lingered. What should TechRochester do? TechRochester quickly shifted to offer a variety of online education events. It tried different variations – short, long, free, paid. Its philosophy was if you do not try, you fail. Hear what TechRochester tried and learned as a membership and event association during this uncertain time!

October 27, 2020: e-Commerce and Digital Marketing

Matt Weaver
Director of Digital Marketing, Mason Digital

The pandemic has drastically changed the way we work, consume entertainment, shop, and communicate on a daily basis. So much so that internet usage has increased 47% year over year and will continue to see dramatic gains. As an entrepreneur and small business owner, how do you pivot your business to accommodate shifting consumption habits? Matt will take you through key steps and ideas to stay ahead of these trends and build a better business because of it.

November 3, 2020: Self-Care and Work/Life Balance

Melissa Mueller-Douglas
Founder, MYRetreat

We’ve all had conversations about working and living through a global pandemic. As a licensed therapist and business owner, what I hear most is that we recognize self-care is important, yet the demands of life make it difficult to prioritize.

Set your intention to find your work/life balance.

Select a piece of chocolate for this workshop and experience the simplicity of mindfulness practice.  We will pause, take a moment to take a breath, and learn mindfulness practices you can use day-to-day.

Zoom Basics

The first time you ever click a Zoom link via your browser (only that very first time), it will prompt you to install the Zoom client application to your computer. We recommend that you do this ahead of your first session, which can be done so here: https://zoom.us/download.

If you are new to Zoom, please visit the University of Rochester’s Zoom tutorials page: https://tech.rochester.edu/zoom-tutorials/ or reach out to the Ain Center at aincfe@rochester.edu.


During the Session

Head to a quiet location or use headphones to minimize background noise. If you can’t get anywhere quiet, you can use the Mute button on Zoom when you aren’t speaking. Ensure that you are in a spot with strong wi-fi or a wired connection, especially if you plan to use your webcam.

If you are using a camera (highly recommended during the Q&A portion but you are welcome to turn off your video feed during the presentation portion), be sure to check your lighting, background, and surroundings for anything that may be distracting throughout the meeting.

To test your audio/video setup, you can join a test meeting here: https://zoom.us/test.

If you are still having trouble with your settings, check out Zoom’s Help Center for Audio, Video, & Sharing here: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/categories/201137166-Audio-Video-Sharing.

Register Now

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.


Contact Heidi Mergenthaler, Program Manager.

Managing through Uncertainty Instructors