By Frederick Melo
Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The “Pay It Forward” initiative is seeking volunteers to serve as “economic first responders” to help businesses assess COVID-19 relief options.
While payroll loans through the national Paycheck Protection Program have been hard to come by, some business owners lucky enough to access them have openly contemplated giving the money back to the U.S. Small Business Administration after reading the fine print.
Few want to be held liable for failing to meet loan terms if they have to let go staff, reduce wages or close their business during the pandemic.
Navigating loan and grant relief packages can be daunting for entrepreneurs, especially small business owners, start-ups and English language learners.
In an effort to provide assistance, the city of St. Paul is teaming with Ramsey County, the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, Score St. Paul and other partners to launch a new business mentoring effort.
The initiative — “Pay It Forward” — is seeking volunteers to serve as “economic first responders” and help east metro businesses assess COVID-19 relief options.
Community members with business and financial expertise will be screened, trained and matched through Score St. Paul to a business owner in need of assistance.
Volunteers who speak Hmong, Somali, Oromo, Spanish and Karen are encouraged to apply. Pay It Forward partners include Hmong American Partnership, African Economic Development Solutions, the Latino Economic Development Center, Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers and the Neighborhood Development Center.
For more information, visit saintpaulchamber.com/payitforward.
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