Like the businesses we serve, the Entrepreneur Fund’s focus shifted dramatically in early 2020. In addition to helping drive strategic growth for our clients, we became a trusted resource for information and support for businesses working to stay afloat amidst a global pandemic.
Nobody could have predicted COVID-19. Nobody could have planned for the serious impacts stay-at-home orders had on the business community. But, the businesses in our region flexed their ability to be agile and shifted as best they could. For some, that meant enabling staff to work from home. For others, it meant furloughs, hour reductions or staff cutbacks.
With many unknowns, our clients looked to us for guidance, so we shifted. We learned as much as possible about the federal, state and local resources available in order to help our clients access emergency funding and resources that would help sustain their business. We focused our efforts on three key areas:
- Financing and Resources to Weather the Storm
When cities and states started to shut down, the impact on local businesses was immediate and severe. Many were faced with tough choices on how to remain open. Then, financing opportunities were made available at the local, state and federal level. With so many options (and so many qualification criteria and stipulations), many business owners didn’t know where to turn.
The Entrepreneur Fund team dove into the details of each loan program, so we could direct our clients to resources that best aligned with their business needs. We also set up a COVID-19 Resources Updates webpage to keep important information and links in one easy-to-access place.
Give it a look and bookmark the page for future reference. We update the page frequently as new information and resources become available.
- Expert Consulting to Re-Strategize Your Business
What businesses thought they’d be doing this year changed quickly. Every entrepreneur’s ability to pivot and refocus was put to the test – but that’s not an easy exercise, especially when your business’ future is on the line. Our team of business advisors kicked into high gear to support our clients as they transitioned business plans and operations in response to COVID-19.
We embraced virtual meetings and phone calls in lieu of face-to-face appointments, making the most of the strange new business landscape. We provided information and access to resources that kept doors open and revenue flowing. We helped rewrite strategic plans and brainstorm ideas for redefined operating procedures that aligned with COVID-19-related safety regulations. We listened, we strategized and we supported our clients in new and innovative ways. Today, our business advising team is stronger and nimbler than ever, and we’re energized to help our clients succeed.
- A Community of Support
It seemed like everything changed in an instant this spring, but one thing never faltered: the need for a strong, supportive community. That’s something our region has worked hard to build, and it’ll take a lot more than a pandemic to rattle those relationships.
Over the past several years, our Women’s Business Alliance has fostered connections between women business owners through our Ignite speaker series. This year, we transitioned to a series of free virtual webinar events featuring timely topics, and we opened it up to all audiences.
We look forward to being able to host these events in-person again but are proud of our efforts to keep this group connected virtually. Maintaining relationships with fellow business owners is essential to continued growth and success. We can all learn from one another.
Access Relief Financing Today
Financing is still available from many sources, and we encourage business owners in need to explore the opportunities listed below. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We’re here to help.
CARES Act for Small Business
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans
EF Small Business Relief Fund
IEDC Small Business Relief Loan (Itasca County)
Cloquet Business Assistance Fund
Taconite Area Business Relief Loan Program