Rochester, NY (WROC) — In April, Main Street America reported 7.5 million small businesses faced permanent closure due to COVID-19. Some small entrepreneurs in the Rochester area were facing the same fate, but were able to turn to a local organization for help.
Rochester’s Marvelous Mind Academy is helping families in the Rochester area through bridge or short term child care.
After five years of working out of mobile spaces, owner Rosa Marie Curtis was scheduled to open her first physical location when COVID-19 hit.
“This is the first time we actually set roots down in Rochester and it took us two years to get here so the biggest challenges was being okay with not opening,” said Rosa Marie Curtis, Marvelous Mind Academy President.
Curtis says her biggest challenge was revenue and keeping staff on payroll many of whom were expecting to start a job when she opened.
She turned to Venture Jobs Foundation for help, a local organization geared red towards helping entrepreneurs in undeserved communities.
“The COVID crisis has struck everyone but it’s struck the undeserved neighborhoods probably the hardest. People that might have had a job in the community, now are without that jobs and as they look for opportunities on what to do next, many have been honing the idea of starting up their own business for some times,” Ken Marienau Vice President of Community Services, Venture Jobs Foundation.
The foundation has helped entrepreneurs through their loan programs but also through educational and mentor ship groups like Their Jobs Kitchen Accelerator program, that give business owners the skills to market and be finically smart.
During Covid, foundation leaders say their programs are particularity helpful to entrepreneurs that may not qualify for conventional Small Business Loans.
“We bring tools and skills to entrepreneurs that have been locked out of different systems, we want them to have access to those systems,” said Dennis ‘Denny’ DeLeo, President of Venture Jobs Foundation.
Curtis used funds from the program to finish the renovation on her building that she need to open, and also connect with other small business in the area.
She says without it, she would have had to give up her dream, and she encourages other to use this time and program like venture jobs foundations to chase there.
“Be bold and be brave, I mean what Covid did for our community was everybody trying something new. and nobody really got it figured out. So this is the best time, to ask questions make mistakes,” said Curtis.
Venture Jobs Foundations is hoping to launch two new programs, called Anchor Jobs and Jobs Now, that would help entrepreneurs and business in undeserved communities who many have been impacted by Covid. They hope to start those new programs by the end of this year .