In last fall’s HNB Program Update, we reported that our Habitat for Neighborhood Business program at Saint Louis University had achieved its most significant growth in our fourteen year history by increasing service to more than two dozen entrepreneurs. In spite of, or because of, the unprecedented COVID-19 event of 2020 we will end this year with 40 minority owned businesses in St Louis City under-served neighborhoods.
This growth has brought with it the doubling of Active Mentors and we are excited to report that our list of Industry Specialists/Industry Expert Mentors has grown to sixteen who further support needs unique to many of our client companies.
Also, of great importance to our growth has been financial support from Emerson, an early and unwavering believer in our mission. Further, SLU has assigned a graduate assistant in recognition of the importance to our community for us to grow our HNB program.
SLU’s 2020-2021 Service Leadership program will match seven HNB entrepreneurs with student teams who will spend the semester developing ideas to improve their business and, for the first time, each student team will have a $500 budget for “idea implementation.” Additionally, a local bank had provided a significant grant to be administered by the Student Board of the Service Leadership Program for HNB businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19.
We are PROUD to report that because of the hard work of our entrepreneurs and along with the conscientious support of our staff, board, supporters, mentors and several industry specialists we have not “lost” a single entrepreneur during this period.
We continue our quest for an endowment of $1,000,000. We are pleased with our success and again encourage you to consider adding to the assurance of HNB’s sustainability.
Obviously with COVID-19 still active we will not repeat the successful and important 2019 entrepreneur “meet-and-greet” but ask that you consider checking out the entrepreneurs listed in this newsletter on our web site to see if they can be of service to you, your family or friends.
In closing, 2020 has been a year like no other and, on behalf of our board and HNB staff, we are so proud of how our entrepreneurs have fought to survive, in a few cases even prosper, and how appreciative we are for the assistance of our supporters and volunteer mentors.