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Loyola to provide Baltimore-based small businesses with pro-bono consulting through its Crisis Navigators group

| By Molly Robey
Loyola's Crisis Navigators

To help address concerns of small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, Loyola University Maryland’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CI&E) has formed a pro-bono consulting group to specifically help Baltimore City-based businesses navigate the crisis.

“We know this is a time of stress and extreme market conditions, especially for our small business community,” said Wendy Bolger, founding director of Loyola’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. “Our experts can help brainstorm or model innovative pivots, counsel in decision-making, and help explore additional resources—including new emergency loan and grant options.”

The program’s first client was referred by Erin O’Keefe, director of Loyola’s Center for Community Service and Justice and the York Road Initiative, who was in contact with many non-profit and York Road Initiative businesses early in the pandemic, providing resources and connections. O’Keefe and Bolger developed the idea for CI&E to get more involved with new pro-bono programming specific to operating businesses in need of expertise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crisis Navigators will be mentors, problem solvers, and counselors in a time of great uncertainty for small businesses. The group consists of a diverse range of volunteer experts, including executive in residence, Kim Wagner, JD, MBA ’98, Raquel Shutt, MBA ’04, Loyola executive in residence Dave Luvison, DBA, and CI&E community business partners. The Crisis Navigators are partnering with organizations across the state, including Baltimore City, to support small businesses with specific needs.

“Local business and nonprofit organizations will need all the help we can provide in these unprecedented times,” said Bolger. “The CI&E has the convening ability to offer this emergency response through the generous volunteer commitment to Loyola Crisis Navigators.”

In addition to helping Loyola students develop an innovative mindset, the CI&E’s mission off campus is to be a part of transforming Baltimore through wealth and job creation among women entrepreneurs and founders of color in our city.

Nonprofits, startups, entrepreneurs, and other small businesses based in Baltimore City may sign up for a virtual consultation with trained business experts through the Loyola Crisis Navigators website.

For questions about the program contact Wendy Bolger, webolger@loyola.edu.

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