Stay Consistent with Your Mission
During the pandemic, the Puente Team has met (almost daily via Zoom) to discuss the challenges and messages of the day. We became experts in trilingual outreach to the immigrant business community and all things COVID-related: grants, loans, executive orders, restaurant protocol, MIOSHA rules, etc. We consistently reminded ourselves of the Puente mission.
This means not just translating documents and emails, but using the most effective tools to communicate with our clients. Most days we made dozens of phone calls and sent dozens of direct messages to let people know about upcoming grants and workshops, to check in with how they were doing and to make sure that they fulling understood new COVID-19 regulations. We designed webinars to inform and support, sought out experts in finance and marketing, built relationships with the City of Detroit, Chambers of Commerce, the State of Michigan, nonprofit leaders, professional service providers, banks and corporations, writing grants and raising sponsorship money so that we could provide all of our services – trilingual outreach, small business support services, and entrepreneurial training – for free to ANY entrepreneur who needs our help. So while we were not able to give as much face-to-face technical assistant as we had in previous years, we adapted in March to provide more than 3,500 one-on-one communications to business owners in 2020 for the SDBA, the West Vernor & Springwells Business Improvement District (BID), and the MI-Hispanic Contractors Association (MI-HCA.org). One of the unexpected surprises of the economic downturn, were the more than 35 aspiring entrepreneurs that we helped to start or form new businesses over the last year. We look forward to continuing to help the more than 300 businesses we’ve been supporting in 2020 to DEVELOP even further in 2021.