By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
As the COVID-19 pandemic grows, so does the uncertainty surrounding it.
Palisadian Nina Madok, with help from Trevor Shickman and other volunteers in the community, hope to ease some of that uncertainty for small businesses with the recently launched PaliBiz website.
“The purpose of this website is to provide a landing place for our local small businesses to help them better navigate the challenges they face dealing with the COVID-19 virus,” according to the PaliBiz mission statement.
The website includes an array of resources that can be used for combating issues that are arising, including communicating with landlords, insurance carriers and banks. There are links to websites and documents, as well as contact information for professionals who are available to help.
PaliBiz can be used by businesses across Los Angeles, though there will be information specific to the Palisades, including a list of restaurants and businesses.
“Somebody needed to step up and do something,” Madok explained about why she started to assemble the information, which came together in a matter of days in a document before the website went live. “I was doing some research to try to help a neighbor, and I was having a hard time finding COVID-19 resources all in one place.”
She found Shickman, who works with the Small Business Development Center organization, through a post on Nextdoor when she inquired to find an expert in Small Business Administration loans. SBDC typically works on-the-ground with small businesses when there is a demand, providing no-cost business advising and low-cost training to existing and new businesses.
“We’ve been called to action these past couple of weeks,” Shickman explained of the work he’s been doing since the crisis began. “I’ve put 50 to 60 hours per week in on this when that’s probably what I would do in a year.”
PaliBiz offers information for relief programs and loans available under the CARES Act, including Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Paycheck Protection Program Loans.
“People are scared,” Shickman said. “Their life’s work is evaporating in a couple of hours, the information they’re getting is confusing and hard to deal with, and most people don’t have any skill in this area.”
In order to reach a wide audience, Shickman is also hosting Zoom meetings—with a recent meeting virtually attended by more than 50 people.
The two explained that the website will be updated in the future with additional resources, and Madok shared she hopes to compile an email list so that subscribers can quickly be updated as they go live.
Madok and Shickman are also working on recruiting other members of the community who are willing to answer questions and assist, including accounting firms and people who can help when it comes time for businesses to apply for loan forgiveness.
“This is really a labor of love for our local businesses,” Madok concluded. “The mission statement is very clear: We love our businesses, we want them to survive this.”
For more information, visit palibiz.com. Contact Madok at email@example.com or Shickman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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