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New program helps Nashville businesses and entrepreneurs survive the pandemic

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Posted at 11:15 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 00:15:38-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — As businesses continue to struggle to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic, federal dollars are trying to help many here in Nashville survive through a new partnership.

Renew Nashville is a citywide initiative addressing the significant challenges facing entrepreneurs and small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Five local nonprofits, Conexión Américas, Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Business Incubation Center, and Pathway Lending are working together to offer programs and resources to help increase their rate of survival.

It's a program Kevin Bazile says he is glad he joined.

Owning a fitness studio was never the end goal for Bazile; he wanted to play professional football but those dreams were cut short.

But now 80/20 fitness is his passion. Bazile says in all four years of being in business 2020 has been his biggest challenge.

"When clients started to drop it was just whoa, this is serious," said Bazile, "I really haven’t experienced anything like this before and I was thinking about bills that have to be paid, I have a wife and it was just like wow."

He was losing clients when guidelines closed his shop and he feared the worst.
But he says help was on the way and it was called Renew Nashville.

"Renew Nashville has really been giving us a lot of tools, really working on systems because I wasn’t big into systems but systems run the business," he said, "I think having that safe space to go and talk to other entrepreneurs, get help, systems and stuff like that; that would definitely be a lot of help."

Bazile got all this through a partnership with a nonprofit and small business advocacy organization, The Entrepreneur Center.

"We’re in a position to be able to help at least 500 entrepreneurs, small businesses locally and connect them to resources that can help them get through this," said CEO Jane Allen.

With funding from the CARES ACT and assistance from the Metro government, the Entrepreneur Center and the other local business organizations are offering work leaders opportunities to talk to financial experts, peers, and take classes on using virtual technology and modeling to keep them surviving. It won't cost entrepreneurs anything.

"It’s truly vital to this community, we really appreciate the opportunity to partner with the other nonprofits to be able to lift together so that hopefully we all rise," said Allen.

Bazile says with this help, he knows he'll be around for years to come.

If you need assistance organizations with Renew Nashville says you should to sign up now.