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In recognition of National Volunteer Month in April, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership is saluting individuals who give their time, talent and expertise to help entrepreneurs survive, recover and grow after the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Volunteers have answered the call to help small businesses and entrepreneurs, many of whom have faced monumental barriers and difficulties,” said Jill Johnson, CEO of IFEL, a nonprofit that advocates for inclusive economic success through entrepreneurship. “Their willingness to commit time and provide expertise has served as both a lifeline and springboard for small businesses while helping to open doors for those with the potential to grow and prosper.”

IFEL engages business professionals in skills-based volunteerism to provide high-touch, hands-on support to business owners. This personalized interaction makes a significant impact and enables entrepreneurs to overcome some of their biggest business hurdles.

As more business owners turn to IFEL for assistance, the organization is enlisting business professionals to volunteer their skills to provide support for business owners through two-hour virtual sessions known as “hackathons.” Volunteers share their expertise on topics such as digital marketing and financial projections and they receive templates and onboarding support which minimizes upfront planning time.

Volunteers are also encouraged to participate in Women of Color Connecting, an innovative model designed to put high-growth potential women of color on the grow-scale-exit trajectory to building wealth through entrepreneurship.

Last year, over 635 volunteers provided more than 1,300 hours of assistance through Small Businesses Need Us, an IFEL-powered program started in 2020 to assist small, pandemic-affected businesses. Success Circles entrepreneurs participating in IFEL’s Women of Color Connecting initiative received free capacity-building services with an average value of $46,000 each.

The Small Businesses Need Us initiative is supported in part by a generous grant from Verizon. To learn more about volunteer opportunities or to sign up as a volunteer, visit https://www.weareifel.org/volunteernow.