Nov. 12, 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected many businesses, but the hardest hit have undoubtedly been small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, according to Morgan Morrow, a 3L and clinic student for the Law Center’s Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic.
The clinic, directed by Clinical Associate Professor Christopher Heard, is largely run by law students and helps clients with a wide range of transactional business needs such as entity formation, contract drafting, buying and selling equities and assets, and connecting clients to legal knowledge and resources that can further aid them in developing their businesses or nonprofits.
“The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic has transitioned to virtual operations and remains fully available to help entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations during this tumultuous time,” Morrow said. “The clinic’s students, faculty, and staff are awed by our clients’ drive and persistence in the face of the many challenges created by COVID-19. We are proud to assist our clients along their entrepreneurial journey.”
Many of the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic’s clients have reported a significant decline in demand for their goods and services due to the economic effects of the pandemic. Morrow said that lack of access to capital has been a persistent issue faced by many entrepreneurs, especially those from low-income or under-resourced communities. Other issues that have affected small business owners are having to take care of sick family members, becoming ill themselves, lack of access to child care and housing insecurity.
However, these obstacles aren’t stopping clinic students from doing what they can to assist small business owners in the community.
The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic has partnered with the Emancipation Economic Development Council’s Third Ward Small Business Training Program, which helps participants create a solid foundation for their business by giving them the essential tools to implement their ideas or grow their existing business in the Historic Third Ward. Despite the headwinds caused by the pandemic, Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic students have formed eight new business entities for Third Ward Small Business Training Program graduates.
In addition, the clinic also partners with the SURETM Program at the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. The program’s mission is to provide an educational platform that facilitates a value-added partnership between UH students, industry experts, and entrepreneurs from under-resourced communities by offering free financial and business education, business consulting, and preparation for entrepreneurs to access capital. Each semester, students give educational presentations on business law topics to SURE TM Program entrepreneurs; despite the necessary cancellation of the spring in-person presentations due to the pandemic, the students quickly rose to the occasion to provide asynchronous training to entrepreneurs through the program.
The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic also helped to organize the Law Center’s continuing legal education webinar on COVID-19 and small businesses during the summer.
For more information on the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic click here or contact Professor Christopher Heard at email@example.com.