Students in California State University, Northridge’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics are offering assistance to San Fernando Valley-based small businesses dealing with the economic fallout of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Top undergraduate and MBA students — members of the Nazarian College Small Business Consulting Program — will be forming teams to address specific challenges caused by temporary closures and other restrictive measures taken by government and public health officials as they struggled to curtail the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus.
“The idea is to give small San Fernando Valley businesses access to the brain trust that exists in the Nazarian College — from our extremely talented and hardworking students to the vast knowledge of our faculty — to help businesses find solutions to problems none of us could have anticipated a year ago,” said marketing professor Kristen Walker, director of the program.
“The goal of the program always has been to help local businesses develop plans for their success,” Walker said. “In the light of the decimation of small businesses by the COVID-19 pandemic, we realized that we need to focus our resources for the coming year on helping the businesses in the Valley overcome whatever challenges they are facing and get them back on the path to success.”
To do that, Walker said, the program is increasing the number of students and faculty it can tap to provide help to business owners. The Wells Fargo Foundation has awarded the program $50,000 to support the consulting program’s efforts.
“At Wells Fargo, we realize that supporting our small business community is more critical now than ever.” said Jack Olree, Community Relations VP at Wells Fargo. “We are excited to collaborate with CSUN and their Nazarian College of Business & Economics in helping facilitate resources and valuable counseling that both their students and faculty can provide to small businesses during the pandemic to get them and the region’s economy back on track.”
Businesses interested in using the program’s services should visit its website. Students will start working with clients next month.
Small business clients must have at least two years of financial statements to share with the student consultants and an annual revenue of at least $100,000. The students and faculty reserve the right to take on clients who have a lower revenue threshold if they believe the students and the small businesses can benefit from the partnership.
Student teams will meet virtually with their clients to discuss client goals, financial statements and determine the scope of work. Following the initial intake interview, students will delve into the challenges identified by the business owner and work to find solutions.
“Many of the student consultants, particularly those in the MBA program who are also business professionals, have first-hand experience with the challenges small businesses face,” Walker said. “This has never been more true than during the COVID-19 crisis, as students are working with their employers and families to save their livelihoods.”
For more information about the program, visit the website https://www.csun.edu/nazarianconsult.