Harvard Business School Students Lead Effort; Mac Warner, WV SOS, announces MBA students to offer free small business assistance with disaster relief funding

Charleston, W. Va. – The federal government is offering a number of programs to help small business owners and non-profits survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, in a unique partnership with the Harvard Business School, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner announces free consulting services to help small business owners navigate through the application and planning process.

    “MBA’s Fight COVID-19” was established to support and stabilize the small business community throughout the country by matching each business with a graduate-level student who will offer support and advice pro bono. To learn more about the effort, visit

    Students are from major university programs, including Harvard Business School, Wharton, Kellogg, Georgetown, Boston University, Duke, and Yale. The team organized the effort to help business owners learn more about payroll and loan programs established by Congress. They are also providing technical assistance to help entrepreneurs complete the application process for funding.

    According to Warner, the MBA team is expanding and includes graduate students from across the country. Last week, leaders of the initiative announced that MBA students from West Virginia University and Marshall University were also joining the effort.

    Initially, the MBA team is assisting business owners with applications relating to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). One of the challenges the MBA team wants to help business owners overcome is how to turn the loans into grants.

    “Whether it is helping analyze and assess the cash needs of an individual business or providing strategic support to maintain and grow a business during these uncertain times, this team of dynamic students is here to help West Virginia businesses,” Warner said.

    Warner said the MBA team can also connect business owners with the people, tools, and resources needed to help them make decisions. Services are offered at no cost to the entrepreneur.

    The last day to apply for the PPP and EIDL programs is June 30. The MBA team will accept new business owner applications through June 26. Any business owner who completes the survey on the team’s website should expect a return phone call within two days or less.