City of Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, SCORE Saint Paul and Community Partners Launch New Pay It Forward Program With Call For Volunteers to Serve as Business Mentors

May 14, 2020

Peter Leggett

Saint Paul, MN – Today, the City of Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, SCORE Saint Paul, African Economic Development Solutions, Hmong American Partnership, Latino Economic Development Center, Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers, and Neighborhood Development Center launched a new program called Pay It Forward. The program will connect business and financial professionals with Saint Paul and East Metro small business owners who are seeking assistance in navigating COVID-19 grant and loan relief opportunities.  

“This is a moment of unprecedented challenges for workers and business owners in our community,” said Mayor Carter. “Pay It Forward presents a unique opportunity to help each other out and get through this crisis the only way we can - together.”

“All of us have a role to play in helping our community emerge stronger from this public health and economic crisis,” said Saint Paul City Council Member Rebecca Noecker. “Pay It Forward gives our financial professionals an opportunity to help small businesses in a way that will last far beyond the current emergency.” 

“Pay It Forward is a call to those who have the ability to be ‘Economic First Responders’ to mentor small businesses secure state and federal relief funds. There is no better time than now to serve and become a mentor,” urged Saint Paul Council Member Dai Thao. “Our city needs you.”  

“Business growth and success are vital to our economy and the smaller companies in our region not only employ many people but play an important role in building strong communities,” said Channon Lemon, vice president of economic development, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber is pleased to be part of this partnership to ensure resources get to those who need it the most.” 

“SCORE St. Paul is delighted to be working with the City of Saint Paul and the other development partners to support and build on the tremendous strength of our business community,” said Harry Miller of SCORE. “The vibrance of Saint Paul, driven by small business, is important to our team and we have a healthy infrastructure in place supporting this effort. This includes free business mentoring and a wide range of business learning and development tools.” 

Pay it Forward Business Mentor volunteers are community members with business and financial expertise who are matched through SCORE St. Paul to help support local small business owners in need of assistance to navigate COVID-19 grant and loan relief opportunities.  

Pay It Forward is currently looking for a diverse group of experienced volunteers to serve as business mentors. Based on skills, availability, and language abilities, volunteers will be screened and trained by a SCORE advisor and/or community partners and then matched with local business owners to assist with their specific needs. To ensure all businesses in our community can access this new program, community members who can speak Hmong, Somali, Oromo, Spanish and Karen are strongly encouraged to apply.  Interested community members can apply to serve as a Business Mentor at

Pay It Forward Business Mentor program helps businesses navigate COVID-19 grant and loan relief opportunities at no cost. Interested Saint Paul and East Metro businesses can learn more and apply at