While the USA struggles with the closure of many businesses, some entrepreneurs are taking a bold stand to make a difference. Building on the principles of ethical and moral responsibility, four entrepreneurs are determined to use their businesses to help the community and first responders.

Rahim Maknojia, owner of Oaks Cleaner in Houston, offered assistance to those on the frontlines of the fight against this pandemic. Oaks Cleaner is providing free pickup and drop-off service for scrubs to be cleaned for doctors, nurses, Emergency Management Technicians (EMTs), and other medical staff.

“It’s our duty to recognize their selflessness and desire to protect others while risking their own health to safeguard our society,” Rahim said.

In accordance with CDC guidelines, medical garments are being cleaned between 248 F to 302 F to ensure proper disinfection.

Azim Maknojia was approached by Naushad Kermally, a member of the Sugar Land city council, to help support the community. As a partner of Ionized LLC, he responded immediately, acknowledging, “While this is not a primary area of activity for us, we realized that we can use our supply chain and logistical infrastructure to provide critical assistance in getting important supplies needed to address this challenge.”

Through their business ties in China, Ionized LLC has been able to work with Sugar Land fire marshals, Fort Bend County, officials of Houston’s Harris County, Chicago, New York, and Colorado, to supply critically-needed face shields, face masks, thermometers, surgical masks, and gowns.

“Businesses, like many other sectors of the society, have an important role to play in this globalized environment to connect resources with those keeping our communities safe and healthy,” Azim said.

Another entrepreneur stepping up is from Texas A&M University in College Station, offering comfort food to overworked and stressed officials. Sanif Maredia graduated in 2011 but cooking has been a passion for him, mixing sweet with savory. Fried chicken is one of his signature dishes. Faced with challenges in life when everything felt out of place, he started a truck-based food business and called it “MESS Waffles, Etc.,” in 2014.

In 2017, Sanif decided to launch MESS as a brick and mortar business. He has remained open during the pandemic, serving hundreds of complimentary breakfasts to local officials, and is expecting to serve several hundred more to medical professionals to express gratitude for their service to the community.

“During these difficult times, school meal programs have been put on hold, first responders are being overworked, and resources are scarce,” Sanif said. “As businesses around us are closing down, we decided to stay open and keep our staff on board. Everyone has a passion in life and when you can combine it with service to others, it will provide a unique sense of pride and joy.”

Chicago has its own story of entrepreneurial heroism. In the wake of the governor’s stay-at-home policy to tackle COVID-19, business-owner Rafiq Karimi of CD One Price Cleaners offers free laundry services for police, EMT, and healthcare workers, allowing them to grab some well-deserved rest while their clothes are cleaned.

Rafiq described his service as “Giving back to our community while allowing our healthcare workers and first responders to remain focused on health and wellbeing.”

He said their goal is to do laundry for at least 1,000 healthcare workers and first responders and he is confident they will achieve their goal.