Lisa Marie Barocas
Caitlin Cowart, O. 210-207-3996
SAN ANTONIO — (Aug. 1, 2022) – Starting today, the application for the new City of San Antonio COVID Impact Grants Program is now open for small businesses still being impacted by the ongoing pandemic. Eligible businesses can apply for grants that range from $15,000 to $35,000, plus an additional $10,000 construction impact supplement for those who qualify. The deadline to apply for the grant is 5 pm on Monday, August 22.
Interested small businesses can register for the upcoming information session, this Wednesday, August 3 at 2 pm. The virtual session will be held in English, Spanish and Arabic and will cover who qualifies, how to apply, and how local community organizations can help businesses complete their application free-of-charge. A recording of the last session can be found on Liftfund’s Official Youtube Channel aswell a Spanish Presentation.
The $17 million program is funded by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars allocated by the City of San Antonio, and administered by local small business advocate and non-profit lender, LiftFund.
“These past two years have been a challenge for many of our small businesses, which have suffered revenue losses, supply shortages, rising costs and the loss of staff, making it difficult to keep up with monthly bills and expenses,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg . ”Through ARPA funding, we will support San Antonio’s small businesses as they work to recover from the pandemic and also strengthen our small business community and economy as a whole.”
Local organizations joining the effort to provide outreach and technical assistance include Centro San Antonio, Culturingua, Maestro Entrepreneur Center, Prosper West, SAGE (San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside), Southside First Economic Development Council and the LiftFund Women’s Business Center. Applicants can contact them for free assistance in completing their application. They will also be hosting their own information events that the public is welcome to attend.
The City of San Antonio and local community organizations along with LiftFund, have been working hard to provide support to small business owners. Funding and resources are imperative as business owners are still struggling to find stability among the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.
“The first phase of our Small Business ARPA Implementation Plan will provide immediate relief through the $17 million COVID Impact Grants Program and will be followed by a second phase of strategic investments to support long-term resiliency for our small businesses,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “Thank you to LiftFund and all of our community partners for recognizing the importance of collaboration as we work to get funding to our hardest-hit businesses as soon as possible.”
LiftFund, a local non-profit lender and economic first-responder, is partnering with the City once again to disburse the much-needed funding. Janie Barrera, LiftFund’s Founder, and her team have seen firsthand the challenges small businesses have faced and the kind of impact funding can have.
“This grant program is a key component to helping businesses stay open, to stabilize and thrive. We are thrilled to be able to provide this support to small business owners and to work together with the City of San Antonio,” said Ms. Barrera.
Since the start of the pandemic, LiftFund has partnered with the City of San Antonio to provide more than $42 million in grant funding to small businesses. For businesses that may not qualify, LiftFund offers a variety of other funding options, such as the City of San Antonio Zero Percent Interest Program and free business counseling.
On February 3, 2022, City Council approved the spending framework for Local Fiscal Recovery Funds received by the City of San Antonio under ARPA. This framework included $30.95 million for small businesses. On June 23, 2022 City Council approved an Implementation Plan that was developed based on extensive community input, direction from the Economic and Workforce Development Committee (EWDC) and recommendations by the Small Business Advisory Commission (SBAC). The Plan includes two phases. The first phase provides short-term relief through $17 million in direct grants to small businesses hardest hit by the pandemic. The second phase invests funds to provide small businesses with access to flexible capital funds, programs to help businesses strengthen their web and business capabilities, fosters a coordinated small business safety net, promotes purchasing of local goods and services, and supports the creation of vibrant small business corridors.