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Harlingen EDC Wants to Hear from the Harlingen Small Business Community; Releases New Survey


HARLINGEN, TEXAS - The Harlingen Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) has long been a champion of the Harlingen small business community. The HEDC hopes to continue assisting the small business community when possible and has released the Harlingen Small Business Survey to help identify needs within the business community. 

“As Harlingen continues to grow, we want to assist our small business community to succeed and meet the demands of a changing economy,” said Beverly Loftus, HEDC Interim Manager and CEO.

“We want to know where they are falling short and assist where we can, but first we need to hear from our business owners.” 

The HEDC currently offers programs and services to small businesses through partnerships with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and UTRGV’s Small Business Development Center. One specific program sponsored by the HEDC is UTRGV’s Kauffman FastTrac course, which gives entrepreneurs the tools to successfully launch and grow their businesses. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses were forced to shut down and lay employees off, the HEDC stepped up and offered a small business loan program, known as Harlingen Helps. The program helped more than 50 Harlingen businesses and lent nearly $500,000 to businesses that they used to pay fees, rent, payroll, supplies, and other business-related expenses. Max amount received per loan was $10,000. The loans were later forgiven and turned into grants.

More recently, the HEDC continues to support small businesses with new programs like the latest grant program, Revitalize Harlingen. This program provides financial assistance to eligible commercial businesses or property owners to utilize towards storefront improvement and renovation costs. As funds and opportunities are made available, the HEDC plans to continue to help Harlingen small businesses grow and wants to learn more about the needs of this thriving community. 

“We are mindful of the needs of our small business owners, and we want to provide the best assistance we possibly can, and have created the Harlingen Small Business Survey that we hope will give us some insight,” said Loftus.

The survey will help the HEDC with the future creation and planning of resources, programs, grants, and tools needed to serve the Harlingen small business community. The survey includes questions like what type of challenges are businesses facing, what type of training are they in need of or has taken, and if grant funds were available to them, how would they use them. 

“We encourage our small business owners to take this survey, it will allow us to help them as best as we possibly can,” said Eric Ziehe, HEDC Board President.

“As we attract new business, we also want to ensure that our local business community is strong and successful.”