(HARLINGEN, TEXAS – Sept. 8, 2020) – The HELP for Small Business initiative that was first introduced in May, will stop taking applications on Sept. 30, 2020. The program opened in late Spring when the City of Harlingen and the Harlingen EDC recognized the need for help as the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the business community. That prompted the Harlingen EDC Board of Directors to set aside a $1,000,000 to fund HELP for Small Business.
The HEDC Board decided in a recent meeting that the program had successfully assisted many small businesses. HEDC will continue to help and will monitor those loan recipients for the next few years.
Since the launch of the zero-interest loan, the Harlingen EDC has helped more than 45 businesses and has lent out almost half a million dollars. Other applications are being processed and will increase the number and dollar value of the loans outstanding.
Many business owners who received the loan used the funds to keep staff on the payroll; or paid bills such as taxes and other fees; or improved marketing efforts; or restore business operations in order to remain open.
“HELP for Small Business was designed to reach those businesses that were most impacted by the pandemic, and we feel that we have accomplished that goal. We also know that people tend to act when a deadline is set, so if there are still small businesses that need help, they need to act now,” Raudel Garza stated, referring to the Sept. 30 application deadline.
“Our purpose is to get J&V’s back on its feet by getting caught up on our bills, start re-ordering merchandise from our[suppliers], and getting our employees back to work their regular hours.” Voila Garza, J&V’s Toys, Games, and More, owner said.
“We applied to so many different programs and didn’t hear from anyone, yet it was our beloved Harlingen that answered our prayers.”
Raudel Garza, who personally reached out to most of the loan recipients, said that in the process he and his staff had the opportunity to better connect with the small business community and helped the small business owners understand the HEDC resources available to them.
“We are confident that those business owners who needed assistance applied and received HELP funding, but we encourage more Harlingen business owners to take advantage while the program is still available,” Eric Ziehe, HEDC President, said.
“We really want to see all businesses in Harlingen succeed.”