The HELP for Small Business initiative continues to take applications until Sept. 30. The program began in late spring with the City of Harlingen and the Harlingen EDC recognizing 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 $1,000,000 to fund HELP for Small Business.
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, more than 45 businesses have benefited from almost half a million dollars. Other applications in the application process will increase the number and dollar value of the loans outstanding.
Many business owners receiving the loan use the funds for payroll or pay bills, taxes and other fees. They also use the funds to improve marketing efforts or restore business operations in order to remain open.
HELP Where Help is Needed
“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 states, 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,” says Voila Garza, owner of J&V’s Toys, Games. “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 says that he and his staff had the opportunity to better connect with the small business community. In turn, they have also 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,” said HEDC President Eric Ziehe. “We really want to see all businesses in Harlingen succeed.”