Applications come from businesses experiencing a more than 25 percent economic loss during the current crisis versus last year’s revenue. The committee also evaluated the required documentation, including financial information, in order to make a fair decision.
In April the Harlingen EDC board set aside $1,000,000 to fund the loan program with a May 1 launch. The loan will be awarded in up to five rounds with the first round awarded this week.
“In the end, we hope to help at least 100 businesses,” said Harlingen EDC CEO Raudel Garza. “We went through the completed applications and selected nine business owners who met all the requirements and had submitted the proper documents.”
Business owners who applied provided narratives and shared their sudden economic hardships brought on by COVID-19. One applicant has credit cards, mortgage and insurance deferred for 90 days to stay afloat. Others wrote about not receiving any funding from the Small Business Administration, left waiting for assistance.
Round one, nine recipients
One small business owner who will receive funding is Melinda Mendoza, owner of First Class Nails.
“I am extremely happy that I was selected,” said Mendoza. “When he [Garza] called me to tell me, I was so happy. The process was very easy, and everyone has been so nice and helpful to work with and answer my questions.”
Garza has personally reached out to each of the nine selected loan recipients. The loan amounts range from $3,000 up to the maximum amount of $10,000.
As news begins to spread of HELP for Small Business, Garza encourages Harlingen business owners to visit the program website, and review the terms and required documents.
“To me, it’s a lot of help as far as getting back on track and I am really thankful to the City and EDC for this opportunity,” said Jaime Rodriguez, owner of Rodriguez Body Shop. “Anybody in my shoes should take advantage of this program – it’s not a hard process. I wasn’t even sure I’d get it, but I did, and thank you so much – this is going to help my business.”