The City of Harlingen and the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation have established the Harlingen’s Emergency Loan Program (HELP) for Small Business with $1,000,000. The HEDC will provide the emergency loans at zero interest to qualified businesses. Repayment of the loans will then start a year after fund disbursement.
“Our business community is so interconnected and when businesses are hurting, it impacts others as well,” says HEDC President Mickey Boland. “The decision to approve this program wasn’t a difficult choice to make. Business owners have dedicated their time and lives to providing a service to us, our community, and they are hurting. HELP can give them the assistance they need right now.”
Business owners may begin applying for HELP as of the projected date of May 1. Application will be available at harlingenedc.com. There will be a five-round process. The initial $200,000 will go to 20 or more applicants depending on their needs or other factors. Four additional loan awards will then come every two weeks.
In March, the Harlingen EDC conducted an Economic Impact Survey for Harlingen business owners. The initial responses shows that the business community was struggling.
“After reviewing the responses and personally reaching out to those who took the survey, we knew we had to do something,” said HEDC CEO Raudel Garza. “Our number one priority has always been to grow and sustain our business community. We hope that HELP does just that, help those small business owners who need it most.”
Applicants may receive up to $10,000 and in order to qualify for the HELP loan they must have the following:
1. Have applied for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan with the Small Business Administration or a Paycheck Protection Program through a local lender and been rejected, didn’t take the loan and provide additional information.
2. Show a loss of revenues greater than 25 percent during the COVID-19 crisis period versus last year. If a new business, the owner must provide evidence of extreme hardship.
3. Have less than 25 employees in Harlingen.
4. Commit to keeping their business in Harlingen.
“I am very glad that our Economic Development Corporation is financially positioned to offer this help to our local small businesses,” said Mayor Chris Boswell. “This is robust investment in our community, and I thank our EDC Board’s leadership in bringing this program to our small businesses.”