For North Texas small businesses hit hard by the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, there's still financial relief available.
Dallas County recently opened the third round of the Emergency Business Assistance Program, which includes $35 million in coronavirus relief funding as provided by the CARES Act.
Data from the Better Business Bureau indicates that most businesses do not have liquidity to stay open for more than 60 days. Without a solution for the coronavirus crisis, businesses will continue to feel an impact on their sales.
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"We all know small businesses are the backbone of every economy, and every county and city," Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia said.
The entry period began Aug. 10 and runs through Aug. 23. It is open to businesses in the county, but not the city of Dallas, with no more than 100 employees and revenue under $10 million.
Garcia urged business owners to not give up and apply for the funds, and noted that more than 45% of applicants for assistance in previous rounds were women.
"Women are the ones who open the biggest amount of small businesses so we know there’s a need out there," Garcia said. "We are very encouraged that the word is getting out and we want everybody that qualifies as a small business to apply."
The loans are managed by the National Development Council, which is also helping to administer programs in area cities, including Dallas, Irving, McKinney and Frisco.
More information about the loans is available on the National Development Council website or by 214-845-7673.
Fort Worth received its own chunk of federal funding -- $158 million -- as part of the CARES Act. Millions of dollars from that disbursement went to rental and utility assistance, emergency response, testing and small business support, according to Laken Rapier, spokeswoman for the mayor and city council.
The city also worked with United Way of Tarrant County to distribute $10 million to small businesses through the Preserve the Fort initiative. As of Aug. 1, the first phase of the initiative provided about $6.1 million to 831 Fort Worth businesses, with $2.7 million going to minority-owned businesses.
Though applications have since closed for a number of other loan programs, the city is now working on a second wave of relief through Preserve the Fort, funding for which is expected to be formally approved Tuesday, Rapier said.
The next round for Preserve the Fort would provide up to $8.8 million in additional funding, which specific categories for nonprofit organizations, and bars and music venues that were closed by Gov. Greg Abbott's June 26 declaration.
The application window is expected to open in early September. Additional details about eligibility and the program will be available on the city's website.
Of the 1,398 total applications for the first round of Preserve the Fort, 197 were incomplete, 286 were ineligible and 81 were rejected, according to the city.
Fort Worth Now, a group of business and community leaders organized by Mayor Betsy Price to help small businesses recover, will be assisting to ensure applications are done correctly and money isn't left on the table.
Jarratt Watkins, director of Fort Worth Now, said to ensure CARES Act dollars are spent correctly, the city must ensure grant recipients have been financially harmed as a result of COVID-19. That means requiring that applicants provide a profit and loss statement.
"In our experience there's a lot of small businesses, a lot of restaurants that have never put one of these statements together before," Watkins said. "We're hoping to be able work with them and help them so that they can get that information put together. ... so the paperwork itself is not a barrier to receiving funds for those who are entitled to receive them."
Fort Worth Now plans to work with accounting volunteers, including students at Texas Christian University and practicing CPAs, to help small business owners put together a complete application.
More information about Fort Worth Now and the various programs and financial resources available for small businesses is available on the Fort Worth Now website.
Separate from Fort Worth, Tarrant County received its own CARES Act funding, which it has shared with cities that did not receive a federal disbursement.
The county intends to open a second round of small business assistance that could help some small businesses that may have felt left out.
County commissioners discussed on Tuesday plans for additional aid that would go to non-company-owned franchisees that meet the requirements. Details are still being finalized.