This column originally ran in the San Marcos Daily Record on August 19, 2020.
Retaining and expanding businesses of all sizes in Hays and Caldwell Counties is an effective tool used by the Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) to help grow our region’s economy. Now more than ever though, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, retaining and assisting small business is essential to reach a full economic recovery.
Small business makes up approximately 99.7% of our country’s employer firms, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Small businesses also make up a significant number of employers in the Greater San Marcos region. They provide a strong economic engine enhancing the local tax base, as well as keeping dollars circulated in our economy.
Keeping these small businesses financially stable is a critical part of COVID-19 economic recovery. Our economic development partners in communities across our two-county footprint have recognized this reality and have responded by providing a number of financial resources for those small businesses.
For example, as part of a county-wide collaboration, the Emergency Cash Assistance Program (ECAP) grant fund will deploy $600,000 in grants to local businesses in Hays County. Applications are being accepted now, with all the details available at HaysCountyECAP.com. This free financial resource, which was developed by the Hays County Commissioners Court, and supported by the financial institution PeopleFund, GSMP, and the City of Kyle, who contributed $100,000 to the grant fund.
Other grant funds have also been established throughout the region. In San Marcos through the Revive SMTX program, businesses can apply for up to $5,000 to help pay for operation safety, training, PPE and other business needs. In Buda, the #StillBudaful Small Business Loan Program is offering interest-free loans of up to $10,000 that can be forgiven under qualifying circumstances.
In the City of Dripping Springs, the COVID-19 Disaster Relief Program for Businesses has waived wastewater fees for commercial properties, discounted permits & inspections and removed sign permits in an effort to sustain business endeavors.
In Caldwell County, the Luling Economic Development Corporation Grant Assistance Program offered grants of $3,000. The Lockhart Chamber of Commerce and Caldwell County Community Services Foundation Business Grant Assistance Program is offering $2,500 grants for qualifying small businesses.
Lastly, our partners at Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area (WSRCA) have been busy as well to help assist the entirety of Hays and Caldwell Counties with the Skills Development Fund program. The program finances the design and implementation of customized job-training projects, which allows local businesses to train staff and improve our workforce.
We must do all we can to support small businesses during this challenging time. Our region will only benefit from their continued operation, resulting in the retention and creation of jobs and better economic opportunities for our residents. Keeping those businesses intact is essential for an economic recovery from COVID-19.
If you have any questions about how one of our region’s grant programs can assist your business, I will be happy to answer them. Tweet me at @JasonGiulietti or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.