Pandemic recovery program has helped save 200 small businesses, 540 jobs Waco officials say

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 10:33 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - COVID-19 has caused many small businesses around the state to close, however, at least 200 of them in the Waco area were saved with the help of the city’s Small Business Recovery Fund Program, officials say.

During Tuesday’s city council meeting workshop, city staff reported, from May through August, 208 small businesses impacted by the pandemic applied for and received up to $5,000 in relief.

“I think that says a lot--the ingenuity and the ability, and just the heart that our city staff has to help the citizens of our city,” said councilman Darius Ewing.

Of the businesses which received relief, and the majority were minority and/or women-owned.

“Let me speak specifically to our businesses of color and women-owned businesses who may or may not have been approved for PPP or EIDL funds that were able to get some assistance in an effort to go forth in this recovery because this grant program was stood up is phenomenal,” said Mayor Pro Tem Andrea Barefield.

Barefield applauded city staff for getting the program up and running within weeks.

“Just moving it fast and furious was greatly appreciated by our business community,” she said. “In this pandemic, it allowed us all to come together and work together.”

Funded by the Waco McLennan County Economic Development Corporation (WMCEDC) and the City of Waco’s Community Development Block (CDBG) CARES Act, city staff said the program helped save more than 540 jobs.

“The fact that we helped 200 businesses stay open and 541 jobs be retained is just something that I think we will look back on with pride as something really good that came out of our response to COVID,” said Mayor Kyle Deaver.

WMCEDC provided $414,585 in funding, the CDBG CARES Act grant provided $414,415 for a total of $830,000.

Not all of it was used: there’s still about $250,000 left over.

City officials haven’t decided what to do with the remaining funds.

“This was a great program,” said councilman John Kinnaird. “I think it’s paved the way for hopefully some really great things down the road in terms of small business support.”

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