DENVER (CBS4) – The pandemic remains a heavy burden for many Colorado businesses, but the application process is now open for a new effort to help put much-needed owner money into the hands of small business owners.
The Energize Colorado Gap Fund will provide more than $ 25 million in loans and grants to Colorado small businesses that have been unable to access other loan programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program.
To achieve this, the program will prioritize businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans and rural businesses with 25 or fewer employees, as well as non-profit organizations with missions and programs. directly support small businesses, tourism and economic development.
“It’s been a challenge to be able to go through and access the capital, that’s why this fund was created, to be able to go through and give a temporary boost,” said Mike Ferrufino, also a member of the Energize Colorado committee. as President and CEO of the Colorado Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Energize Colorado began accepting applications at 6 a.m. Monday, and by 12:30 p.m., more than 400 had been submitted and 1,400 were underway, Ferrufino said at a press conference.
One of those candidates was Fabiola Castillo, owner of FC Accounting and Tax Services, LLC. She tells CBS4 that she had no luck getting a loan through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program in early summer.
“I have to pay the same bills for rent, utilities and employees,” Castillo said.
In addition to filling out his own request, Castillo has also called some of his clients who have financial needs. One of those people was Jesus Raudales, who owns Carniceria Chihua and said business has fallen by about 50% since the start of the pandemic.
“We applied for three to four different programs and everyone rejected our application,” Raudales said. “Right now we’re at a point where we may have to shut down. “
Of the $ 25 million available in the fund, $ 20 million comes from the CARES Act. The additional $ 5 million, which was raised by Energize Colorado.
Sole proprietors, businesses and nonprofits with less than 25 full-time employees can apply for a grant of up to $ 15,000 and a loan of $ 20,000 for a possible combined total of $ 35,000 in assistance. financial.
“This is basically a much needed move to get capital via a grant that doesn’t have to be repaid and a loan with a very low interest rate,” Ferrufino said.
While the program will prioritize businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans and rural businesses, $ 5 million will be earmarked for the tourism sector until October 1.
“It was a double whammy,” said Rep. Perry Will (R – New Castle). “The pandemic, the interstate closure and closure; these businesses are in real trouble, and our tourism businesses are in particular trouble. “
With five funding rounds ahead, Fabiola Castillo will continue to urge all of her struggling clients to apply.
“I am delighted because our community can fit into this space because it has been excluded from the other funds,” Castillo said.
Some like Jesus Rauldales can no longer afford to be excluded.
“If we get it, we can survive a little longer to see when the pandemic ends,” he said.
Since the program is priority based and not first come, first served, there is no need to rush your application. You can find the app and more information about the Spread Fund at its website.