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BCIC, City of Brownsville Announce Half-Million Dollar Grant Award byHUD for Brownsville Businesses

Brownsville, Texas - Through the StartUp Texas program, the Brownsville Community

Improvement Corporation (BCIC) and the City of Brownsville’s Planning and Redevelopment

Department are partnering to launch the Brownsville (Re)Open for Business Forgivable Loan

Program. The zero percent forgivable loan program is designed to provide financial relief

needed to strengthen local small business enterprises that are enduring hardship during the

COVID-19 pandemic.

On August 4th, the Brownsville City Commission approved $500,000 through the Community

Development Block Grant program to be included with of funding from $450,000 the BCIC to provide small businesses in Brownsville forgivable micro loans up to $10,000.

“Our small businesses in Brownsville are one of the things that makes our City so unique, and we know they have been hit hard during this unprecedented time,” says Cori Peña, BCIC Director of Community Development, “these forgivable loans are a crucial step towards helping our small businesses recover from the COVID-19 crisis.”

Businesses may be eligible if they have an established physical address in the city of

Brownsville, are current with city and county property taxes, and can provide evidence of a

25% or more revenue loss since the March 2020. The loan program is targeting businesses

and non-profits with fifteen (15) employees or less and microenterprise that have fewer than

5 employees with an owner that is earning low to moderate income that are seeing a reduction in revenue as a result of ongoing social distancing efforts to retain jobs and stabilize the local business economy.

“Since we started our StartUp Texas COVID-19 Relief Grants, we have seen businesses fall through the cracks within the federal and state programs currently available,” says Josh Mejia, BCIC Executive Director.

“It’s been very difficult and frustrating for a lot of our small businesses to access capital. Our new program has been carefully crafted using an equity lens so that the bulk of the resources will go to businesses in our community that need help the most.”

The Brownsville (Re)Open for Business Forgivable Loan Program will provide up to $5,000.00

for micro businesses and up to $10,000 for small businesses to assist in payroll, inventory

and working capital. It is also intended to support businesses that want to open new lines of

business in response to the crisis, such as manufacturing medical supplies needed to

respond to the disease or provide cleaning or in-home health services.

“We are proud to join our resources and expertise with the BCIC to help our most vulnerable

businesses navigate these trying times,” says Noel Bernal, Brownsville City Manager. “Our

small business community is resilient and innovative, and supporting them will be necessary

for the recovery ahead.”

Since March, the City of Brownsville and BCIC have been providing business education

programming, mentoring, peer support, COVID-19 grants and more for the community. In that time, the BCIC has assisted in preserving 1,518 at-risk employees and obtaining over

$9.6 million in relief funds invested in the community.

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