By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area
Chamber of Commerce
Not all businesses got to take advantage of federal or state funding that was offered at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. These funding opportunities included the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), community grants, Small Business Association loans, philanthropic organizations and more.
Many businesses or nonprofit organizations did not take advantage of the opportunities because, at the time, they didn’t need assistance, they didn’t qualify for the program or they thought the crisis would be over sooner than it has.
On Monday, Aug. 31, the Energize Colorado grant/loan program was released. This is a combination program of grant funds and loan funds. Sole proprietors, businesses and some nonprofits can apply for the funds. What makes this funding opportunity different? These funds are for businesses whose business was impacted by the pandemic during the months of March to the present, have less than 25 full-time employees and for nonprofits whose mission or programs directly support economic development, tourism or small businesses. Preference will be given to those organizations that have not received any funding and are minority-owned, veteran, women-owned businesses.
The program is unique in that it combines grant and loan funds. Applicants can apply for up to $15,000 in grant funds and up to $20,000 in loan funds for a total of $35,000. The funding is not on a first-come, first-served basis, but on a competitive process. The loan repayment terms are some of the best out there. The first four months the interest rate is deferred; 5-12 months the interest rate is 1 percent; and after 12 months 1.5 percent. There is also no prepayment penalty. You will need to prove the need for the assistance through loss of funds, jobs, reduction of staff, etc. This proof of need can be done through bank statements, P&L statements, receipts, tax filings, etc. While preference is for those who have not received funding, those who have applied for PPP or EIDL funds can apply again. However, these new funds must go to a new expense or loss that now needs coverage.
Again, if you are a business in the tourism-related arena, this may be a fabulous opportunity for you to apply for much-needed assistance funds. There are several financial institutions offering assistance with this program. In the drop-down menu on the application, it will ask for a financial partner. Two organizations in our area participating are the Region 9 Economic Development District and the 1st Southwest Community Fund.
Should you need assistance answering questions or need direction on the process, the financial assistance partners can help you, as well as the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center. We hope some local businesses will apply and receive assistance through this new program.