June 29, 2021 – El Paso County continues its commitment to the long-term recovery of local small businesses and nonprofits with the allocation of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act funds for the second round of Regional Business Relief Fund grants. The Regional Business Relief Fund will provide tangible assistance to local businesses and nonprofits as they transition from relief to recovery. The Fund will be facilitated by the county’s Department of Economic Development, in partnership with Colorado Enterprise (CEF), a certified CDFI and nationally recognized SBA non-profit lender.
“Small businesses across El Paso County, both for-profit and non-profit, experienced unprecedented challenges and disruptions from the pandemic, said Stan VanderWerf, El Paso County Board Chair. “Our Regional Business Relief Fund grants will help these companies and our unemployment numbers return to their pre-COVID levels. Thriving small businesses and job opportunities are crucial for full economic recovery in our region. Funding programs that achieve these goals are the right thing to do.”
The funds under the El Paso County Regional Business Relief Fund program will be administered through a competitive grant application process. Recipients will be awarded a grant rather than a loan and will not have to pay the funds back. El Paso County businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees can apply to receive a grant of up to $20,000, which can be used to pay for expenses and economic hardship due to COVID-19. The funds can be used to cover costs such as rent and mortgage, utilities, employee payroll, accounts payable, other fixed debt, personal protection equipment, and marketing costs associated with business recovery. Funds cannot be used for taxes or tax debt.
The application process will open on June 29, 2021, at 8:00 AM and will remain open through July 16, 2021, at 5:00 PM. Applications can be submitted online via the CEF website https://coloradoenterprisefund.org/epcregionalbusinessrelieffund. Applicants can find information on eligibility requirements, as well as comprehensive list of FAQs and other information on the El Paso County Regional Business Relief Fund on the website link above.
Additionally, El Paso County Economic Development and CEF are excited to partner with the Pikes Peak Workforce Center and Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center to offer additional business support programming to our community. This includes an upcoming, free, in-person technical assistance opportunity with the SBDC on Thursday, July 8 from 9 – 6 p.m. at Pikes Peak Community College – Rampart Campus. More information on this in-person opportunity can be found here: https://bit.ly/RBRFRound2Workshop. Registration is encouraged for this event, however walk-ins are welcome.
About Pikes Peak Workforce Center
The Pikes Peak Workforce Center is an American Job Center – serving El Paso and Teller counties – that connects vital businesses with work-ready job seekers and employer-driven services. We provide no-cost job seeker services, including résumé assistance and interview training.
Clients range from entry-level to professional: We serve youth, adults, people returning to the workforce, and those with barriers to employment. Veterans receive priority service.
In support of regional businesses, we host tailored, no-cost recruitment and hiring events, including candidate sourcing, pre-employment assessments, and searchable candidate profiles. Learn more at PPWFC.org.
About the Pikes Peak SBDC
The Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is dedicated to helping existing and new businesses grow and prosper in the Pikes Peak Region by providing free and confidential consulting, no- or low-cost training programs and resources. The SBDC has a team of business experts ready to help you create and retain jobs, secure loans, increase sales, win government contracts, obtain certifications and more.
The SBDC combines information and resources from federal, state, and local governments with those of the education system and private sector to meet the specialized and complex needs of the small business community. Consulting experts work in partnership to provide entrepreneurs with crucial information that can mean the difference between success and failure.
The Pikes Peak SBDC is hosted by El Paso County Economic Development and sponsored by the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Utilities, Ent Business Banking, Park State Bank and Trust, Vectra Bank, and the Small Business Administration. Learn more at pikespeaksbdc.org.
About Colorado Enterprise Fund
Founded in1976, Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) provides loans up to $1 million to finance small businesses and startups unable to obtain funding through traditional banks. CEF has disbursed $123 million in startup and growth capital to more than 3,600 businesses and created or retained more than 27,500 jobs in the state. A nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CEF is based in Denver with lending and business advisory services available statewide. For more information, visit www.coloradoenterprisefund.org.