El Paso County awards $10,381,441 to small businesses and nonprofits

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EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — El Paso County’s Economic Development Department awarded $10,381,441 in grants to 627 local small businesses and nonprofits as part of the second round of El Paso County Regional Business Relief Fund grants.

According to the department, the program was initiated to provide assistance to local businesses and nonprofits as they transition from COVID-19 relief to recovery.

All total, El Paso County Board of County Commissioners allocated $10,381,441 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the Regional Business Relief Fund program, facilitated by the county’s Economic Development Department, in partnership with Colorado Enterprise Fund, a nonprofit lender certified CDFI and nationally recognized SBA microlender.

Applications for the Regional Business Relief Fund were collected, analyzed, and scored by Colorado Enterprise Fund, with final evaluation and grant award decisions made by El Paso County’s Economic Development Oversight Committee.

Among the 627 businesses that received grants, 525 were small businesses, and 102 were nonprofits. 65% of recipients self-identified as women or minority or veteran owned businesses and nonprofits. The average amount awarded was $16,557.

“The pandemic created unprecedented challenges and disruptions for small businesses in El Paso County, both for-profit and nonprofit,” said Stan VanderWerf, El Paso County Board Chair. “As we work together to recover and thrive from the pandemic, I am thrilled to see this initiative assisting hundreds of small businesses and nonprofit organizations.”

Funds can be used to pay for expenses including rent and mortgage assistance, utility payments, employee payroll, accounts payable, marketing costs to assist with economic recovery and other fixed debts, as well as personal protection equipment.

Funds cannot be used for taxes or tax debt  Unlike loans, recipients awarded this grant will not have to pay it back.

“The success of small businesses and the creation of new jobs in our region are unquestionably crucial to our economic recovery.,” VanderWerf said. “The grant provided a gateway for small businesses and nonprofits to maintain their workforces and carry on their important work. Investing in programs that allow these goals to be achieved is the right thing for El Paso County”

El Paso County’s Economic Development Department has notified award recipients of the Regional Business Relief Fund.

Recipients will also have access to free business support resources through the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center and Pikes Peak Workforce Center,

At this time, no new applications for the El Paso County Regional Business Relief Fund are being accepted. For more information on resources to help businesses recovery from COVID-19 please visit https://admin.elpasoco.com/economic-development/.

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