BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – The Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC), the Type B Economic Development Organization for the City, has assisted a Brownsville manufacturing company obtain financing to help bolster the nation’s domestic production of personal protective equipment (PPE).
America Care, founded by Dr. Hansheng Lei, was one of the first companies in Brownsville to be awarded a Brownsville Cares Grant, part of the StartUp Texas COVID-19 Relief Grants offered through the BCIC. The program offers up to $10,000 in earnest money towards an existing SBA Program. The organization’s main goal is to assist in increasing the domestic supply of PPE after the COVID-19 pandemic drained national stockpiles and exposed a need to produce vital supplies in the United States.
“When the pandemic started, the country was running low on PPE, particularly masks, and unfortunately our Country was not producing enough domestically,” says Dr. Lei. “I thought to myself, we have the expertise here, we have support from the City, so why don’t we produce PPE here locally in Brownsville?”
In conjunction with an SBA 7(a) Loan Program and the Brownsville Cares Grant, America Care was able to create a facility capable of producing 100,000 masks a day. The company has expansion plans for the near future allowing for production of almost half a million masks daily.
“Financing on a project like this is always critical, and the BCIC has always supported our efforts. We can always rely on them for support,” says Dr. Lei.
”Financing on a project like this is always critical, and the BCIC has always supported our efforts. We can always rely on them for supportDr. Hansheng LeiFounder of America Care
To date the BCIC has assisted in bringing $5,149,900 into the community from the organization’s StartUp Texas COVID-19 Relief Grants and through federal grants administered by the Small Business Association. Over 40 organizations focused on providing services and critical needs to Brownsville residents have been awarded, helping to retain a total of 742 employees thus far.
“The best way for local economies to grow is to find the people who are already doing amazing things in your community and supporting them,” says Nathan Burkhart, Director of Marketing & Small Business Development for the BCIC. “It’s great to see how even in the midst of a pandemic, our small business community in Brownsville can innovate, adapt, and thrive.”
Dr. Lei and America Care have also chosen to donate 20,000 masks to the BCIC for small businesses struggling to find PPE Equipment as a gesture of appreciation towards the City’s economic development organization, BCIC.
“Our team is utilizing every resource possible to support recovery and innovation efforts for our small businesses. Partnerships like these are a vital part of our response to this pandemic and this donation is just one more manifestation of the collaborative and conducive relationship between the BCIC and our small businesses working together for the better good of our community” says Burkhart. “The BCIC staff and board of directors thank Dr. Lei and America Care for their continued leadership and generous donation of these vital and much needed masks during this pandemic.”
Businesses in need of PPE are encouraged to order locally, online at www.America-Care.com or over the phone at (956) 588 2148. Customers can also place an order in person at the America Care office located at 2450 Courage St, STE 101, Brownsville, TX 78921.
The application for StartUp Texas COVID-19 Relief Grants is available online at BrownsvilleEDC.org/COVID19. For businesses looking for more information on how to apply for an SBA loan program, or whether it is something they should consider, please visit Assist.BrownsvilleEDC.org or contact the COVID-19 Small Business Response Team at 888-816-8043.