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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 $450,000 of funding from  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.

These forgivable loans are a crucial step towards helping our small businesses recover from the COVID-19 crisis

Cori PeñaDirector of Community Development

“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.

For more information regarding the Brownsville (Re)Open for Business Forgivable Loan Program, please contact Cori Peña at (956)545-0438 or by email at cpena@bcic.us