Funds available to small businesses, nonprofits for pandemic relief


Sept. 7 is the deadline for small businesses and nonprofits to apply for grants in a new local program approved Aug. 18 by the Board of El Paso County Commissioners.

The program, the El Paso County Regional Business Relief Fund, will be managed by the county's Department of Economic Development to funnel money to businesses and nonprofits adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund was created with a portion of the $127.5 million the county received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act adopted by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump March 27.

The grants, up to $20,000, will be awarded as grants, not loans, meaning they won't have to be paid back, the county said in a release.

The money can be used to fund rent and mortgage, utilities, employee payroll, accounts payable, other fixed debt costs, and personal protection equipment. Funds cannot be used for taxes or tax debt.

"Small businesses are critical to El Paso County's economic development ecosystem. They not only bring character and vitality to our community but they also financially support the great residents of our region,” Economic Development Executive Director Crystal LaTier said in the release.

So far, 150 businesses and nonprofits have applied for grant assistance through the Regional Business Relief Fund.

After the application window closes, applications will be processed by the Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF), a nonprofit lender certified by the Small Business Administration. CEF will collect, analyze and score the applications, after which El Paso County will make final decisions on and disburse awards.

Go here for more information.

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