BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – The Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) was recently awarded $581,667 by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help microenterprises (less than five employees) and small businesses (25 employees or less) in Brownsville that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant’s purpose is to help our local workforce. This grant is strictly to assist local businesses that were impacted by COVID-19’s difficult challenges such as the need of temporarily closing their doors during the early stages of the pandemic and/or the need of social distancing in their businesses. Many of these small businesses felt their only viable solution was online shopping to avoid physical interaction with customers for safety. These challenges ultimately led to closures for some entrepreneurs.

With this additional funding, it will alleviate some of the burden as it will provide short-term working capital assistance to small businesses and enable retention or creation of jobs held by low and moderate-income residents. The goal is to support and promote business longevity by retaining or creating jobs in our region.

“These forgivable loans are an investment and commitment to our small businesses and nonprofits who are critical drivers of vitality in our city,” said Victoria Padron, BCIC Director of Economic Development Finance. “This program puts financial relief into the hands of Brownsville’s most-impacted local entrepreneurs and organizations so that we can reinvigorate communities on our road to recovery,” she added.

The Brownsville Micro Business COVID-19 Relief Grant-Category A will provide up to $5,000 to microenterprise businesses that employ five people or less and is located inside city limits.

The Brownsville Micro Business COVID-19 Relief Grant-Category B will provide up to $20,000 to small businesses in Brownsville that have 25 or fewer employees. The grant will assist to retain or create one full-time position for a minimum of 12 months for an employee that resides in Brownsville and earnsno morethan 80% of the area’s median income.

“BCIC is extremely proud to continue fostering a growing relationship with HUD in order to aid businesses in our community. Our program is designed to not only assist a business through a forgivable loan but also educate our local entrepreneurs on capital attainment, a crucial inevitable step towards growing any business in the U.S.,” said Josh Mejia, BCIC President/CEO.

BCIC is partnering up with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center to better assist employers and workforce in the city to effectively respond to the challenges of the pandemic.

BCIC has become a resource and information center for over 900 employers and provides businesses in our community valuable information that don’t have easy access to resources made possible by the federal government.

Applications will be available online using BCIC’s application portal. The application portal is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. BCIC will review the application, evaluate it and confirm the business and applicant is eligible.

To apply or to learn more about this grant, please visit our website:www.brownsvilleedc.orgor call us at (956) 983-9445.

For more information related to this press release, please contact Michelle Lopez, BCIC Director of Development and Communications at[email protected]