HARLINGEN, Texas – Harlingen Economic Development Corporation has launched a survey to check the pulse of the city’s small business community.

It is titled Harlingen Small Business Survey 2023. 

The survey includes questions like what type of challenges are businesses facing, what type of training they need or have taken, and if grant funds were available to them, how they would use them. 

Eric Ziehe

Beverly Loftus, HEDC interim manager and CEO, said the survey will help HEDC with the future creation and planning of resources, programs, grants, and tools needed to serve the Harlingen small business community. 

“As Harlingen continues to grow, we want to assist our small business community to succeed and meet the demands of a changing economy,” said Loftus, pictured above, said. 

“We want to know where they are falling short and assist where we can, but first we need to hear from our business owners.”

The HEDC currently offers programs and services to small businesses through partnerships with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and UTRGV’s Small Business Development Center. 

Loftus said one specific program sponsored by the HEDC is UTRGV’s Kauffman FastTrac course, which gives entrepreneurs the tools to successfully launch and grow their businesses. 

She said that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses were forced to shut down and lay employees off, HEDC stepped up and offered a small business loan program, known as Harlingen Helps. 

“The program helped more than 50 Harlingen businesses and lent nearly $500,000 to businesses that they used to pay fees, rent, payroll, supplies, and other business-related expenses. Max amount received per loan was $10,000. The loans were later forgiven and turned into grants,” an HEDC news release states. 

Loftus said more recently, the HEDC has supported small businesses with its latest grant program, Revitalize Harlingen. She said this program provides financial assistance to eligible commercial businesses or property owners to utilize towards storefront improvement and renovation costs. 

Loftus said that as funds and opportunities are made available, the HEDC plans to continue to help Harlingen small businesses grow and wants to learn more about the needs of this thriving community. 

“We are mindful of the needs of our small business owners, and we want to provide the best assistance we possibly can, and have created the Harlingen Small Business Survey that we hope will give us some insight,” said Loftus.

Eric Ziehe is HEDC board president. He said: “We encourage our small business owners to take this survey, it will allow us to help them as best as we possibly can. As we attract new business, we also want to ensure that our local business community is strong and successful.” 

Editor’s Note: Click here to participate in the Harlingen Small Business Survey 2023.

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