COLORADO SPRINGS — There's a new source of money for small businesses across Colorado. The Energize Colorado Gap Fund application opens on Monday, August 31.
Energize Colorado has amassed over 200 volunteers across eleven different business segments since they started in the spring of this year. The group has raised $25 million in a relief fund, reserved for Colorado's small businesses with less than 25 employees. "Our goal is really to sort of spread the love, spread the wealth, and help the businesses that are struggling across the state right now," said Scott Romano, the director of marketing at Energize Colorado.
While it's difficult to say exactly how many businesses would be able to receive this money, they can request a maximum of a $15,000 grant and a $20,000 low interest loan issued by one of their local funding partners across the state. In total, a business could get a total financial package of $35,000. "Additionally, we're prioritizing businesses that are owned by women, minorities, and veterans, as well as in rural Colorado," said Romano.
Romano also said they have $5 million earmarked for the tourism industry through October.
$20 million of the money came from the federal CARES Act, and was distributed to Energize Colorado through the state. The remaining money was raised through private donors.
Those with Energize Colorado said they are trying to help businesses that have struggled to access capital in the past. "We saw a gap in the funding that was available for businesses right now. They were struggling to access some of that federal funding. You had to have a good relationship with your bank to access some of it, a lot of small businesses do not have that kind of relationship," said Romano.
A local business that did not get any federal PPP money is Resin Foundry in Colorado Springs. The two employee manufacturing company purchased a 3D printer at the end of 2019, which cost around $150,000. "It was a really big investment, but we saw the need in the community for this niche of work, so we thought it would be a safe bet. And then, corona hit," said Ana Cosme.
Resin Foundry said they can still fulfill orders during the pandemic. They make parts for many different sectors, like the automobile industry, medical equipment, and even architecture. "Ten, 100, even up to thousands of pieces of parts for people that are in use, robust, and full color... You don't advertise in the regular ways for this," said Scott Mans, the owner of Resin Foundry.
Resin Foundry did say going out and finding customers has been more difficult since the pandemic. They plan on applying for the Gap Fund on Monday. "It would be, priceless really," said Cosme.
The application was designed to be user-friendly, and Romano said it could be completed in around 30 minutes. "Getting the documents together, we're really only asking for you to prove that COVID-19 has created some hardship for your business," said Romano.
This is not a first come, first serve application. The window to apply will exist well within the end of the year, and more than likely into the next year. The first round of businesses will be chosen a couple of weeks from Monday, and it will take around three to five weeks until the payment gets to the small business.
To fill out the application, CLICK HERE.
Energize Colorado also said they are there to help small businesses with mental health support, templates for reopening a business, and a marketplace that sells PPE practically at cost.