SOUTHERN COLORADO — As we continue to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic small businesses still need a lot of help financially.
It's why the nonprofit Energize Colorado is now offering a new program called the Gap Fund.
Director of Marketing Scott Romano said, "We would love to hit 10,000 businesses." That's one of the goals of the Gap Fund.
Romano said, "Small businesses are under threat right now and they need somebody who's willing to step up and help them out."
Despite PPP loans and other kinds of assistance small businesses in Colorado are far from being out of the woods, especially ones that may have been overlooked over the last few months.
Romano said, "We are prioritizing rural businesses, women and minority-owned, as well as veteran-owned."
He shared that the Gap Fund has $25 million from the federal CARES Act and donations - money that will be given to businesses through a mix of grants and low-interest loans. Businesses can apply for a grant up to $15,000 and a loan up to $20,000. However, Romano believes it's not just about the money. He said, "We've established a series of other programming from providing really low cost or free mental health support for small business owners, mentorship, and free business guidance from professionals."
The latter is something Alana Vaughn-Phillips is involved in. She's a volunteer business mentor. She said, "I'm kind of mid-level career and have a lot of interesting business experience and life experience."
She shared that she's working with small business owners on things like marketing and networking, and for some, she's simply acting as a cheerleader to encourage them.
Vaughn-Phillips said, "Beyond the financial aspect of getting a grant having that person, that mentor who can have those conversations and really help somebody focus on here's what's important and here's what's not...I hope that's what people will take away from these grants."
Romano shared that the application for the Gap Fund will open up this month. CLICK HERE for more information.