EL PASO – (Aug. 24, 2022) – Today, U.S. Congresswoman Veronica Escobar joined nonprofit small business champion, LiftFund, at a roundtable discussion to hear firsthand from local small business owners how federal aid helped their businesses recover economically from the pandemic.
During the meeting, business owners shared their personal experiences on how federal funds got them through a very difficult period during the shutdowns related to COVID-19.
Congresswoman Escobar says that financial support is one of the key things that helps family businesses survive times like these.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our community. They, along with startups, employ nearly half of the American workforce. The pandemic resulted in extraordinary difficulties for these businesses and I’m proud that federal legislation such as the Restaurant Revitalization Fund delivered when they needed our help the most,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “Just as the pandemic isn’t over, our support for them mustn’t stop either. I will continue to be a staunch advocate for the incredible small businesses in El Paso and beyond.”
“These federal funds have undoubtedly had a positive impact on helping small businesses get back on their feet. We truly appreciate the Congresswoman’s dedication to ensuring El Paso businesses thrive,” said Mayor Oscar Leeser.
Some of those small businesses that attended today’s meeting included: The Elegant Penguin, Super Chef, Everyday Sunshine Children’s Daycare, Adventure Zone, and veteran-owned business EPKP.
Alma Gallardo, owner of Super Chef, a catering business, had to think outside the box because with no meetings and events taking place, she had no work. And with no work, she could not pay her employees. Alma used the funds to purchase equipment to make tamales to help keep her employees on the payroll. She purchased a banner announcing the tamales and she sold tamales from her location. She is grateful to everyone that made the funding possible. It not only helped her, but it helped her employees, as well.
Dedicated to helping underestimated and underfunded small businesses, LiftFund has partnered with the City of El Paso and El Paso County, amongst others, to provide federal grant funding to small businesses in the city and across the organization’s footprint. So far, almost 300 El Paso businesses were able to receive help through these federal dollars.
“We are so grateful to Congresswoman Escobar for her continued support of President Biden’s priorities for economic recovery, especially as related to small businesses. Thanks to her leadership and work to secure economic recovery funds, these businesses that we visited with today are able to continue their key roles in the community,” said LiftFund founder, Janie Barrera.
In El Paso alone, LiftFund has partnered to provide almost $9 million in grant funding to small businesses in economic distress due to the pandemic. Of the small businesses served, 43% lost more than a third of their usual revenue during the difficult time.
More federal funding for local small businesses will become available soon. The City has allocated $14 million in federal ARPA funds for small business initiatives.
LiftFund is a nonprofit small business lender that transforms lives by opening doors and leveling the financial playing field in entrepreneurship. Established in 1994, LiftFund provides responsible capital and business education to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. LiftFund has supported El Paso small business owners with over $48 million in small business loans since 1994. Since its inception, LiftFund has made over 25,000 loans totaling more than $428 million across its 15-state footprint, which includes: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, New York and Texas.