SAN ANTONIO – (Oct. 25, 2022) – Yesterday, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg joined nonprofit, small business champion, LiftFund, at a roundtable discussion to hear firsthand from local small business owners how city relief programs have helped them recover economically from the pandemic.
During the meeting, business owners shared personal accounts of how city funding has been critical to the viability of their businesses during the pandemic. The small business panel included entrepreneurs from across the city including Olla Express Café, Pops G, Voces y Ecos de Arte, Eastside Christian Dental Clinic and Casa Guipzot.
Salena S. Guipzot, founder of Casa Guipzot, recently opened her shop to offer boutique Mexican wines. She expressed how the funding helped keep her business afloat. “Without these funds, without me having a payment that I could afford, there would have been no way.”
She says the community as a whole, as well as her individual business, benefitted from the program loan. “Keeping those dollars circulating in the west side, keeping those dollars circulating in our community, it was instrumental. There would have been no way I could have started my business.”
Verónica Castillo Salas, owner of gallery and artist workspace, Voces Y Ecos Del Arte, recounted how the loan program sustained her business, “The funds helped us employ youth and artists who lost their jobs [as a result of the pandemic] and maintain the gallery… the financial support helped us manage during a time when we needed it the most.”
The gathering takes places just as the City of San Antonio renews the City of San Antonio 0% Interest Program. The City has partnered with LiftFund since 2016 to bring affordable funding to underserved community small businesses, especially those that are minority-and women-owned. The program became even more critical as the pandemic disrupted the economy in 2020 and as the effects continue to be felt in the small business community.
Mayor Nirenberg sees small business relief programs, like the City of San Antonio 0% Interest Program, as crucial elements in achieving long-term economic resiliency for the city.
“Prior to the pandemic, small businesses were crucial to our local economy, employing the majority of our city’s workforce – this stands true today and it is as important now as it was then to support these businesses in their recovery from the negative impacts of the pandemic and, ultimately, in achieving long-term economic sustainability. The road to economic recovery involves addressing current needs and planning strategically for longstanding viability,” said Mayor Nirenberg.
“The city’s small business relief programs address both the immediate and ongoing needs of our small businesses to ensure not only their recovery, but also long-term stability,” he says .
Administered by LiftFund, this program has provided over $4.8 million in funding to more than 180 San Antonio small businesses since the program’s first iteration. Funding has been used to assist with various business needs such as starting or expanding a business, employment, or for the purchase of property, inventory, and equipment.
“We applaud the City’s dedication to supporting economic recovery, especially among small businesses. City relief programs position local businesses to continue serving our communities while stabilizing and improving our economic state,” says LiftFund’s Founder, Janie Barrera. The local leader was recently appointed to a U.S. Treasury committee on Racial Equity and was awarded the 2022 Ned Gramlich Lifetime Achievement Award for Responsible Finance by the Opportunity Finance Network.
Small businesses interested in learning more about or applying the City of San Antonio 0% Interest Program can visit the program website here or call LiftFund at 1-888-215-2373 for more information.
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 San Antonio small business owners with over $77.8 million in small business loans since 1994. Since its inception, LiftFund has made over 25,000 loans totaling more than half a billion in funding across its 15-state footprint, which includes: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas.