SAN ANTONIO (November 4, 2022) – The City of San Antonio, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SAHCC), and LiftFund have secured $500,000 in the FY23 Budget for the City of San Antonio’s 0% Interest Program, a program aimed to support the growth of San Antonio small businesses, especially in light of recent economic challenges.
Small businesses located in or relocating to San Antonio city limits can apply for up to $100,000 in 0% interest funding through the program, double what has been offered by the program in the past. The funding can be used for startups as well as the majority of regular business expenses including inventory, payroll, equipment, and working capital.
According to the program website, the initiative prioritizes funding small businesses looking to hire additional staff, in efforts to help create jobs in the city. Those that have not received a 0% interest LiftFund loan in the past two years also have priority, to help those that need support the most.
The City of San Antonio 0% Interest Program is the result of months of coordination by the City of San Antonio, the SAHCC, and local non-profit small business lender, LiftFund. The team came together to find a way to support the growth and recovery of small businesses after the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting effects.
“Increasing access to capital has been a longstanding priority for the SAHCC. This quarter of a million dollar increase in funding for the zero percent interest loan will be instrumental in closing the access to capital gap, particularly for minority-owned small businesses” said SAHCC President & CEO, Marina Gonzales.
City of San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg says this program is part of overall efforts by the city to help strengthen the city’s business community.
“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.
The mayor recently held a roundtable with LiftFund to hear from small businesses about how funding from the City of San Antonio 0% Interest Program has supported them since the pandemic. 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. The renewal of this program has become even more critical as the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt in the small business community.
One of the small businesses present at the roundtable was local wine shop, Casa Guipzot.
The shop founder, Salena S. 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.”
LiftFund founder, Janie Barrera, says that this type of support can make a big difference for small businesses still struggling.
“LiftFund is honored to partner with the Hispanic Chamber and the City of San Antonio on yet another great program to support small businesses in our community. With the current state of the economy, local businesses need all the help we can provide. Programs providing microloans, especially with an interest buy-down component, are particularly impactful. Not only will businesses have access to affordable funding at 0% interest, but because these are loans, payments will boost their credit. They’ll be in a better position when applying for future funding,” says Janie Barrera. Janie Barrera was recently appointed to the U.S. Treasury committee on Racial Equity and received the 2022 Gramlich Lifetime Achievement Award for Responsible Finance by the Opportunity Finance Network, the highest individual award for the CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) industry.