H-GAC AND FORT BEND COUNTY PARTNER TO LAUNCH NEW RENEWABLE LOAN PROGRAM TO HELP AREA’S SMALL BUSINESSES GROW AND IMPROVE RESILIENCE | Community

The Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) and Fort Bend County have partnered to launch a new revolving loan program this week to help small businesses grow in the face of the lingering economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 and better position themselves in the face of bad weather. future disruptions.

The Triple ‘R’ Loan Program – which stands for ‘Regional, Renewable and Resilient’ – provides financial assistance to area small businesses and startups that are still recovering from the pandemic or will contribute to Fort Bend County’s economic recovery . It includes loans of up to $1 million for working capital costs, such as payroll, marketing, rent, utilities and insurance, as well as larger expenses, such as commercial real estate , land and equipment. Loans will have terms of 5 to 10 years with fixed interest rates as low as 2.5%.

Additionally, the program offers grants of up to $50,000 to help small businesses with critical expenses and needs. Fort Bend County is the funder of the nearly $7.4 million ($7,395,000) program. The Houston-Galveston Area Local Development Corporation (H-GALDC), an operating arm of the H-GAC, is the program administrator. Small business owners can learn more about the program and apply online at www.HGALDC.com.

To qualify for the program, the business must be an SBA 504 small business with a net worth of less than $15 million and an average net income of less than $5 million. It must also be located in Fort Bend County. Eligible small businesses can apply for only the loan or the grant, or they can apply for both. H-GAC adopts a collaborative outreach strategy with local community groups and nonprofits to educate small business owners in historically underserved and hard-to-reach neighborhoods about the program.

“We and Fort Bend County developed this program with disadvantaged small businesses in mind. Our data shows that business owners from socially and economically disadvantaged groups are not accessing traditional finance at the same rate as others,” said Omar Fortune, Principal at H-GALDC. “We want to be intentional in our outreach efforts. We will work with faith groups and other non-profit community organizations that specifically cater to these harder to reach populations so that they also have the opportunity to apply for this program.

The application window is expected to open on Wednesday April 6 and will remain open until May 6.

Houston-Galveston Area Council

H-GAC is a voluntary association of local governments and local elected officials from the 13-county Gulf Coast planning region, which encompasses an area of ​​12,500 square miles and more than 7 million people. H-GAC strives to promote efficient and responsible use of local, state, and federal taxpayer dollars; serves as a problem solver and

information forum for local governments; and helps analyze trends and conditions affecting the region. For more information, visit www.h-gac.com.

HOUSTON-GALVESTON AREA COUNCIL

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To help ensure that all applicants have a fair chance of receiving funding, H-GALDC will randomly select applications based on their unique identification number for eligibility review. If the application meets all loan or grant eligibility requirements, staff will notify the business owner and begin working with them on the underwriting process.

Fort Bend County approached H-GAC with the idea of ​​creating a Revolving Loan Program to support small businesses in 2021. The Fort Bend County Court of Commissioners unanimously approved the Triple Loan Program’ R’ at its February 8, 2022 meeting, and the H-GAC Board of Directors unanimously approved it on February 15. The county and H-GAC developed the program in hopes that other cities, counties and municipalities in the Houston-Galveston area could model their own small business financing programs.

“If this program proves successful, we intend to roll it out as a regional program,” Fortune said. “Fort Bend will set the standard and be the model that we can hopefully take to the region and engage other communities.”

To learn more about the Houston-Galveston Area Local Development Corporation and its other small business financing programs, visit www.HGALDC.com. For more information on Houston-Galveston Area Council regional programs, services and events, visit www.h-gac.com.

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