Local loans and grants during COVID-19 pandemic had a big impact on economy

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Local loans and grants to Colorado Springs and El Paso County businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic supported nearly 8,000 jobs and resulted in $757 million worth of goods and services produced in the local economy.

The numbers come from a study commissioned by the City of Colorado Springs by Summit Economics in May. The study identified 4,469 local businesses most at risk of closure because of COVID-19. Those at-risk businesses represent 43,848 jobs, $4.8 billion in economic output, and $33.8 million in local sales tax revenue each year.

By acting swiftly to make funding available through a simple and efficient process, and by focusing on those industries that have been most impacted, these groups provided immediate relief and support that will resonate for the next several years both for these organizations and for their employees. - Mayor John Suthers

Local organizations including Exponential Impact’s Survive & Thrive, Pikes Peak Community Foundation, Downtown Development Authority and El Paso County stepped forward and promptly established loan and grant funds to support those local at-risk businesses. 

The analysis by Summit Economics revealed that 422 local organizations received loans or grants  $5.43 million. Those funds supported approximately 8,000 jobs, $757 million in annual economic output, and $5.5 million in annual local sales tax revenue.

“These four organizations stepped up quickly and effectively at a time when our community clearly needed them,” said Mayor John Suthers. “By acting swiftly to make funding available through a simple and efficient process, and by focusing on those industries that have been most impacted, these groups provided immediate relief and support that will resonate for the next several years both for these organizations and for their employees.”

Survive and Thrive COS

In March of this year, Exponential Impact (XI) partnered with community groups to launch Survive and Thrive COS. The program provides direct support to small local organizations negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporting entrepreneurs is central to the work of XI, and we were lucky to have partners across the city that came together to provide immediate needed support. We are so grateful to these partners and to our supporters, and to the mentorship network - all of whom came together to address this crisis. Survive and Thrive provides short-term relief through low-interest loans, but builds long-term resiliency through wellness, business advice, and relationships. 

As a region, we stepped up to provide critical funding through grants and loan programs to help small businesses remain resilient and persevere. - El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller. 

“While government offered some relief at the Federal level, locally we relied on public-private partnerships to help El Paso County endure the economic impacts of COVID-19. As a region, we stepped up to provide critical funding through grants and loan programs to help small businesses remain resilient and persevere,” said El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller.  “The County is proud to announce that an additional $7.6 million in funding from the CARES Act will be infused into our local businesses in the next few months to continue to support economic recovery throughout El Paso County.” 

“Through collaboration and a creative mindset, our community was able to quickly respond to the needs of businesses, now placing us in a position of strength as we move into recovery,” states Tony Rosendo, Chair, Pikes Peak Community Foundation board of directors. “The Pikes Peak Community Foundation's Impact Investment Fund was pleased to partner with Exponential Impact to offer low interest, low barrier loans to local small businesses and non-profits through Survive & Thrive COS. It is only when the public, private and philanthropic sectors work together that we can identify priorities, visualize possibilities and earmark resources to respond effectively.”

“Over 90 percent of storefront businesses Downtown are locally owned, and we proudly boast the largest concentration of locally owned restaurants in all of Southern Colorado. Our DDA Small Business Relief grants helped 95 businesses during a critical time, and now it is up to everyone to continue patronizing independent restaurants and local retail shops, salons, fitness centers and more throughout the year,” Susan Edmondson, President and CEO, Downtown Partnership. 

How you can help

While great progress has been made due to the efforts of these organizations, local leaders were quick to remind the community that the economic impacts of the Pandemic are not over, and there is still great need in our community. There are several ways to help local businesses:  

PPCF is continuing to accept donations at ppcf.org.

Exponential Impact’s Survive & Thrive program continues to need mentors to offer webinars to help businesses navigate these trying times. Email surviveandthrivecos@exponentialimpact.com for more.

The Downtown Development Authority asks residents to continue to support local businesses through online shopping, carry-out and delivery dining and socially-distanced shopping and dining.

El Paso County will allocate an additional $7.6 million in CARES Act funding to support small businesses’ recovery efforts. The money will go to the El Paso County Regional Business Relief Fund to help small businesses in El Paso County with business-related costs incurred due to COVID-19. A competitive grant application process will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information on resources available to help small businesses, please visit https://admin.elpasoco.com/economic-development/covid-19-economic-recovery-efforts-and-resources/

About Pikes Peak Community Foundation

Pikes Peak Community Foundation has been building community since 1928. We inspire generosity, serve donors and mobilize resources to build community capital and effectively address issues facing the Pikes Peak Region. For more than 90 years, PPCF donors have invested more than $100 million in nonprofit organizations throughout the Pikes Peak Region. 

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