money dollars

El Paso County Economic Development is launching the first community based, grant-funded program to give financial help to small businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic in the Pikes Peak Enterprise Zone (EZ).

The Pikes Peak Enterprise Zone EZ Business Relief Fund is a way for the community to help locally-owned small businesses — now facing layoffs and closures — to sustain operations and keep their workforce, through generous donations. 

Citizens who donate $100 or more to the fund qualify for an EZ 25 percent state income tax credit.

“During this time of crisis and uncertainty, people are looking for ways to support their community,” Crystal LaTier, executive director of economic development, said in a news release.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy. The Pikes Peak EZ Business Relief Fund is truly a community effort that allows citizens to contribute to the economic recovery of small businesses during these unprecedented times.”

Small businesses within the enterprise zone will have access to grants up to $7,500. El Paso County Economic Development says the funds will focus on critical assistance for needs such as rent or mortgage assistance, utility payments, employee payroll, and accounts payable. The grant funds will work in conjunction with both Federal and State assistance already available to small businesses.

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For information about the program and how to donate, go to https://admin.elpasoco.com/economic-development/enterprise-zone-contribution-projects.

El Paso County Economic Development is working on the fund in coordination with local economic development partners, and applications will open April 20.

On Friday, April 10, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m, Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center will host a free online event, “Relief Funding: A Small Business Roundtable Discussion,” with experts to clarify differences, details, and opportunities related to multiple disaster mitigation resources available to small businesses.

It will cover the EZ Business Relief Fund, El Pomar nonprofit grants, Survive & Thrive COS loans, and the Small Business Administration EIDL Advanced Loans, Paycheck Protection Program, and CARES Act.

Participants must register online today at https://clients.coloradosbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=70400097 or visit pikespeaksbdc.org to get an email link to view the roundtable discussion on April 10.

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