The TJC West Campus’ Small Business Development Center was given a CARES Grant in summer 2020, which was used to help East Texas small businesses that have faced economic hardships due to COVID-19. The SBDC works through Economic Development Councils and Chambers of Commerce in their six-county area, which includes Smith, Cherokee, Wood, San Augustine, Shelby and Sabine, according to the SBDC brochure.
This opportunity allowed SBDC Director Don Proudfoot to hire three new business advisers to put this grant into motion. The new hires are Josh Edinger, David Stewart and Stacie Campanile.
SBDC Training Coordinator Sharon Thayer said, “The permanent business advisers do exactly what our Cares Act Grant advisers have been doing and more.”
People come to Tyler SBDC in all stages of developing their businesses. “From the start-up phase and writing a business plan, to financing, to growing pains — all the way to developing an exit strategy. The SBDC goals are to help our communities grow through new businesses that stimulate the local economy and provide more jobs for our residents,” Thayer said.
The SBDC provides a variety of tools to help small businesses in East Texas.
“We have been able to provide training seminars and one-on-one counseling throughout the year,” Thayer said. “We have helped small businesses with operations, marketing, bookkeeping and accounting, Zoom skills, access to capital, website building and much more. Surprisingly, there are many new businesses despite the hardships of COVID, that we have helped to take the first steps of their business adventure.”
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was signed into law March 27, 2020, providing financial relief to individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19. The CARES Act made short-term changes to two notable loan programs administered by the Small Business Administration during the COVID-19 pandemic, which are the Paycheck Protection Program and The Economic Injury Disaster Loan. These changes help protect small businesses and their employees economically.
The PPP is designed to encourage small businesses to retain employees through the COVID-19 crisis. The program extends the SBA’s 7(a) loan program to provide up to $659 billion in partial or fully forgivable loans to eligible small businesses.
The EIDL provides working capital loans to small businesses suffering major economic hurt from the pandemic crisis. It will provide low-interest loans to pay payroll and certain operating costs and liabilities from Jan. 31, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020. Loans are available up to $2 million, based on the borrower’s economic injury and financial need.