DALLAS - There's more funding for small businesses in the city of Dallas. This time, there's free mentorship, too.
There are forgivable loans up to $25,000 that can be used for anything you like for your business. Plus, every applicant will be connected with a mentor who's already a success.
Dwight Harvey has never been afraid of a challenge. He and his wife Rose transformed an otherwise abandoned building into On The Bone BBQ, a hot spot with famous faces in the Cedars section of Dallas.
But even after originally opening at the start of a different economic crisis in 2008, even they couldn't imagine COVID-19 coming and the sharp drop in business it would bring.
“We felt like small business owners got hit in the face worse than anyone else,” Harvey said.
Trey Bowles is the co-founder of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, or DEC Network, where the goal is to help entrepreneurs succeed.
“The goal is to raise $5 million,” he said. “We’ve raised over a million already.”
Now they're adding money to their mission with the Revive Dallas Fund. Up to $5 million in forgivable loans to small businesses in the city of Dallas. It’s all funded by the business community.
“There is not a lot of restriction,” Bowles said. “We trust them to know what they need to spend money on to succeed.”
Loans are for up to $25,000. Even if you're not approved, you'll get a business mentor or referral to another program. Companies can't have more than 15 employees or bring in more than $1.5 million in revenue each year. Plus, they need to demonstrate and a minimum 15% loss as a result of COVID-19.
It’s not a problem for people like Harvey. With a sharp drop in sales and a near 70% spike in the price of beef, they're hungry for help and even hungrier to keep feeding their fans.
“This is like reliving that recession all over again to us,” Harvey said.
Applications are now open for the next week and a half. After that, those who qualify will be contacted to complete their full application. A lottery system will then be used to determine disbursement.
At least 51% of the money will be set aside for minority and women-owned businesses.