By Anita Miller
Hays County businesses with 10 or fewer employees that did not get assistance through the federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP) or the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) administered by the Small Business Administration may apply next week for assistance through the county’s Emergency Cash Assistance Program (ECAP).
Although it won’t be “live” until Aug. 10, business owners can get a sneak peak at the documentation required to apply at www.hayscountyecap.com by downloading a pdf.
The program is being administered through People Fund and has $600,000 in available funding. Hays County put up $500,000 and the city of Kyle added $100,000. Grants of up to $1,000 per employee may be granted after applications are reviewed by an awards committee.
Grants will be issued on a first come, first served basis.
The money can be used for working capital, payroll, equipment, furniture and supplies and fixtures (like what’s required for social distancing).
Nonprofits can also apply if they have been in operation since Jan. 1, 2019 or before. “Mom and pop” businesses literally run by two members of one family may be awarded a grant of up to $2,500.
Gustavo Lasala of People Fund said about 20 percent of small businesses in municipalities and cities outside major urban centers did not get federal help “for a variety of reasons,” and when his organization realized that included Hays County, they wanted to help. “We immediately signed up for that and are glad and honored” to be a part of the effort to support the most vulnerable busineses.
He said businesses can be paired with a mentor if they need help filling out the application or gathered required documents.
“We will be there to guide them each step of the way,” Lasala said in a Zoom press conference on July 30. He urged those possibly eligible for a grant to use the time until Aug. 10 to study what’s required.
All assistance through People Fund comes without charge.
John Ellis of the Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP), which is assisting the county with the program said according to three surveys, 65 percent of eligible small businesses did not get either PPP or EIDL. Although having received that assistance disqualifies businesses from the ECAP, they can still apply if they have received assistance from another local entity.
During the Zoom press conference, Ellis said that his organization began looking into how to offer assistance early in the COVID-19 pandemic. “Almost from day one of the crisis,” he said, chambers of commerce sought to understand what was happening in the business community.”
Not all Hays County municipalities are participating. Buda, for example, launched its own Budful Stimulus Program months ago.