Governor Abbott announces program to help Texas small businesses

While Governor Greg Abbott works on a plan to 'reopen' the state, he has announced a multi-million dollar partnership to help struggling small businesses in Texas.

It is recognition of how badly business has been stalled by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The number of Texans who filed for unemployment benefits, in the last month, was more than all of last year. The new $50 million loan program is designed to help make sure some of those laid-off workers have a job to return to.

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"Texans need relief, so they can provide for their families and meet their family's daily needs," said Governor Abbott, by video conference, making clear he is looking for tools to restart the Texas economy.

While details for reopening the state for business are promised later this week, this announcement offers more immediate help along the lines of the federal Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program.

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"We must continue to do all that is possible to look out for the health and safety of our fellow Texans," said the governor. "While, at the same time, work to restore the livelihoods of our fellow Texans."

Goldman Sachs has pledged $50 million in forgivable loans to Texas small businesses, as part of a national $550 Million dollar national effort. The money will, primarily, be used to keep employees of struggling businesses on the payroll.

"These businesses are the foundation of your economy and the  bedrock of your communities," said Goldman Sachs CEO John Waldron, "In a crisis of this magnitude, this foundation is clearly at risk."

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In Texas, the community development financial institution LiftFund, which helps nurture small businesses, is partnering in the project.        

Some businesses, already getting help, say the financial lifeline could make all the difference. "Being approved for this loan is huge, and it will make all the difference in the world to us, our staff and our business and hopefully keep us 'in' business," says Michelle Allen os San Antonio based iRun.

Applications for these new loans, which are in addition to what the federal government is offering, can be submitted here.