DENVER, CO– The House today passed HB21-1302 and HB21-1288, which create a grant program and startup loan program to boost small businesses The bills are part of the $800 million Colorado Comeback state stimulus plan to help Colorado recover faster and build back stronger.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and will be the key to ensuring that our recovery creates an economy that leaves no one behind,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “By investing in rural, minority-owned, veteran-owned and women-owned businesses across the state, the Energize Gap Fund will provide robust, targeted economic relief where it’s needed most.”
“As the summer draws near, our vaccination program continues its successful course and necessary public health protections are relaxed, Colorado’s small businesses are due for a comeback,” said Rep. Lindsey Daugherty, D-Arvada. “This is the perfect time to provide the Energize Gap Fund with a second influx of state stimulus dollars, which will ensure Colorado’s small business community builds back stronger than ever.”
HB21-1302 passed by a vote of 41-23 and is sponsored by Representatives Leslie Herod and Lindsey Daugherty. The bill would provide $15 million to the successful Energize Gap Fund. Colorado established the fund to support as many Colorado businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as possible, but it specifically prioritized rural businesses and those that are majority owned by veterans, women and minorities. HB21-1302 makes modifications to the program to also prioritize businesses that missed out on the initial cycle of funding, businesses in economically distressed areas and for-profit sole proprietorships. Additionally, if the Energize fund is to receive more funds in the future, preference will be given to businesses that rent or have a mortgage payment for the business premises or where the business resides at the same address at the business premises.
HB21-1288 passed by a vote of 40-24 and is sponsored by Representatives Jennifer Bacon and Monica Duran. Business closures have impacted communities across our state, often in different ways, leaving gaps in services and the availability of basic goods. To help fill the need created by COVID-19 related business closures, HB21-1288 provides $30 million in ongoing lending capital to entrepreneurs who face barriers to accessing traditional sources of capital and businesses wishing to restart or reorganize after facing pandemic related financial challenges. People of color have historically faced barriers to accessing the capital necessary to start a new business and have also faced a higher rate of business closures.
“Colorado can build back stronger by creating more options for entrepreneurs to seek and secure the capital they need to start or maintain their business,” said Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “Through this fund, small businesses will be able to access financial products such as small business loans. The pandemic has impacted businesses in so many different ways, and by creating a flexible loan fund, we can help entrepreneurs and business owners who need access to capital to start, restructure or grow their businesses.”
“The Colorado Comeback State Stimulus plan is focused on helping Colorado recover faster and build back stronger, and that’s what the startup loan fund will do by boosting support for entrepreneurs looking to create or expand their business,” said Rep. Monica Duran, D- Wheat Ridge. “Black and Brown communities have faced a disproportionate impact from the pandemic, and so this bill prioritizes entrepreneurs who have faced historic and systemic barriers to accessing the tools they need to kick off their business.”