DENVER, CO– Lawmakers, joined by OEDIT Director Betsey Markey and officials from the Energize Colorado Gap Fund, today formally launched the $20 million small business assistance grant program created by SB20-222. Small businesses may be eligible for a grant of up to $15,000. The Energize Colorado Gap Fund, which is operating the program, will also offer loans of up to $20,000, increasing the assistance available through the program to $25 million to date.
“Boosting Colorado small businesses is essential for our state’s economic recovery and will help hardworking families make ends meet while strengthening our communities,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley, House sponsor of the legislation. “Economic assistance has kept thousands of Colorado businesses open, but too many haven’t been able to access this critical lifeline and need just a little help to stay afloat. That’s why we set aside $20 million to help business owners who have been left behind. I encourage any small business owner who may need assistance to reach out to the Energize Colorado Gap Fund.”
“Small businesses’ survival is fundamental to our own. Not only do they represent community pillars, but they stand central to the American dream as well,” said Sen. Faith Winer, D-Westminster. “Something has happened in this country where large corporations are deemed too big to fail while the aspirations of everyday Americans are left to wither in the cold. We need to throw a life raft to those who need it most and work to preserve the great commercial diversity we have in our state. I would encourage any small business who is struggling right now to reach out to Energize Colorado for help applying. The process is fast and accessible– requiring only 15-20 minutes for most businesses to complete!
“Colorado’s small businesses are the heart of our state’s economy,” said Sen. Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village. “So much of our hardworking, creative, entrepreneurial spirit is thanks to these unique local shop owners and service providers. But sadly, many have been hit hard by the pandemic and are in desperate need of relief. That’s why I am so proud to be a part of launching the new Energize Colorado Gap Fund program. Now, struggling small businesses can get critical support when they need it most – protecting the prolific beauty of our state’s rugged ingenuity. Go to energizecolorado.com to apply and we will continue working for the strong Colorado comeback.”
“We are grateful to Colorado’s General Assembly for allocating $20M of CARES Act funding directly to Colorado’s distressed small businesses,” said OEDIT Executive Director Betsy Markey. “These funds provide essential support to help our small businesses during their time of need that enables them to maintain operations and allow our small businesses to join our continued economic recovery.”
After resuming the legislative session in May, the General Assembly passed SB20-222, which set aside $20 million in federal CARES Act funding to establish a grant program to boost small businesses with 25 or fewer employees. All sole proprietors, businesses and nonprofits with 25 or fewer employees are eligible and welcome to apply to the Energize Colorado Gap Fund. Preference will be given to businesses located in rural areas; veteran, women or minority-owned businesses; and those that have not been successful in pursuing and/or receiving funds from other federal, state and local assistance programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program.
Applicants must be able to show the economic hardship their business is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Energize Colorado has a mentorship program for small businesses that are interested in applying for the Gap Fund. The Mentorship Program is available to help small businesses ready the documentation and other materials they will need to successfully apply. Mentors may be reached by phone, email and online chat from the Gap Fund website.