The court had already allocated $9.4 million to 224 small businesses in Travis County in its first round of funding through its TCTX Thrive program, with the average reimbursement at $37,688. Those dollars came from the Local Fiscal Recovery Fund of the American Rescue Plan Act.
“We feel like that is a great success, and [we] are really happy with the results of the Thrive program,” said Christy Moffett, Travis County’s interim director of economic development and strategic investments. “You can tell the assistance really helped support businesses to stay open through these very challenging times.”
The latest approved funding will target the 143 businesses that were on the waitlist or had been previously denied funding. The presentation showed that 94 businesses are on the waitlist, and 49 businesses had been turned away because they had received unemployment payments.
The second round of funding would include a $40,000 grant maximum, the same amount as the first round of funding. The county has dedicated $8 million to the second round with most of those dollars likely going to small businesses and some funds for administrative costs, Moffett said.
The Travis County effort prioritized minority- and women-owned businesses with women-owned businesses accounting for 66% and minority-owned 51% of the 224 businesses that received funding thus far.
“We made it clear from the very beginning that we wanted to have this kind of small-business assistance really prioritize small, minority-owned, women-owned businesses, because we saw at the national level that all these Fortune 500 companies were getting millions of dollars, which they clearly didn't need,” Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea said.
Commissioners acknowledged that there is still work to be done to provide support to businesses struggling due to the pandemic.
“I'm very proud of what has been done, but there will also be a discussion about there are probably hundreds and thousands of other small businesses that would like to make sure that they know how to access these types of resources,” Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion said.
Moffett added that staffers plan to bring a proposal to the court in the spring for a third round of funding aimed at long-term small-business needs in the county.