San Antonio City Council on April 6 approved federally funded agreements with five local organizations that aim to help area small businesses struggling with economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

City Economic Development Director Brenda Hicks-Sorensen said following a competitive solicitation process, city staff recommended awarding a total of $5.05 million in American Rescue Plan Act money to LISC San Antonio, Maestro Entrepreneur Center, San Antonio for Growth on the East Side, Herospace Digital Consulting and Prosper West, supporting the awardees’ efforts to assist mainly west side business clients with efforts such as backup staffing and enhancing their web presence.

City Manager Erik Walsh said the idea is to boost resiliency in the local small-business community and to address issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Local small businesses are the backbone of San Antonio, and we are proud to support new programs to promote their longevity and growth. These new federally funded programs will increase access to capital, support services, web presence, and other assistance for our local small businesses,” Walsh said in a statement.

According to local officials, through targeted investments and strategic partnerships, San Antonio small businesses will have improved access to the following services:

  • Business owner development and coaching for growth stage companies;
  • Low- or no-fee microlending to increase access to capital;
  • Reduced-cost support services including legal, human resources, and accounting;
  • Assistance to establish a commercial web presence; and
  • Additional networking and professional support through a personalized outreach program.

The city said LISC San Antonio was awarded $3.3 million for different purposes, including microloans, connecting small-business clients with professional services such as accounting and insurance, and staffing resources.

Maestro Entrepreneur Center was awarded $362,000 to help fledgling small businesses with specific solutions to grow their organizations.

SAGE was awarded $432,000 to assist mainly east side businesses with back office support and other resources.

Herospace was awarded $550,000 to help small businesses with digital marketing plans and other digital needs.

Prosper West was awarded $400,000 to link small businesses with funding and educational opportunities.

The funding and priority areas were identified by the $30.95 million ARPA Small Business Implementation Plan approved by City Council last June. The awardees were selected through a competitive request for proposal process, local officials said.

These newly approved contracts, which will take effect in April and run through November 2025, follow last year’s emergency COVID-19 Impact small-business grants funded by $17 million in ARPA state and local recovery funds, city officials said.