Officials with the city of San Antonio are partnering with LiftFund to relaunch and expand an interest-free loan program to help boost local small-business owners.

The background

According to a Feb. 1 news release, owners of eligible San Antonio small businesses are encouraged to apply for interest-free loans up to $100,000 in a larger effort to bolster the local entrepreneurial landscape.

The release stated city officials leveraged funding from the fiscal year 2023-24 general fund budget and American Rescue Plan Act monies, along with matching funds from LiftFund and Wells Fargo, for an increased investment of $2 million in funding for the loans over two years.

City officials said the program is designed to aid owners of existing eligible San Antonio small businesses or those planning to begin and grow in town with anywhere from $500 to $100,000 in interest-free loans, which can be used to support various business needs from expansion and startup costs to staffing and daily operations.

Program eligibility focuses on businesses that have yet to benefit from this program in the past two years and those unable to secure conventional financing, the release states.

Representatives for the city and LiftFund said many small-business owners have a hard time accessing vital capital.

Since 2016, San Antonio's interest-free loan program has distributed more than $7 million in interest-free capital for local small businesses.

What they’re saying

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the city’s increased investment for the loan program lowers a barrier for business owners to access capital at a key time in their growth and success.

“Investing in our small businesses embodies our commitment to fostering innovation, generating employment and bolstering the city's economic well-being,” Nirenberg said in a statement.

LiftFund President and CEO Laurie Vignaud said the city’s reinvestment in the interest-free program demonstrates local leaders’ commitment to San Antonio’s small-business community.

“Our gratitude extends to Wells Fargo for augmenting our mission, helping us set the stage for a year filled with substantial growth and prosperity,” Vignaud said in a statement.