Pueblo County and child care businesses can apply for next round of Gap Fund loans | New

Pueblo County business owners and the child care sector can now join the waitlist for the latest round of Energize Colorado Gap Fund loans through the Energize Community Program.

Through ECP, Energize Colorado will send $5.7 million in low-interest loans directly to business owners for needs such as debt consolidation, capital improvements, payroll, rent, utilities, working capital, equipment and inventory.

Applications close July 14.

ECP was designed in collaboration with community leaders and has three components:

• Financing readiness workshops to introduce loan products and educate business owners on documentation;

• Gap Fund low-interest loans up to $20,000; and

• Energize Community Accelerator – an intensive 14-week program designed to increase business resilience and long-term growth in underserved communities.

The programming was designed based on a Small Business Resilience Index, which measures a business owner’s ability to get back on their feet and build resilience for the future. Accelerator participants will complete a pre- and post-SBRI assessment.

Since launching the Gap Fund in May 2020, Energize Colorado has partnered with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Colorado Housing and Finance Authorityand the state network of CDFIs and regional loan funds.

These partnerships have enabled Energize Colorado to provide $43 million so far on behalf of state partners to small businesses in need of financial assistance. Energize Colorado will expand its capacity by providing ECP capital through a revolving loan fund.

“We’ve listened and learned from small business owners and community partners that businesses continue to struggle,” said Wendy Lea, co-founder and CEO of Energize Colorado. “With rising inflation and limited access to new capital, we created ECP to directly address these concerns. Along with our acceleration program, we are working with grantees to ensure the money is deployed to drive growth and resilience.

“We believe small business resilience is enhanced when capital is integrated with technical assistance, and our ECP model brings these two elements together.”

Business owners in the four targeted ECP areas (Pueblo County, Child Care Industry, East Colfax, and Southwest Denver) with 25 or fewer employees are eligible for ECP Gap Fund loans.

To apply, visit energizecolorado.com/ecp.

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