The Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance (WBEA) announced receiving a U.S. Small Business Administration Women’s Business Center expansion grant through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to increase services to small businesses in south Texas as they recover from the COVID-19 shutdown.
While working from home for two months during the COVID-19 shutdown, the WBEA team-maintained communication with certified entities, corporate members, and current WBEA Women’s Business Center (WBC) clients. The full team went into fast action assisting with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) resources and learning about immediate business continuity needs we all planned to rebound from the shutdown and beyond.
“We are excited to broaden our services to support the small business community and certified businesses as they modify how they are doing business in this new uncertain environment,” WBEA President April Day said. “With the additional funding we are able to assist more small businesses mitigate disruptions, avoid layoffs and/or closing their doors altogether which becomes essential to recovering from this global crisis.”
In order to support small business owners, WBEA surveyed their network and received valuable data. Day was pleased to find that 93% of certified businesses in the WBEA network were still operating in the midst of the nationwide shutdown. More than half were operating with their full staff while 40% were either half staffed or working with a limited staff. Eighty-nine percent reported disruptions or delays in current contracts and projects which greatly reduced their economic resources.
The CARES Act Grant enables the WBEA to expand their current WBC and procurement programs to address business disruptions, loss of capital, and ease the burden on small businesses. Additional services include virtual training, one-on-one coaching/counseling, mentoring, procurement matchmaking for small businesses with corporate buyers and/or supplier diversity professionals, and access to capital.
Day stressed this grant strengthens the WBEA’s ability to support business recovery. She is confident through additional support small businesses will not only survive, but will thrive while adjusting.
“Our ultimate goal is doing business 'unusual' by developing creative programing and services so businesses can remain viable and recover from this economic setback,” Day said. “I am confident small business owners will successfully emerge and we look forward to assisting them make transformational contributions to our community and economy.”