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UTSA lending a helping hand to small businesses

The Institute for Economic Development launched a free program to help small businesses survive the Coronavirus pandemic.

SAN ANTONIO — Governor Greg Abbott announced a lifeline for small businesses last week, in the form of $40 million in loans to help owners survive the coronavirus pandemic.

As Abbott also lays out plans to re-open the Texas economy, a program at the University of Texas at San Antonio aims to help small businesses on the path to recover and rebuild.

“What we're aiming to do is have an adviser – a real, live person who knows the system – who is from here, lives in San Antonio, works in San Antonio, helping San Antonio businesses,” said Rod McSherry, associate vice president with the Institute for Economic Development.

This week, UTSA launched the Small Business Development Center COVID-19 Business Recovery Accelerator (COBRA) to help small businesses struggling to survive during the ongoing crisis, which has evolved to also become an economic emergency. 

“It is a severe and stressful situation," McSherry said. "So having somebody who is your counselor or confidential one-on-one, with dedicated service, I think can be a big change."

The Recovery Accelerator is designed to help small business owners navigate funding opportunities, like the Paycheck Protection Program.

McSherry said the COVID-19 Recovery Accelerator is not a lender, but helps businesses understand the process of obtaining loans or re-apply if they are denied. But that’s just one part of the services the program provides.

“It’s one thing to have someone give you some money. It's another thing to have somebody who can help you figure out how best to use it and prepare for getting out of this situation, getting out of this crisis, and preparing yourself for the next and to rebound, really," she said. 

McSherry said the Small Business Center at UTSA has added 20 more advisers to provide counseling and assist in a plan to rebuild and recover. Services also include consulting in finance, human resources, operations, marketing, and business and strategic planning.

The services are free to small businesses with fewer than 500 employees in Bexar County and 10 surrounding counties.

The SBA COVID-19 Recovery Accelerator is part of UTSA’s mission to lend a hand, helping the heart of the economy rise-up and rebuild.

“That's what we set ourselves up to be: the single front door for companies where they could come ask questions, get the guidance, either engage long-term or short-term with us,” McSherry said. 

If you want to contact the COBRA team, call 210-458-2272 or email businessrecovery@utsa.edu. 

Learn more about the resources available at txsbdc.org/businessrecovery. 

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