County's economic development wins award for its efforts
Last updated 12/21/2021 at 4:18pm
The El Paso County Economic Development Department is the 2021 recipient of the Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (SCWCC) Community Champion award. This award is in recognition of the tremendous work the Economic Development team has done, and continues to do, in supporting El Paso County’s local businesses.
In response to the economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, El Paso County’s Economic Development designed and implemented four different relief fund programs to assist the community’s businesses and nonprofits in their economic recovery. These programs utilized funds received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and contributions to the Pikes Peak Enterprise Zone (EZ) Business Relief Fund to provide tangible assistance to local businesses and nonprofits throughout the pandemic and towards economic recovery.
Economic Development, with the support of the El Paso Board of County Commissioners, and in partnership with Colorado Enterprise Fund, a nonprofit lender certified CDFI and nationally recognized SBA microlender, has worked tirelessly to ensure that each dollar benefitted as many struggling local businesses as possible.
The first round of assistance occurred in October of 2020. El Paso County’s Regional Business Relief Fund gave support to 864 different small businesses and nonprofits with grants up to $20,000 to assist with business operational costs incurred due to the COVID-19 economic disruption. El Paso County distributed $13,858,528 in grant funding with an average grant amount of $16,040 per organization assisted. 56% of these organizations self-identified as women, minority, or veteran-owned small businesses and nonprofits.
This year, El Paso County’s Economic Development Department awarded $10,381,441 in grants to 627 local small businesses and nonprofits as part of the second round of El Paso County Regional Business Relief Fund grants. Applications for the Regional Business Relief Fund were collected, analyzed, and scored by Colorado Enterprise Fund, with final evaluation and grant award decisions made by El Paso County’s Economic Development Oversight Committee. Local small businesses and nonprofits awarded grants experienced a disruption and decrease in business operation and workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the 627 businesses that received grants, 525 were small businesses, and 102 were nonprofits. 65% of recipients self-identified as women or minority or veteran owned businesses and nonprofits. The average amount awarded is $16,557.
Crystal LaTier, Executive Director of Economic Development, was presented the award on December 14, 2021 at the SCWCC Holiday Luncheon Gala. “What a tremendous honor we received from the Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber (SCWCC),” said Crystal. “SCWCC continues to be an invaluable partner and advocate for the business community throughout our region. Throughout the pandemic they have stepped up to assist businesses by promoting access to government relief funding programs—like the Regional Business Relief Fund administered by El Paso County. El Paso County Economic Development looks forward to our continued partnership with SCWCC- and applauds them for their continued service, innovation, and efforts ensuring economic vitality in our great community.”