Rio Nuevo offers small businesses help applying for government funding

Published: Apr. 1, 2020 at 12:34 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced small businesses rocked by the COVID-19 outbreak will be able to apply for assistance later this week.

“The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration (SBA) announced further details on the Paycheck Protection Program, which was made possible by the $2 trillion relief bill I signed into law last week,” said Trump. “Nearly $350 billion in loans will soon be available through lending partners to help small businesses meet payroll and other expenses for up to two months. These loans will be forgiven as long as businesses keep paying their workers, this includes sole proprietors and independent contractors. Applications will be accepted starting this Friday, April 3rd.”

“Typically, governmental forms are daunting to people,” said Dan Meyers, the Chief Financial Officer of Rio Nuevo.

The Rio Nuevo District is made up of about 1,000 businesses throughout downtown Tucson. Meyers says the agency is offering help to small business owners when it comes to applying for financial assistance.

“[We are helping our small businesses] in reviewing the application process and, in some instances, actually helping them perform those applications,” said Meyers. “There are two federal programs available. [The Economic Injury Disaster loan] is related to payroll and paychecks and keeping your employees on board. That’s a fairly simple process, it’s done directly through the SBA. Then, there’s the [Paycheck Protection Program loan] which is basically turning into a grant, it’s a forgiven loan. That’s done with your bank in conjunction with the SBA.”

“RTA’s and local credit unions have been very helpful,” said Donna Smith, the Owner and CEO of Arizona Auto Refrigeration and APPAK in Tucson. “The SBA – which is where you have to go for the larger loans –is just not helpful, it's confusing like all government jargon.”

Smith says her business, located on Broadway Boulevard near Euclid Avenue, was already facing challenges with the Broadway Expansion project. Now, she is dealing with the fallout from the coronavirus on top of it.

“We definitely had a double whammy,” said Smith.

Even though her business is considered “essential” and therefore allowed to remain open, Smith says she is bracing for a severe hit.

“I know right now, just this last month, we have taken over an $60,000 hit just in the parts side,” she said. “The hits we are going to be taking will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and for a small business, that’s hard.”

She says for many businesses, financial assistance could mean the difference between continuing to serve the community, while offering employment, or closing for good.

“I have spent days on the phone and on the internet just scouring for help,” said Smith.

That’s why she booked an appointment with Rio Nuevo as soon as she heard they are helping businesses applying for loans.

“It is huge!” she said. “I already have appointment for tomorrow, it doesn’t get any better than that. They [also] have free help for you with marketing during this time, use it. These people are great. There are services you may not be aware of.”

To book an appointment call (520) 623-7336 or click HERE.

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.