Four small businesses awarded HELP loans

HARLINGEN — The city’s economic development agency has added four more locally owned small businesses to its zero-interest loan program called HELP.

The Harlingen Economic Loan Program for small business loans can be up to $10,000. The loans are being made with funds from the Harlingen Economic Development Corp.

The loans made this week are the third tranche in what will be five sets of loans. The list of applicants has ranged from restaurants, jewelry stores, beauty and barber establishments and a medical clinic.

This set of loans takes the total number of HELP for Small Business grants to 24. Total funding totals have reached $253,500, with $1 million set aside for the program.

At its last board meeting, the Harlingen EDC approved several changes to the application terms.

The board raised the maximum number of employees of a qualifying local business to 50, and dropped the total revenue lost due to COVID-19 shutdowns and lockdowns to 10 percent. Previously, businesses must have had 25 or fewer workers employed and proof of a 25-percent loss of revenues during the COVID-19 crisis.

These new rules will not be in effect until the City Commission approves.

Small business owners are encouraged to apply at if they believe they meet the loan qualifications.

“It’s great that the city and the EDC have been able to help out with the HELP loan,” said Frankie Flav’z owner, Frank Macias. Macias was recently approved for the HELP for Small Business loan.

“The HEDC and the city started this program to reach those in need, and we are doing that,” said Raudel Garza, the economic agency’s CEO., “This program is also helping us connect better with the small businesses here. Many of them are understanding the resources available to them through the HEDC.

“The reaction to the program has been very positive,” he added.