Grant developed to help Brownwood businesses after COVID

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
A section of downtown Brownwood is viewed from Center Street. The Brownwood Municipal Development Corp. has approved a grant to help businesses post-COVID.

The Brownwood Municipal Development District (BMDD) has approved a reimbursement grant program to support local businesses who are adapting and innovating their operations for post-COVID success.

The Brownwood Innovation and Expansion Grant Program will provide a one-time reimbursement of up to $2500 to businesses who have (or will have) purchased equipment, supplies or software to adapt their business model after March 1, 2020.

Qualifications include:

• Locally owned, commercial small business

• Businesses must be inside Brownwood city limits

• Businesses must be a sales tax-producing business

• Paid receipts must be submitted with the grant application

• Explanation of the purchase purpose in relation to an adaptive business model must be submitted

The grant program was approved by the BMDD Board of Directors on June 16, 2020, and comes after careful BMDD consideration of business needs in Brownwood.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, BMDD has been monitoring the effect on local businesses and providing assistance to connect businesses in need with the appropriate support or assistance program,” Ray Tipton, executive director, said. “A recent business assessment survey indicates that the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) has accommodated the majority of financial help our local businesses need to whether state-mandated closures and limitations.”

The survey indicates that only 15 percent of local businesses need additional financial support to prevent closures.

Overall, less than one-third of businesses surveyed felt that their businesses were in danger of permanently closing.

However, nearly two-thirds of businesses had to make some sort of adjustment to their business model to adapt to the changing business conditions.

“Our businesses are having to spend more cash — purchasing inventory and supplies — to reopen safely and handle more normal sales volumes as they reopen safely,” Tipton says. “The purpose of this grant fund is to help Brownwood small businesses adapt their business model to changing business conditions because of the COVID-19 pandemic and retain many of these new innovative ideas beyond the pandemic as a business expansion opportunity.”

Mayor Stephen Haynes said the vibrancy of Brownwood “is a direct result of the entrepreneurs and business owners that make our community a special place to call home. The city, along with the BMDD, is sensitive to the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presented our local businesses. To that end, we are excited to see — and support — owners thinking creatively and adapting for continued success.”

Initially, the program will allocate up to $50,000 for qualified applications that are processed and funded on a weekly basis. Eligible applicants can find more information and application materials at business-grant-fund.