SEPTEMBER 24, 2020 — When stay-at-home orders were first issued in the spring, the UTSA South-West Texas Border Small Business Development Center Network immediately pivoted existing advising and training services for virtual delivery.
Additionally, CARES Act funding administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration allowed the SBDC to bring additional resources to its 79-county service delivery area with the launch of a new, specialized program to complement its existing footprint: the UTSA SBDC COVID Business Recovery Accelerator.
As part of UTSA’s contributions to COVID recovery, COBRA provides a lifeline of support to small business owners weathering an unpredictable storm. Small businesses impacted by the pandemic face extreme challenges, needing to rapidly reassess their business models as well as current and future markets.
“In the midst of this current disaster, [the SBDC] has been more helpful than words can describe.”
Unique decisions regarding how and when to reopen, evaluating supply chains, workplace safety, financial recovery strategies, training and cybersecurity are just some of the areas the team of professional SBDC advisers are equipped to address.
Staying true to its mission of fostering small business success, COBRA helps owners adapt to change and find solutions so they can get on the road to recovery.
UTSA’s COVID Business Recovery Accelerator Impact by the Numbers
- Strategic partners: 438
- Training programs delivered: 935
- Participants completing training programs: 23,298
- Businesses started: 336
- Jobs created and retained: 9,679
- Total economic impact: $480,090,652
To date, 11,858 entrepreneurs received COVID-19 disaster-related business assistance by phone and using online platforms to communicate. Clients have received over $41 million in SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, SBA Paycheck Protection Program, other SBA loan products and local grant and loan program funding.
One example is Aerial Athletics, a local gym. When owner Heather Schnelzer was forced to shut down the gym because of the pandemic, she turned to business recovery senior project manager Jaime Martinez. Through his guidance, Schnelzer was able to pivot her business model by offering virtual classes and online videos to her clients. Martinez also provided resources such as Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan to help keep her business afloat during the pandemic.
A client of Lisha Garcia, UTSA SBDC senior business adviser and 2020 State Star Adviser of the Year, expressed gratitude and appreciation for Garcia’s ability to assist in shifting her business strategy during the pandemic.
“In the midst of this current disaster, [the SBDC] has been more helpful than words can describe, relaying tremendous amounts of information, responding immediately and seems to be just as concerned about our well-being as we are as the owners,” said Natalie Meeks, owner of the Waters Point Resort in Wimberley.
Additionally, COBRA hosts bimonthly town hall meetings. The town halls offer valuable information for small business owners, addressing questions and issues such as SBA Paycheck Protection legislation, reopening San Antonio and Bexar County businesses, small business workforce comeback, funding for small businesses, road to recovery small business lending and next steps for small business recovery.
⇒ Learn more about SBDC COBRA resources or call 210-458-2272.
Town hall contributors include State Sen. José Menéndez, Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert, and San Antonio City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales plus subject matter experts from various organizations. Reservations for upcoming COVID Business Town Halls and trainings plus viewing past webinars, are available on demand.
COBRA also is taking proactive steps to protect businesses against cyber threats. The Small Business Administration reports cyberattacks are a growing threat for small businesses because of the lack of cyber infrastructure. To increase awareness and explore IT solutions, cybersecurity courses are posted and available for registration through SBDC COBRA online.