McAllen to launch small bizgrant fund

McALLEN — On Monday, two programs designed to allocate $1 million to small businesses here will begin accepting applications online.

The small business grant program will award $300,000 of the fund to businesses in the form of $5,000 or $10,000 grants while the zero interest loan program will allocate the remaining $700,000.

Mayor Jim Darling says the funds for the program are coming from the city. The chamber will manage the grant program and nonprofit community lender LiftFund, which the city has partnered with previously, will award funds through the zero interest loan program.

“It’s going to be a combination of no-interest and no payments for a certain time to get people on their feet,” Darling said. “That’s the main thing, getting people back in business so they can employ their employees and get back on their feet. It’s been terrible; that’s probably the worst thing, I think. We’ve been relatively fortunate and the numbers are fairly low, but the economic impact, not only stores closing, but knowing all those people and employees behind it, it’s been tough to watch.”

Businesses with $350,000 or less in revenue will be eligible for $5,000 through the grant program while businesses with more than $350,000 in revenue will be eligible for $10,000. Products and services that can be paid for through the fund include launching online presence and sales, replenishing inventory, short-term marketing campaigns, limited interior modifications for health purposes, personal protective equipment and sanitization supplies, and delayed rent, mortgage and utility payments for business property.

“The one key difference on the grants, it’s not paid directly to the business but paid to their third party supplier, so if they’re wanting to do website design, it would be paid to their website design company. If they’re wanting to pay back rent or mortgages, it would be paid directly to the landlord or their mortgage company,” McAllen Chamber President Steve Ahlenius said.

Lists of ineligible businesses, as well as a list of documents needed to apply for the grant funds, are available at

“If they qualify, we’ll then begin the process of working with them on what they want to use the money for,” Ahlenius said.

Ahlenius commended the city on its efforts to make the funds available to local businesses.

“Before COVID-19 there was a lot of lip service being paid to how important small businesses are to a community,” he said. “I think with COVID-19 everybody now realizes small businesses are critical to the success of a community, and I think this is a reflection of the city commission wanting to have an impact on those small businesses in McAllen.”

Grant applications will start being accepted at 9 a.m. June 1.