As originally published by Texas Border Business newsprint edition January 2018
Many small businesses in the Rio Grande Valley, are looking to either grow or start but the one thing they lack is the economic support to go on. One of the most common obstacles for them is that they are not eligible to take a loan from a bank for a number of different reasons. This is why LiftFund was created.
LiftFund is a nonprofit organization that helps businesses and business owners to make their dream come true. For more than 20 years, LiftFund has been supporting small businesses with support, guidance, and education on finance management.
“With our programs, we try to help them to obtain capital, to keep working or to launch their business,” Sara Saldaña, Senior Vice President of the LiftFund South Texas Region, said. “We have been operating for more than 20 years, started in San Antonio Texas and now we cover the whole Valley.”
It was after Lincoln’s administration that the idea of LiftFund started. According to Saldaña, there was a nationwide census to understand why the economy was diminishing, and it turned out that small businesses were the motor to increase the economy.
“There wasn’t enough support for small businesses. The government started to increase the support for those small businesses from Washington,” she said. “And Lift Fund started in San Antonio after that.”
LiftFund has now extended to more than 13 states where they support small businesses.
Saldaña said that the way that LiftFund works is “We request funding from the government, private sponsors, and banking organizations. There are also some organizations that come and provide a certain amount of money for us to lend and they only require a percentage back. There are private donors, private investors and the government, that support us.”
LOCAL PROGRAMS AVAILABLE
“Here in the Valley, there is a specific program for the Colonias. USDA gave us funding specifically to help out the businesses that are located in the Colonias,” Saldaña said.
LiftFund cares about local issues, and in an effort to support one of the most poverty-stricken communities in the Valley they created, alongside with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a program to support the small businesses in the Colonias.
“There’s another program in McAllen that The City of McAllen funds yearly that is specifically to help out small businesses in McAllen,” she said.
The City of McAllen and LiftFund formed a partnership to help out small businesses that have limited access to capital from commercial sources.
“They can obtain a loan and the City of McAllen pays the interest, the business owners don’t have to worry about it.”
Sara Saldaña explained that LiftFund’s main focus is to help small businesses to make their dreams come true. They work with many partners like banks, private sponsors, and organizations like the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).
“Lift Fund is a nonprofit organization, and we help business owners to make their dream come true. We support them, give them guidance and education on how to keep their finances organized, we guide them on how to make a business plan and we have partners like SBDC and SBA,” she said.