Small business owner uses Travis County COVID-19 grant to build mobile tutoring van

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — An additional round of revenue is coming for Travis County little enterprises.

Travis County commissioners are thinking of a further $8 million in cash from federal relief income, some of which would go towards administrative fees.

The initially spherical of funding in Travis County was roughly $9.4 million and went to additional than 220 small enterprises as a result of the county’s Prosper Plan.

“I experienced to think of a new strategy once the pandemic hit,” claimed Wilda Harper, proprietor of Tots ‘N Tutors.

Harper has owned Tots ‘N Tutors for 6 several years now it’s an on-the-street tutoring business.

“It was the strategy of the van that created them open up to getting that individualized instruction,” said Harper.

  • Wilda Harper's mobile tutoring van for her business, Tots 'N Tutors. (Courtesy: Wilda Harper)
  • Wilda Harper's mobile tutoring van for her business, Tots 'N Tutors. (Courtesy: Wilda Harper)
  • Wilda Harper's mobile tutoring van for her business, Tots 'N Tutors. (Courtesy: Wilda Harper)

With the onset of the pandemic, many of her clientele were anxious with her coming inside of their houses to offer the tutoring services. She produced the cellular tutoring van to alleviate the spread, but found it would price tag countless numbers to produce the van.

“At very first, I used for a more compact grant,” claimed Harper. “I didn’t know I would need that a great deal, for the reason that my plan in my head was substantially more compact than it really was.”

Travis County gave her about $37,500 as element of the Thrive Plan using American Rescue Plan Act cash. The money paid for her van, provides and the vinyl wrap, upping her business sport.

“As I’m driving to these places, people today would say, ‘I saw your van,’” reported Harper.

Travis County commissioners focused companies outdoors of the Austin metropolis boundaries.

“We explained, ‘we are going to prioritize compact organizations, and especially gals and tiny minority-owned enterprises,’” claimed Brigid Shea, Travis County commissioner.

Flipnastics in the northwest component of Travis County was also among the the checklist of recipients.

“They came in appropriate at a time when we were being starting up to eliminate hope as to what our long term looked like,” mentioned Rachel Shaffer, operator of Flipnastics. “Without any reduction from the landlords at that time, none of those issues were obtainable for business businesses at that time.”

Shaffer made use of the about $40,000 they got for 3 months rent.

The next round of funding would focus on 143 enterprises that ended up earlier denied funding. Ninety-four of them were being waitlisted, and about 49 had been turned absent mainly because of unemployment payments.

Of the 220 that did obtain funding, 66% ended up owned by girls, and 51% ended up minority owned.

“I think at the very least 97% of the businesses we gave the grant funds to are however in small business,” reported Shea.

A opportunity third round of funding could be coming in the spring. That software could demand an totally new software and procurement method and would be open up to other firms outdoors of people who have beforehand applied.

Commissioners are still placing alongside one another a record of skills for both of those the next and 3rd spherical of funding.

Maria Flores

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