The City of Wells and Reno-based Audacity Institute recently partnered to award 22 small businesses up to $25,000 each in forgivable loans.
The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development awarded $500,000 in federal CARES Act money to both entities this summer with a goal of helping rural businesses impacted by the COVID pandemic. The program stipulated loans would be forgiven upon completion of a nine-month online business training and mentorship program through the Audacity Institute.
According to an Oct. 18 press release from GOED, a total of 309 rural entrepreneurs and small business owners from 16 counties applied for the funds that will be distributed through GOED’s Rural Business Assistance (RuBA) Program.
“The overwhelming response … demonstrates the considerable demand for small business funding in combination with technical assistance,” Patty Herzog, GOED Director of Rural Economic and Community Development, said in a statement. “Audacity did an exceptional job meeting with community leaders from Main Streets and Chambers to reach underserved businesses.”
The Audacity Institute implemented a statewide campaign that included direct mail to rural businesses paid for by Greater Nevada Credit Union; ads on social media; and radio, flyer distribution through in-person outreach and collaboration with regional economic development authorities, Nevada Main Street and the Nevada Small Business Development Center.
“Rural business owners face systemic barriers in access to capital and resources to support them in building and growing businesses of the future,” Danielle Rees, Managing Partner at the Audacity Institute, said. “Reliable internet access is another challenge, which is why we went old school with our outreach efforts.”
Of the 309 applicants, 9% were veteran-owned businesses/entrepreneurs, while 55% were female and 29% were minority (highlighted by 16% that were Hispanic/Latino).
“Businesses selected for the program represent a wide range of industries, including agriculture, beauty, construction, education, food, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, retail and technology,” said Kelly Northridge, Managing Partner at Audacity Institute.
The 22 selected businesses represent Carson, Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Humboldt, Nye, Washoe and White Pine counties. They are as follows: Affordable IT Services, Bristlecone Outfitters and Trailhead Motel, Clearview Chiropractic, Fresh Bite Food & Spirits, Green Up, IC Breakout LLC, Jazi’s Greenz LLC, Lotspeich Family Farm, Carter Hair Design, Nevada Built Steel, Nik N Willies Pies, Paper Sails LLC, Salt & Sucre, Secure Exits LLC, Sew Krazy, Skin Therapy & Wellness, Spring Creek Sweet Shop, Star Village Coffee, Taqueria El Compa, Valera’s Bakery, Van-tastic Fashions, and YOUTH Positive. Go to rubanv.com to learn more.