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

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A further spherical of funds is coming for Travis County small firms.

Travis County commissioners are considering yet another $8 million in resources from federal aid income, some of which would go towards administrative fees.

The initially spherical of funding in Travis County was approximately $9.4 million and went to additional than 220 little companies as a result of the county’s Thrive System.

“I had to imagine of a new technique the moment the pandemic hit,” mentioned Wilda Harper, proprietor of Tots ‘N Tutors.

Harper has owned Tots ‘N Tutors for 6 a long time now it is an on-the-highway tutoring small business.

“It was the notion of the van that produced them open up up to acquiring 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)
  • Wilda Harper's mobile tutoring van for her business, Tots 'N Tutors. (Courtesy: Wilda Harper)

With the onset of the pandemic, numerous of her clientele had been worried with her coming inside of their houses to present the tutoring solutions. She established the cellular tutoring van to reduce the spread, but uncovered it would value countless numbers to produce the van.

“At very first, I utilized for a scaled-down grant,” mentioned Harper. “I didn’t know I would have to have that significantly, simply because my idea in my head was significantly more compact than it definitely was.”

Travis County gave her about $37,500 as component of the Prosper System using American Rescue Approach Act resources. The income paid for her van, materials and the vinyl wrap, upping her company activity.

“As I’m driving to these spots, individuals would say, ‘I observed your van,’” explained Harper.

Travis County commissioners targeted firms outside of the Austin town restrictions.

“We explained, ‘we are heading to prioritize tiny firms, and especially women of all ages and modest minority-owned corporations,’” mentioned Brigid Shea, Travis County commissioner.

Flipnastics in the northwest aspect of Travis County was also amid the listing of recipients.

“They arrived in proper at a time when we have been beginning to lose hope as to what our foreseeable future looked like,” stated Rachel Shaffer, owner of Flipnastics. “Without any relief from the landlords at that time, none of those matters have been available for industrial corporations at that time.”

Shaffer made use of the roughly $40,000 they bought for a few months rent.

The second round of funding would focus on 143 companies that were being formerly denied funding. Ninety-four of them had been waitlisted, and about 49 were turned away for the reason that of unemployment payments.

Of the 220 that did receive funding, 66% have been owned by gals, and 51% had been minority owned.

“I think at the very least 97% of the enterprises we gave the grant cash to are nevertheless in company,” said Shea.

A likely third round of funding could be coming in the spring. That application could need an fully new application and procurement procedure and would be open to other companies outside of those people who have formerly used.

Commissioners are nevertheless putting jointly a record of skills for equally the 2nd and 3rd spherical of funding.

Candice Cearley

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