LiftFund looking for help from city for small businesses

City Hall remains closed due to cold weather
Posted at 2:01 PM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-27 20:22:55-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A national non-profit which helps local businesses with loans is now asking the city for some money.

Since 2004, LiftFund has helped nearly 600 local businesses secure close to $10 million in loans. LiftFund asked the city's Type B Board for a $100,000 grant Monday to fund its new Dream Maker Fund program, which will help more local businesses.

The Storybooks School on the city's south side is one of hundreds of local LiftFund success stories. Owner Sandy Cantu opened the school in 2010 after nearly two decades of running her business out of her home.

“We immediately filled up, we had very good response,” said Cantu. “By January, we were already expanding.”

In a few short months, Storybooks grew from 23 students to 90. Cantu needed to expand again but found finding funding difficult.

“If you do not have two full years of tax returns, sometimes three, banks will not offer you a business loan,” said Laura Leal Estrada.

Estrada was working as a banker when she recommended Cantu try LiftFund in 2011. Now, Estrada is the non-profit's market manager. Since 2011, LiftFund has helped Storybooks secure four loans, totaling about $200,000.

“They've been at our side, helping us through every step that we've taken,” said Cantu.

LiftFund loans not only helped Cantu expand her business, they also allowed her to hire 28 additional employees; jobs that still exist today.

To date, LiftFund has created or saved more than 500 local jobs. Those jobs are why LiftFund said every dollar it lends generates $14 for the local economy.

“Business owners are paying revenue to the city, they're also paying revenue to the county,” said Estrada. “What we're doing is impactfully generating revenue for our fair community.”

And thanks to the new Dream Maker Fund, LiftFund can help businesses with more funding.

“Now we have two separate programs,” said Estrada. “One that's funding the principle sum of money, and the other that brings the interest rate down to 5.5%.”

The Type B Board approved recommending the grant. No word yet on when the city council will consider it.

Local entrepreneurs interested in getting loans through LiftFund can call (361) 834-8428 or 888-215-2373. LiftFund’s local office is located in the Del Mar College Center for Economic Development on Staples Street, across from W.B. Ray High School.