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Posted on: February 1, 2017

NEW INITIATIVE WILL PROVIDE GRANTS TO ENTREPRENEURS AND BUSINESS OWNERS FROM SMALL COMMUNITIES

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Hidalgo County is looking at a new initiative that proposes to use $494,000 to provide grants to deserving entrepreneurs and business owners from communities with populations no greater than 20,000 residents.

"This new project will allow the county to spur economic development in smaller communities that may not have the same resources as their larger neighbors," said County Judge Ramon Garcia. "The cities of Mission and McAllen already have similar grant programs and we plan to use their programs as a model." 

The county has the opportunity to access unclaimed funds from the state Comptroller's office. The money is from unclaimed Electric Cooperative reimbursement checks to businesses and are restricted for use in economic development projects. 

Commissioners Court members all said they like the idea of the new project, when the item was presented for information and discussion.

A committee comprised of professionals in the financial, education, and business sectors, as well as past grant recipients from the McAllen and Mission programs, will evaluate grant proposals and award funds based on merit, Garcia said, adding that Commissioners Court wants to take politics out of the process.

"We believe the growth and success of our communities is key to the growth and success of Hidalgo County," Garcia said. "This new program will help promote economic prosperity in our smaller communities."

The county also plans to partner with the Small Business Development Center at UTRGV to provide assistance in preparing grant proposals for qualified applicants.

Once details are worked out, Judge's Office staff will bring it back to Commissioners Court for approval.
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