Small Business Continuity Program
Click here for updated information on the status of Small Business Continuity Program applications and approved disbursements.
The Oklahoma City Council approved the use of $5.5 million of Economic and Community Development funds for the Small Business Continuity Program, which provides COVID-19 disaster relief. The Council later added an additional $5 million of community support funding from Oklahoma City's Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocation.
Local businesses were invited to apply from April 6-17 at okcSmallBizHelp.com, with more than 600 applications received by the deadline.
As expected, requests for funding and technical assistance far exceeded the $10 million available in the program. An internal team of 18 reviewers checks applications for compliance with requirements, and the committee making funding decisions ranks qualifying applications based on need. A disbursement committee of eight people makes the final award determination, with cash payments and loan disbursements under way since early May. The committee members are:
- Cathy O'Connor, president and CEO of The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City
- Jeff Seymour, executive vice president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
- Brent Bryant, Finance Department director, City of Of Oklahoma City
- Joanna McSpadden, Economic Development program manager, City of Oklahoma City
- Joanne Davis, executive director of the Oklahoma City Black Chamber of Commerce
- David Castillo, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Maurianna Adams, executive director of Progress OKC
- Kevin Calabrese, senior vice president of BancFirst
There are three main programs: an incentive program with cash reimbursements for retained employee payroll, forgivable or low-interest loans, and technical assistance with pandemic-related business challenges.
Reviewers determined about 100 of the applications do not meet eligibility requirements, in many cases because the businesses are not located within Oklahoma City limits.
Companies that meet the minimum requirements and apply for a loan are evaluated by bank underwriters, and scored. The disbursement committee completes the evaluation and finalizes the list of recipients, and loan and reimbursement amounts.
The final list of recipients will be presented to the City Council by the end of June.
More about the bond package
The bond package includes $60 million for economic and community development projects, with $10 million designated for affordable housing and $50 million for job creation programs.
Continued investment in job incentive programs with a proven track record in Oklahoma City are part of the new bond program. The City has experience working with employers who meet specific performance goals in return for incentives that make it possible for them to create new jobs.
Bond-funded redevelopment programs give investors an incentive to revitalize and restore once-struggling commercial areas. These targeted partnerships can be the start of a neighborhood transformation that attracts other private investments.
The ongoing effort to grow and diversify Oklahoma City’s economy and to redevelop promising neighborhoods and commercial districts ensures we’ll always have quality jobs for our residents. It’s important to have a growing employment base in a wide range of modern industries with promising futures.
Smart public investments that capitalize on other local advantages help Oklahoma City stay competitive in the global marketplace. Attracting and keeping employers that pay good wages and invest in the local economy benefits everyone who lives and works here.
Making targeted investments in older areas can help turn underperforming commercial districts into thriving hubs of small businesses serving and employing Oklahoma City residents, and lifting nearby neighborhoods.
Examples from the 2007 Bond Program
Bonds issued since 2007 have funded incentive programs that created 7,300 new jobs in Oklahoma City with an estimated annual payroll of $481 million added to the local economy. These bonds also helped spur nearly $800 million in private capital spending projects. Participating employers include General Electric, Boeing, AAA and Paycom, among many others.