The landscape of doing business has changed drastically for small businesses since COVID-19, and as Texas begins the process of reopening, this could pose additional challenges moving forward.

According to new results from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey, more than half of respondents indicated a significant negative effect from COVID-19, and an expectation that it will take more than six months for their businesses to return to normal.

There were other significant survey findings:

Of the businesses surveyed in the accommodation and food services sector, 83% experienced a negative effect from the COVID-19 pandemic

31% of respondents expect more than six months will pass before their business returns to a normal operations level

41% of respondents temporarily closed a location for at least one day

However, there is support available for businesses operating under this current dark cloud. Business owners do not have to face these challenges alone.

The following are just some of the resources that may be helpful:

Texas Workforce Commission COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses: https://www.twc.texas.gov/news/covid-19-resources-small-businesses

Denton County COVID-19 Portal: https://covid19.dentoncounty.gov/

The Center for Women Entrepreneurs offers small business advising for women-owned small businesses. Our professional small business advisor can guide you on how you can pivot your business to help support you and your clients during these difficult times. Free virtual and telephone appointments are available at twu.ecenterdirect.com/signup.

In March, the CWE announced the AssistHER grant program, which provided $10,000 grants to 100 women-owned small businesses in Texas that were impacted adversely by the pandemic. The funds will be used for specific operating expenses, technology upgrades or helping to adapt to a new business model. The response to this lifeline for women-owned small businesses was overwhelming. We received close to 5,000 applications requesting assistance. While we wished we could help all small businesses, we are glad we were able to lend a helping hand to some.

Funds were awarded to women-owned businesses throughout Texas, including Abilene, Austin, Brownsville, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Houston, Laredo, Midland, San Antonio and Waco. Business sectors awarded included food service, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, arts and culture, and transportation and logistics. For a list of our grant recipients, visit twu.edu/cwe.

In the coming months, it is increasingly important that, as consumers, we put our local businesses first in line for as many of our purchases as possible. Not only will you help small businesses gain footing during this very difficult time, you will also help keep dollars local, which will help support the incredible quality of life and robust economy we enjoy in Denton County.

Shannon Mantaro is the Director for Texas Woman’s University Center for Women Entrepreneurs and can be reached at smantaro@twu.edu. For more information regarding TWU’s Center for Women Entrepreneurs, visit twu.edu/cwe.

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