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New Fund at CFT to Revive Small Businesses

  • Disaster Relief
New Fund at CFT to Revive Small Businesses

The DEC Network Partners with Dallas Regional Chamber, Dallas Citizens Council in collaboration with CFT to Aid Small Businesses

The DEC Network (formerly the Dallas Entrepreneur Center), in collaboration with the Communities Foundation of Texas and LiftFund, is announcing the Revive Dallas Small Business Relief Fund, a $5 million relief loan fund to support primarily minority and women-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 crisis. To date, more than $1 million has already been committed to the fund.

These loans, which are forgivable if certain milestones are met, are a means of filling the gap for small businesses and entrepreneurs who either have not been able to get relief through the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Relief Fund or Paycheck Protection Program or who did receive funds but they were not enough to sustain the business.


“We started seeing small businesses and entrepreneurs affected by COVID-19 that haven’t been able to get the resources they need to survive, such as funding, mentorship and access to a breadth of organizations across the region that can help,” said Trey Bowles, co-founder and executive chairman of the DEC Network. “We decided to focus the efforts of The DEC Network to provide these necessary resources in combination with funding to help businesses stay open or re-open as this crisis passes, with the business community taking care of its own.”

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson supports the loan program, which requires applicants to have businesses based in the City of Dallas. Mayor Johnson also supported the creation of a $5 million Small Business Continuity Fund, run by the City of Dallas.


“Small businesses are the heart of the Dallas economy, and I am grateful that the Revive Dallas Small Business Relief Fund will be available to help many of them get through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mayor Johnson said. “This loan program will be a boon to our city and serves as an outstanding example of how our community comes together in times of crisis to help those in need.”

Small businesses and entrepreneurs who meet the fund’s criteria can apply for loans of up to $25,000. The DEC Network says the loans will help more than 250 applicants. The pre-qualification process began at ReviveDallasFund.com on Wednesday, May 27. On Sunday, June 7, the formal application process opened and will remain open for one week, then qualified applicants will go through a lottery process to find out who will receive funds.

Once approved, the funds will reach businesses within seven days of acceptance. Loans can be used at the recipients’ discretion, but the usage needs to be communicated to the LiftFund and there will be accountability built into the fund-spending process.

Key criteria necessary to obtain funding include (but are not limited to):

  • Business must be in operation since August 2019
  • Annual gross revenues must not exceed $1.5 million
  • Businesses can have no more than 15 employees
  • Businesses must be able to demonstrate a loss of at least 15% of revenue since March 1 due to the COVID-19 crisis

Loan forgiveness is possible if companies do such things as joining the DEC Network’s Fast Start Mentoring Program or other available mentor platform, submitting a 2021 budget and a 2020 profit and loss statement, filing 2019 taxes and retaining employees through the crisis.

The fund will be initiated by the DEC Network, with the application and loan process going through LiftFund, and the Communities Foundation of Texas acting as the fiscal sponsor. In addition to Mayor Johnson, the fund also has support from organizations including the Dallas Regional Chamber, Dallas Citizens Council, the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Major donors include professional organizations, corporations, foundations and individuals. To date, the fund already has received commitments of more than $1 million from donors including Comerica Bank, Texas Capital Bank, John Olajide (founder and CEO of Axxess and 2020 chair of the Dallas Regional Chamber), Andres Ruzo (CEO of LinkAmerica) and other private foundations.


“The Dallas Regional Chamber, along with our 800 member companies and more than 500,000 employees of those companies, is committed to supporting the small businesses in our community that are struggling right now, through no fault of their own,” said Olajide. “We celebrate our small businesses in good times, and we must come together to lift them up through unprecedented challenges.”

“Dallas Citizens Council is focused on initiatives that spur inclusive economic growth and shared prosperity for all of Dallas,” said Fred Perpall, chairman of Dallas Citizens Council. “The Revive Dallas fund provides small businesses in our community the opportunity to keep doing business and ensures they will remain part of our economic ecosystem. These are the moments where Dallas Citizens Council members lead and serve the people of Dallas.”

“For the past month, CFT for Business has been working on this effort. It’s been such a pleasure collaborating with individuals and organizations that understand the needs of small businesses, especially those owned by people of color and women. We’re thankful to have Dallas Mayor, Eric Johnson’s endorsement as well”, said Sejal Desai.

Donations to the Revive Dallas fund are tax-deductible. If you would like to make a donation, go to ReviveDallasFund.com.

Recent Media Features: Revive Dallas Small Business Relief Fund

The Dallas Morning News: Dallas small business owners can seek up to $25,000 from new  relief fund

Dallas Innovates: Revive Dallas Small Business Relief Fund to Provide $5M for Entrepreneurs

D Magazine: The DEC Network Creates Fund to Aid Local Small Businesses

Dallas Weekly: Private Business Community Response to Pandemic

NBCDFW: Small Businesses Still Have Time to Apply for COVID-19 Relief

Revive Small Business Fund: Mayor Eric Johnson

Carolyn A. Newham, J.D.
Carolyn A. Newham, J.D.
General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

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