This resource page includes services to help small businesses and sole proprietors that are recovering from economic hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Select the drop-down menus below to find resources related to funding, employee assistance, legal aid, consulting help, and more.​

Contact the City of Austin if you have questions about this list or would like to recommend additional resources for inclusion.

Grants and Funding

 

City of Austin Economic Development Department: Small Business Resource Directory

The City of Austin Economic Development Department maintains list of local, state, federal and community resources for small businesses, sole proprietors and non-profits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the Small Business Resource Directory and filter by “Disaster Relief” to find immediate support for your business or non-profit organization.

 

Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance Program (Reopened)

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal. SBA’s EIDL program offers long-term, low interest assistance for a small business or non-profits. Additionally, the EIDL Advance will provide up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) of emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties, and these emergency grants do not have to be repaid.

 

Business & Community Lenders of Texas 

Business & Community Lenders of Texas can help guide small businesses through the SBA loan process and answer other questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Economic Growth Business Incubator 

The Economic Growth Business Incubator provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business. EGBI staff is available to assist business owners navigate through this crisis remotely. 

 

PeopleFund

PeopleFund provides small business loans as well as business assistance and education to people with otherwise limited access to such resources. PeopleFund has a suite of quick turn-around, disaster assistance loans to meet business needs during COVID-19. 

  • Stand with Austin - This program aims to help arts, music & creative (including technical), service & bar and hospitality businesses but it is also open to other kind of businesses that can demonstrate a direct negative impact by the cancellation of SXSW. Participants in this program receive loans from $5,000 to $150,000 with concessionary interest rates and the first 6 months of payments totally forgiven.
  • Relief for Restaurants in Austin - A program to support restaurants in the Austin area during the current crisis. Participants in this relief fund receive financial assistance in the form of loans from $5,000 to $150,000 with interest rates of 5% or less and the first 6 months of payments totally forgiven.

 

LiftFund 

LiftFund provides small business loans and minority business loans for women, startups, and entrepreneurs. LiftFund is hosting seminars online to help business owners navigate forward during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Additional Resources

Employee Assistance

 

ConnectATX COVID-19 Services

Visit ConnectATX to find up-to-date information on food, housing, transportation, child care, parenting classes, job training, COVID-19 vaccine, and more.

 

Early Matters Greater Austin COVID-19 Resources

The Early Matters Greater Austin COVID-19 Resources Guide helps employers and employees find resources on managing work and childcare. Discover several ways in which employers can respond to the needs of their employees and offer innovative family-friendly support in the COVID-19 era.

 

Workforce Solutions Capital Area

Workforce Solutions Capital Area offers multiple services to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The suite of services includes:

  • Help finding talent
  • Outplacement assistance
  • Layoff aversion strategies and funding
  • Information on filing mass unemployment claims
  • Employment training assistance and funding

Email rapidresponse@wfscapitalarea.com to be contacted by the Workforce Solutions Capital Area staff.

Business Coaching and Classes

 

City of Austin Small Business Division

The City of Austin Economic Development Department's Small Business Division provides business training, educational events, and coaching to empower entrepreneurs and small business owners. The Small Business Division's mission is to foster job creation and support the growth of new and existing businesses by providing capacity-building information, tools, and resources. 

Small Business Preparedness is a resource site to aid and assist businesses in creating a plan for disaster recovery as well as finding help after economic and natural disasters.

 

ConnectATX COVID-19 Services

Visit ConnectATX to find up-to-date information on food, housing, transportation, child care, parenting classes, job training, COVID-19 vaccine, and more.

 

Hello Alice COVID-19 Business Resource Center 

Hello Alice helps you navigate a new normal with access to funding, e-learning guides, and mentorship. 

 

Workforce Solutions Capital Area

Workforce Solutions Capital Area offers multiple services to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The suite of services includes:

  • Help finding talent
  • Outplacement assistance
  • Layoff aversion strategies and funding
  • Information on filing mass unemployment claims
  • Employment training assistance and funding
  • Employer roundtable meetings for workforce development planning

Email rapidresponse@wfscapitalarea.com to be contacted by the Workforce Solutions Capital Area staff.

 

Business and Community Lenders of Texas

Business & Community Lenders of Texas is available to help guide businesses through the U.S. Small Business Administration loan process and answer other questions regarding COVID-19.

 

BiGAUSTIN

BiGAUSTIN provides small business resources in the form of education, business consulting, and funding solutions. The non-profit is also maintaining a list of COVID-19 resources and news updates on their website.

 

Economic Growth Business Incubator

The Economic Growth Business Incubator provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners facing barriers to growing a successful business. EGBI offers coaching in English and Spanish. 

 

LiftFund 

LiftFund is hosting seminars online to help business owners navigate forward during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Service Corps of Retired Executives

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) of Austin provides free, confidential one-on-one counseling for small business owners. SCORE’s certified mentors are experienced entrepreneurs, corporate managers, and executives with a diverse set of industries and specialties. 

 

Texas State University Small Business Development Center

The Texas State University Small Business Development Center works with existing and startup small business to help them grow and compete in today's global economy.  

Health Recommendations for Businesses

 

Protecting Your Employees

Key Recommendations

  • Encourage all employees to become fully vaccinated and grant paid time off for employees to become vaccinated.  
  • Encourage all employees to wear face masks and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees.   
  • Instruct employees with COVID-19 symptoms or who have contacted someone with COVID-19 symptoms to notify their supervisor and stay home.
  • Frequently disinfect and clean throughout the day, especially high touch areas like door handles, registers, checkout lanes, public restrooms, and employee break rooms. 

Additional Recommendations

  • Provide hand sanitizer for employees. 
  • Implement social distancing for workers in communal areas.  
  • Educate and train workers on your COVID-19 policies and procedures using accessible formats and in a language they understand. 
  • Improve ventilation systems to reduce the concentration of viral particles in indoor air.  
  • Establish an anonymous process for workers to voice concerns about COVID-19-related hazards.  
  • Communicate to any contractors, delivery services, or other business-related guests about changes that have been made to help control the spread of COVID-19 to ensure they have the information and capability to comply with policies. 
  • Allow flexible worksites (e.g., remote working) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts) to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at the same time.  
  • Move the electronic payment terminal/credit card reader farther away from cashiers, and allow contactless payment methods or online purchasing. 
  • Shift primary stocking activities to off-peak or after hours, when possible, to reduce contact with customers.
  • Encourage individual water bottles on construction sites instead of shared water stations and disinfect shared tools between uses.
  • Encourage all workers to wash their hands for at least twenty seconds before they begin working, after they remove gloves, before and after the use of high-touch items, and before and after all meal or restroom breaks. 

Protecting Your Customers and Our Community

Key Recommendations

  • Encourage all customers to wear face masks and post clearly visible signage for your businesses’ mask policy. 
  • Provide touchless hand sanitizer stations and no-touch trash cans for customers.  
  • Frequently disinfect and clean throughout the day, especially high touch areas like door handles, registers, checkout lanes, and public restrooms, dressing rooms.
  • Provide drive-through services, click-and-collect online shopping, shop-by-phone, curbside pickup, and delivery options where feasible. 

Additional Recommendations

  • Encourage social distancing and remind guests about social distancing by using signs, floor stickers, and audio messages in multiple languages.  
  • Station an employee at public entrances to clean and disinfect public areas and items (e.g., carts, baskets) between each use. 
  • Establish an anonymous process for customers to voice concerns about COVID-19-related hazards.  
  • Move the electronic payment terminal/credit card reader farther away from cashiers.  
  • Maintain at least three feet of space between tables, benches, and other seated areas unless they are separated by a solid barrier.  
  • Limit the number of customers who gather, stand, or sit together. 

Orders and Emergency Rules 

The Health Authority Rules released on May 18, following updated CDC guidance, have been transitioned into recommendations (see Health Authority Rules Withdrawal Notice). 

City of Austin and Travis County Orders 

Permit Applications
  • City departments have moved staff to telework conditions and are operating on reduced staff within facilities. Environmental Health Services Division (EHSD) has closed its lobby to walk-in customers and will accept permit applications only by mail or email. 
  • For permits, follow instructions on the Development Services Department website. 
  • For permits from Austin Center for Events follow the normal permit process. Applicants must also complete and submit a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan with their permit application. Forms, applications and event-related order detail can be found on the ACE webpage.
Tax Assistance

 

Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants

Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants can help business owners find a certified public accountant to assist with planning and reaching financial goals. TXCPA also has resources to explain how federal resources explaining federal laws and changes to the Internal Revenue Services’ deadlines and processes.  

Legal Assistance 

 

Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas

Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas The Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas, Inc. is a nonprofit service that can help business owners find Austin area attorneys. TXCPA also has resources explaining the tax implications of COVID-19 federal laws and changes to the Internal Revenue Services’ deadlines and processes.

 

Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts

Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts provides Texas artists and arts organizations with legal and accounting assistance to enable them to maximize their potential, shape our cultural landscape, and contribute to the creative economy.

 

Austin Chamber COVID-19 Legal Resources

The Austin Chamber of Commerce compiled a list of legal resources offered by their member organizations. Several Chamber members created COVID-19 resource kits for businesses and developed COVID-19 response teams to help businesses remain operational during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eviction Protections

 

City of Austin Eviction Protections

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Steve Adler issued Order No. 20210730-031 (PDF) that extends protection to some residential and commercial tenants and prohibits landlords from issuing notices to vacate except in certain circumstances. This order expires on October 15, 2021, unless terminated or modified by a subsequent order. 

Beginning June 1, landlords intending to issue a Notice to Vacate to tenants with 5 months or more of owed rent can register with the City of Austin’s RENT Program. Austinites in need of rental assistance can still apply to the Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) Assistance Program. 

 

Travis County Eviction Protections

Read the latest Travis County Eviction Orders. This order extends the prohibition of eviction proceedings to October 15, 2021, unless terminated or modified by a subsequent order. The orders have been modified to address the backlog of unpaid rent some Austin landlords may have. 

Travis County has numerous online resources for tenants facing eviction, as do the county’s Justice of the Peace Precinct Offices. The Travis County Sheriff’s Office provides a concise brochure for Evictions and Lease Terminations. A more extensive description of tenant rights in Travis County can be found through the Travis County Law Library and Self-Help Center. While not a substitute for consulting an attorney, the site provides easy-to-understand kits for appealing an eviction, filing appeal bonds, and the record expungement process. 

Utility Services

 

Electricity and Water

The City of Austin has taken steps to ensure customers have uninterrupted access to utility services. Immediate assistance is available to all our customers. Austin Energy, which manages customer care and billing for all City of Austin utilities, also offers several programs that help customers stay on track with their utility bills: 

 

Natural Gas

The following companies offer financial assistance programs for eligible customers affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.