March 16, 2021
BIG COUNTRY MANUFACTURING ALLIANCE RECEIVES $300,000 GRANT
The Big Country Manufacturing Alliance was recently awarded a $300,000 Advance Together grant, provided through an initiative of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank’s Community Development team with the support of the Advance Together Fund of the Dallas Foundation.

The grant will provide guidance and funding to help the BCMA - which promotes manufacturing in the Big Country in collaboration with community organizations - to address challenges in education and the workforce. The funding will be provided from the Advance Together Fund over the course of three years, with technical assistance provided by the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank and peer learning opportunities.

The BCMA AT grant team consisted of 13 community leaders that will serve as Core Support partners that will be engaged and committed to the success of the grant. Marissa Ransted from the AIF will continue to serve as a AT Core Support partner and work with BCMA leaders to broaden and deepen their work to reach our community’s workforce and education goals. 

WHAT'S INSIDE THE NEW AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law, which provides additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and hard-hit industries for programs the SBA is currently administering and adds new efforts. Specifically, the new law includes:
  • $7.25 billion additional for the Paycheck Protection Program, including to expand eligibility to additional nonprofits and digital news services
  • Additional funds are allocated for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, and now allows businesses to apply for both a PPP loan after Dec. 27, 2020, and the SVOG
  • $15 billion additional for Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDL) payments, including NEW $5 billion for Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance payments for those hardest hit
  • NEW: $28.6 billion for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund for industry-focused grants
  • NEW: $100 million to establish a Community Navigator pilot program; grants will go to eligible organizations supporting efforts to improve access to COVID–19 pandemic assistance programs and resources.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE EMPLOYEE RETENTION CREDIT AND YOUR TAXES
With the tax filing deadline approaching, make sure your company is getting all the assistance available from government programs. For instance, that means checking that you've fully utilized the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), the refundable tax credit designed to make it easier for businesses to keep employees on the payroll.

The credit is getting extended as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion relief package just signed by President Biden. Originally scheduled to end on June 30, ERC will continue through year end, giving business owners access to as much as $33,000 per employee in incentives. 

NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITE SMALL BUSINESS FOR THIS YEAR'S SMALL BUSINESS AWARDS
You interact with hundreds of businesses each week. Now, think of those that are doing exceptional work, whose contributions to our community are elevating our region and who make your life just a little bit better. Got them in mind? Nominate them for the Small Business Awards Luncheon sponsored by America's SBDC at Texas Tech, Keep It Local Driven by First Financial Bank, Star Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram and Hyundai.

Deadline is March 31

NEW BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD The New Business of the Year Award is to recognize a new business Chamber member operating for more than one year and less than three years that has gained an expanding positive reputation. Nominees must have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees. Judging for this award will be based on potential community impact, use of innovation and technology as well as business growth.

SMALL BUSINESS YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR Chamber member, business owner who has owned their business for more than one year, under the age of 40 who has taken risks in business – started a new venture; expanded into a new area; taken on a difficult project; someone whose thinking is “outside the box”; an astute businessperson with a vision for the future.

THE COMMUNITY INVESTMENT AWARD is to recognize a local Chamber member business with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees, for its outstanding community service contributions such as special programs, partnerships, in-kind support of goods and services, employee volunteerism or other activities that have resulted in a positive impact on our community and citizens. Judges will consider all nominees for their impact, creativity, commitment and employee participation.

FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD This award honors a family-owned and operated business with less than 25 full-time employees. The owner must also serve as a majority owner and operator or bear principal responsibility for operating a small business with at least 10 years. They must demonstrate increased employment opportunities for family members and non-family members.

You don't want to miss these upcoming events for
your business.

MARCH 17 BUSINESS EDGE: Remote Work: Infrastructure Needs
Most companies in the last year were thrust into the decision to have more flexibility when it came to remote vs office work. In this month’s Business Edge, we’ll explore the infrastructure needs businesses need to be successful with our partners from Datroo Technologies. Register here.

MARCH 18 BUSINESS BEFORE AFTER HOURS SPONSORED BY TOLAR SYSTEMS, INC. Monthly evening social business networking event. Open to sponsor employees and guests, Chamber members and prospective members. Features a short presentation and update on Chamber activities. Register here.

MARCH 24 SECURITY AWARENESS Did you know your team is your first line of defense when it comes to your business’s cybersecurity? Learn how to boost your defenses by training your team on Security Awareness. This virtual webinar is free and open to the public. Register here.

MARCH 25 & 26, APRIL 1 & 2 ELEMENTS OF SUCCESSFUL PHILANTHROPY VIRTUAL TRAINING SERIES The Friends of the Texas Historical Commission are leading this series on development training suited for large and small organizations from any discipline with limited development staff. They will highlight the best practices while facilitating dynamic group interactions to help attendees build and strengthen their fundraising "tool-kit" so they can more effectively and sustainably achieve their mission. Click Here to learn more and Click Here to Register Now.

APRIL 13 GOVERNMENT CONTRACT TRAINING Have interest in working with the government? Want to learn more about proposal writing techniques and pricing methods? Join us for this full day workshop on April 13 8:00 am - 4:00 pm featuring Sandra Burns, CEO, and Greg Hansen, CFO, of Project Solutions, Inc (PSI). Register here.