March 2, 2021
To help you with the economic uncertainty and to help forecast recovery, your Chamber in partnership with America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Texas Tech, is pleased to bring you an Economic Outlook Seminar today at 10:30 am featuring renowned economist Dr. Mark Dotzour.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here. A recording of the video will be available for members to purchase after the event. To be put on the contact list, please email Stephanie Burke.

Prior to Dr. Dotzour, we’ll hear from local business leaders on what the local economy has been up to from different representatives of our economy: Jon Loudermilk, Homes By Design; Mike Fernandez, Texas National Bank; Jessica Adams, Vagabond Pizza; Nathan Lowry, Big Country Title. From the housing market, to real estate, to retail, to banking these individuals know their stuff and we’re pleased they’ll be able to join us to help share more on what has been happening in their area of our business community.

The event is made possible by Funeral Directors Life, Lawrence Hall - Abilene, Homes by Design, Big Country Title, Texas National Bank, Development Corporation of Abilene and the Abilene Industrial Foundation.
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!

Nomination deadline is March 31, 2021.

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.

Everyone needs safe water in their homes.
Don't wait to get help, even if you are planning to file for assistance with FEMA or your homeowner's policy, we might be able to help.
Beltway Park's Boots on the Ground Ministry, through a grant from United Way of Abilene, is coordinating efforts to help those who need assistance with plumbing issues due to last week’s storm. Eligible applicants must live within Taylor County and meet certain income requirements.
Once the application for assistance is approved, the work is being completed by licensed plumbers.
Plumbing Relief Application Deadline March 10, 2021.
Eligibility: Homeowners living in Taylor County with low income, without insurance, or with a high insurance deductible that homeowners are unable to meet.
Documents Required:  Valid ID, documents for income and/or fixed income sources; if the homeowners have insurance, documents showing the deductible amount. 
Submit completed applications for plumbing relief along with supporting documentation, via email to 
For anyone with technology barriers or has questions can call the United Way of Abilene, Monday - Friday, 8:30 – 5:00 PM, 325-677-1841.  
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick released his top priorities on Tuesday. Notably to the business community, pandemic liability protection, statewide broadband access, business freedom and uniformity, and protecting Texas trucking are among the top priorities. See the full list of priorities here.
  • SBA disaster loans are the primary source of federal assistance to help pay for disaster repair or replacement costs not fully covered by insurance or other compensation.
  • SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters.
  • Businesses of all sizes and most private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million for property damage.
  • Small businesses, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit organizations may also borrow to help meet disaster caused working capital needs. Business statutory loan limit is $2 million for combined damage and working capital needs. 
  • Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair/replace their primary residence.
  • Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to repair/replace personal property.

  • Register with FEMA at
  • Homeowners and renters should submit their SBA disaster loan application, even if they are not sure if they will need or want a loan. If SBA cannot approve your application, in most cases we refer you to FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program for possible additional assistance.
Even during a global health crisis and a national recession, Texas has remained a leader in trade and job creation, providing continued signs of strength and resilience in the Texas economy.

As you may know, Texas was recently named the top exporting state in the U.S. for 2020. The Lone Star State ranked as the leading exporter for the 19th consecutive year, with total exported goods valued at $279.3 billion. Texas has also remained the top tech exporting state for eight years in a row, with total exported goods valued at $44.8 billion.

Our state has continued to add jobs back to the economy, experiencing five consecutive months of private sector job growth in December. Since peak pandemic unemployment in April of last year, Texas has added a total of 927,700 private sector jobs. Moreover, the Lone Star State was #1 in nonfarm job creation in the U.S. for four of the 12 months in 2020. And our state was the leader in private sector and nonfarm jobs created for the last quarter of 2020.

Possibly the most noteworthy economic indicator—Texas has remained the largest job creator in the nation over the last 10 years, with the most private sector jobs added (nearly 2 million).
You don't want to miss these upcoming events for
your business.

MARCH 2 2021 ECONOMIC OUTLOOK To help you with the economic uncertainty and to help forecast recovery, your Chamber in partnership with America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Texas Tech, is pleased to bring you an Economic Outlook Seminar on March 2 featuring renowned economist Dr. Mark Dotzour. Please join us at 10:30 AM via zoom. Click here for more information.

MARCH 3 WAKE UP WEDNESDAY SPONSORED BY TOLAR SYSTEMS, INC. Before you start your day, tune in from your at-home office or office as we meet to start the month on a positive note making business connections at Wake Up Wednesday sponsored by Tolar Systems Inc. Register here.

MARCH 3 GOVERNOR'S SMALL BUSINESS WEBINAR Join us for the next Governor's Small Business Webinar for an update on the new round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding and other recovery resources through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Our panel of experts will provide up-to-date details on the PPP application process, loan forgiveness and assistance available to Texas small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and/or the recent severe winter storms. The virtual event will also feature a live Q&A with our expert panel, including senior executives from the SBA and Small Business Development Centers. Register here.

MARCH 4 CYBERSECURITY FOR SMALL BUSINESS Join the Abilene Chamber, the Abilene Industrial Foundation - Develop Abilene, and America's SBDC at Texas Tech for the fundamentals on cybersecurity for your small business. This "Cybersecurity for small business: The Fundamentals" webinar is intended to share the "how to's" of cybersecurity as recommended by NIST, the National Institute of Standard's and Technology. You, your team, your company or community group will learn the steps for understanding cybersecurity risks and the risks and the steps to mitigate them. Register here.

MARCH 5 FEDERAL HUBZONE OVERVIEW Are you in a HUBZone? Learn how to find out and what it means if you want to sell your product or service to the U. S. Government! 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.