Denver City Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer on Friday announced a new database intended to help support local small businesses deemed essential that are struggling to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sawyer, who represents southeast Denver, is encouraging business owners to join the database by filling out a form that lets other Denverites know their business is still in operation. The form allows business owners to include their address, pickup options, industry and neighborhood they’re located in.
“Many residents have been asking what they can do to support small businesses, or where they can find a list of locally owned small businesses that provide essential services during the stay-at-home order,” Sawyer said in a statement Friday. “Our office saw a need not being met to support local business owners, and we sprang into action.”
As more small businesses participate in the database and data becomes available, Sawyer’s goal is that the city “can further mobilize the database” to allow residents to enter their location and find out what nearby businesses remain open.
As of April 16, more than 7,000 local businesses have sought financial aid from the city, according to Denver’s Emergency Operations Center. More than 2,200 businesses have applied for the city’s $4 million Small Business Emergency Relief grant, which Mayor Michael Hancock announced in March, three days after he ordered the closure of all restaurants and bars until May 11.
The grant provides up to $7,500 in microloans to help support stabilization efforts for businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 economic fallout.
“Small business is the lifeblood of our community,” Sawyer said. “When we buy locally, more money stays within our local economy and we help our neighbors who work at or operate a small business.”