UTSA Institute for Economic Development launches recovery accelerator to help businesses stay afloat

SAN ANTONIO – Small businesses around the country and around Texas are being devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. But a local university is stepping up and attempting to help out.

The University of Texas at San Antonio recently launched their COVID-19 Business Recovery Accelerator to help local businesses access emergency funds.

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Heather Schnelzer has been running Aerial Athletics for 18 years and needed the help.

“It’s to serve kids, I want them to grow and walk out of this place better people. Yeah we do it through gymnastics, but our goal is that they walk out of here just great people, feeling confident in who they are,” Schnelzer said.

The start of 2020 was phenomenal for her as business was booming. Then the pandemic hit.

“March 18 everything shut down, we actually shut down a week before it was mandated,” Schnelzer said.

After some frustration, Heather reached out to the UTSA COVID Business Recovery Accelerator Program and that’s when she met Jaime Martinez.

“It recently launched on April 15 as a result of funding from the CARES Act,” Martinez of SBDC-COVID Business Recovery ACCELERATOR said.

“It’s an effort to keep small businesses like Heather’s afloat during this turbulent time. It is a pretty detailed and complicated process and so we try to help them from A-to-Z and deal with financial institutions,” Martinez said.

And it’s not just navigating the now.

“We are here for the long haul, even after the pandemic is hopefully over, and things go back to normal,” Martinez said.

“That support when you’re a business, this is your livelihood, this is how I pay my employees. This is how I support my family. To know that I had somebody that I could go to and get those resources, because of it we got the PPP we got the EIDL advance,” Schnelzer said.

Heather and Ariel Athletics have been able to pivot their business model during the pandemic. They’re now offering virtual classes and online videos, but with his new surge comes new questions.

“How do I keep my students and my family safe and my staff — so as of yesterday afternoon we shut down 95% of all our business again,” Schneider said.

If you’re more interested in the program, you can find the info by clicking here.