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Travis County Thrive program brings hope to small businesses with grants

Livia Pope, the owner of All Dolled Up ATX said before being approved for the grant, she was considering closing her business and switching careers.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Travis County Thrive small business grant program is one of many COVID-19 relief grants in the Austin area. 

This one, however, specifically helps mom-and-pop shops that are in Travis County but outside the Austin city limits. 

"I believe in love ... love is always going to win," said grant recipient Livia Pope.

The coronavirus pandemic put that to the test when one of Pope's first loves felt like it was being stripped away. 

"I was at one point really scared," said Pope. "I was thinking that I might need to go get a traditional job somewhere." 

Pope is the owner of All Dolled Up ATX, a mobile hair and makeup company. 

"We had about 100 either reschedules or cancellations with weddings and corporate events," said Pope.

Pope said she felt like she was on a bad rollercoaster until she found out her business was approved for a $40,000 grant through the Travis County Thrive program. 

"The grant is a game-changer," said Pope. "It's going to help me keep my advertising and marketing and is going to help my own payroll so that I don't have to apply for unemployment." 

RELATED: Travis County approves coronavirus relief grants for 225 small businesses

Travis County dispersed $9 million to 225 businesses that were not in the Austin city limits for coronavirus relief. The grant recipients can use the funds to make rent, lease or mortgage payments, for payroll expenses, pay their bills, or pay for personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies.  

Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shae told KVUE they were very particular about who got the grants. 

"We focused our program in Travis County on the mom and pops that were clearly hurting," said Shae. "We also ranked so that you essentially got more points if you were a woman-owned or minority-owned business because we also knew that those kinds of small businesses were at the bottom of the list for any that got assistance from the federal government." 

According to the press release, more than 90% of the 225 businesses that received the grant are minority and/or women-owned or located in an underserved area of the county. 

The maximum award for each business is $40,000.

Recipients will also receive coaching from the Business & Community Lenders of Texas to help sustain their businesses during this pandemic. 

"The fact that I can strengthen my business out of all this turmoil is going to be amazing," said Pope.

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