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Private Business Community Responds To Pandemic With Revive Dallas Small Business Relief Fund

The DEC Network Partners with Dallas Regional Chamber, Dallas Citizens Council to Build Fund to Aid Small Businesses

The DEC Network (formerly the Dallas Entrepreneur Center), in partnership with the Communities Foundation of Texas and LiftFund, are announcing the Revive Dallas Small Business Relief Fund, a $5 million relief loan fund to support primarily minority and women-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 crisis. These loans, which are forgivable if certain milestones are met, are a means of filling the gap for small businesses and entrepreneurs who either have not been able to get relief through the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Relief Fund or Paycheck Protection Program or who did receive funds but not enough to sustain the business. Pre-qualifications for the loans will be accepted beginning Wednesday, May 27 at

“We started seeing small businesses and entrepreneurs affected by COVID-19 that haven’t been able to get the resources they need to survive, such as funding, mentorship and access to a breadth of organizations across the region that can help,” says Trey Bowles, co-founder and executive chairman of the DEC Network. “We decided to focus the efforts of The DEC Network to provide these necessary resources in combination with funding to help businesses stay open or re-open as this crisis passes, with the business community taking care of its own.”

 The loan program is supported by Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. Loan applicants must have businesses based in the City of Dallas.

 “Dallas’ small businesses, particularly those in our southern sector, have been hard-hit by the coronavirus shutdown,” Johnson said. “I would like to see the private business and philanthropic community step up and respond to this need by contributing to this fund and supporting the lifeblood of our economy, small business.”

Small businesses and entrepreneurs who meet the fund’s criteria can apply for loans of up to $25,000. The DEC Network says the loans will help more than 250 applicants. A pre-qualification process will begin at on Wednesday, May 27. Starting Sunday, June 7, the formal application process will be open for one week, then qualified applicants will go through a lottery process to find out who will receive funds. Once approved, the funds will reach businesses within seven days of acceptance. Loans can be used at the recipients’ discretion, but the usage needs to be communicated to the LiftFund and there will be accountability built into the fund-spending process. Key criteria necessary to obtain funding include (but are not limited to):

  • Business must be in operation since August 2019
  • Annual gross revenues must not exceed $1.5 million
  • Businesses can have no more than 15 employees
  • Businesses must be able to demonstrate a loss of at least 15% of revenue since March 1 due to the COVID-19 crisis

Loan forgiveness is possible if companies do such things as join the DEC Network’s Fast Start Mentoring Program, submit a 2021 budget and a 2020 profit and loss statement, file 2019 taxes and retain employees through the crisis.

The fund will be run by the DEC Network, with the application and loan process going through LiftFund, and the Communities Foundation of Texas acting as the fiscal sponsor. The fund is supported by organizations including the Dallas Regional Chamber, Dallas Citizens Council, the North Dallas Chamber and the City of Dallas with Mayor Eric Johnson. Major donors include professional organizations, corporations, foundations and individuals. To date, the fund already has commitments of more than $1 million from donors including Comerica Bank, Texas Capital Bank, John Olajide (CEO of Axxess and 2020 chair of the Dallas Regional Chamber), Andres Ruzo (CEO of LinkAmerica) and other private foundations.  

 “Dallas is a mecca for entrepreneurs and small businesses and many of those businesses are in desperate need right now, said Olajide. “It is the responsibility of the Dallas Regional Chamber and its members, private organizations and philanthropists to support the small businesses in our community to help them survive at this time. That’s why we’ve made a commitment to put our support where we think such a dire need exists.”

 “The Citizens Council has always led in addressing key opportunities or problems that face our city,” said Fred Perpall, chair of the Dallas Citizens Council. “We believe it to be an important and necessary response for our members to lead in this effort and financially support the Revive Dallas fund.”

Donations to the Revive Dallas fund are tax-deductible. If you would like to make a donation, go to


The DEC Network is a 501c3 non-profit organization driving innovation and economic impact by helping entrepreneurs start, build, and grow their businesses. Since 2013, it has launched a number of innovation hubs across DFW that provide entrepreneurs with education, mentorship, community, and advocacy.


With the goal of building thriving communities for all, Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) works locally and across the state through a variety of charitable funds and strategic initiatives. The public foundation professionally manages 1,000 charitable funds for individuals, families, companies and nonprofits in addition to powering several key initiatives such as Educate Texas at CFT, W. W. Caruth, Jr. Fund at CFT and CFT’s North Texas Giving Day. CFT has awarded more than $2 billion in grants since its founding in 1953.


For more than 21 years, LiftFund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has helped individuals achieve the American Dream by providing small business lending to those who do not have access to capital from typical lenders, such as traditional banks.  Along with vital small business loans, LiftFund provides educational services at no cost to borrowers, which are essential to foster self-sufficiency.


Since 1937, Dallas Citizens Council has provided leadership on the issues that move Dallas forward. A non-profit organization, its membership consists of more than 150 CEOs and top business leaders in the area. The organization’s purpose is to lead and serve in the moments that matter most for the people of Dallas. For more information, visit


The Dallas Regional Chamber is one of the most established business organizations in the nation and serves as the voice of business and the champion of economic development and growth in the Dallas Region. We work with our member companies and regional partners to strengthen our business community by advocating for pro-growth public policies, improving our educational system, attracting talented workers from around the world, and enhancing the quality of life for all. Our goal is to make Dallas the best place in the United States to live, work, and do business. For more information, please contact the DRC at 214.746.6600 or visit

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