The Issue: Harmful Impact of Wildfires on Local Businesses
The Waldo Canyon wildfire, which may have begun on June 23 as a fire burning on a hiking trail west of Colorado Springs, eventually spread to burn 18,247 acres of land, destroy 347 homes, and take the lives of two people, according to a report by the Denver Post. Following ongoing action by local firefighters, the fire was 95% contained as of July 6, and had cost roughly $14.5 million to fight. Two other fires were concurrently burning along the Colorado Front Range.
Wildfires deeply impact neighborhoods and the business community, and as the Firestorm blog reports, their economic effects extend to the long term. The damage to the forests will limit the influx of tourists, which will in turn take a financial toll on the hospitality industry and its suppliers. Some small businesses close to the fire have lost their facilities and customer base. Others will likely see a reduced flow of merchandise for the next several years, due to the memory and ongoing threat of wildfires.
The Campaign: Supporting Microloans for Businesses
Each $10, $25, and $50 donation raised by this Grassroots campaign will go to help Accion Colorado - Colorado Springs provide financial and technical assistance to businesses in counties negatively impacted by the recent and ongoing wildfires in Colorado. Through August 31, Accion will supply fire-recovery loans up to $5,000 each for businesses in the 11 counties that experienced wildfire: Archuleta, Boulder, El Paso, Lake, La Plata, Larimer, Mesa, Montrose, Montezuma, Park, and Teller Counties. The loans are interest-free for six months and subject to Accion’s standard loan terms, and they come along with onsite consultations, mentoring, financial and credit education, and marketing support.
You can follow the progress of this and other Grassroots campaigns at the Groupon Grassroots website.
Accion in Colorado
In 1994, Accion made its first loan to a small business in Albuquerque. Its goal was to help entrepreneurs acquire credit despite limited collateral, credit history, and capital. Today, Accion extends financial help to small businesses in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado through local channels and affiliates to ensure money goes where it is needed. By providing microloans between $200 and $300,000 in both urban areas and rural communities, Accion aims to facilitate an influx of income and employment opportunities in underserved communities. This financial support also comes with onsite consultations, business mentoring, financial and credit education, and marketing support to help loan recipients achieve financial success.