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Community organizations work together to sustain rural businesses during COVID-19 pandemic

Brad Scribner, Nevada SBDC

As struggling small businesses continue to scour for grants and loans in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Southwest Central Regional Economic Development Authority has teamed up with mining operations in Nye and Esmerelda Counties to provide $5,000 grants to rural small businesses, setting an example for aiding vulnerable communities in these unprecedented times. Kinross and Gemfield mines are supporting the local businesses in these communities to help them survive the shutdowns.

The participating mining operations have expressed that the funding is to be used exclusively for communities in the surrounding area, a testament to the strong symbiotic relationship between rural communities and their corporate neighbors.

“Not only will this program generate significant impacts for the local communities, but SWCREDA hopes it will serve as an example for other large companies,” said Paul Miller, Executive Director of the Soutwest Central Regional Economic Development Authority. “This is a sustainable way to generate lasting value and we applaud Kinross and Gemfield’s commitment to its communities.”

Long-time SBDC counselor and President of the Board of Directors for SWCREDA, Al Parker has been instrumental in connecting businesses in need to funding provided by the two mines. Parker’s background and familiarity with SWCREDA’s Revolving Loan Program allowed for the creation of an easier and more simplified application for what ended up being a grant, instead of a loan.

Reno Nevada“I’m not sure why other organizations haven’t taken an interest in supporting local business in a similar fashion,” Parker said. “There are so many opportunities to help all throughout Nevada.”

Partnerships between the Nevada SBDC, regional economic development authorities like SWCREDA and community leaders like Kinross Round Mountain have bolstered the resiliency of many small, rural businesses, helping to mitigate circumstances that may have shuttered “mom-and-pop” stores around the Silver State.

While the federally funded EIDL and PPP loans have garnered mixed reactions from Nevada businesses, more and more community resources have come forth in an effort to sustain our local economies during this crisis. The 22 recipients of the Kinross Round Mountain, Gemfield Resources and SWCREDA Small Business Grant Fund, who remain anonymous, have expressed genuine gratitude for the financial relief provided by their community’s efforts.

“I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for your funding,” one recipient, said. “I am now able to keep [my business] going for a couple more months once the restrictions are lifted. You have provided a building for five of my employees to continue to earn living. I am astounded at how smoothly and how fast this process was.”

The Nevada SBDC is uniquely positioned to aid in the creation of small business support programs and encourages any organization able to assist in sustaining local businesses through the current economic crisis to contact it for guidance.

As of April 30, the Nevada SBDC has assisted clients with procuring over $522,000 in disaster-related capital funding, with more expected to be secured in the coming weeks. If your small business is in need of guidance, sign up for no-cost, confidential business advising through the Nevada SBDC website at or call 1-800-240-7094.


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