VIDEO: Univision Speaks with Sen. Kelly About Program to Help Small Businesses in Arizona

In case you missed it, on Friday, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly welcomed U.S. Small Business Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman in Mesa and Phoenix where the two highlighted Kelly’s Community Navigator Program – a program Kelly championed and established at the Small Business Administration via the American Rescue Plan Act – and discussed Arizona’s economic recovery with small business owners.

Click HERE to watch the video

During his visit, Univision spoke with Kelly at Moreno’s Mexican Grill in Mesa, a Latino-owned restaurant that benefited from assistance like what Kelly’s Community Navigator Program will provide, connecting local organizations to small businesses who need help navigating the process get federal assistance and resources. 

In the interview, Maritza and Angel, owners of Moreno’s Mexican Grill, spoke about the challenges they faced in obtaining federal coronavirus relief assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA), and how assistance from community nonprofits which will receive support through the Kelly-led program, allowed them to obtain approximately $350,000, ensuring they could hire dozens more staff and pay them more than the minimum wage. 

Through the Kelly-led Community Navigator Program, 10 community-based non-profit organizations will receive federal funding to expand their community outreach and engagement efforts to underserved businesses in the coming months, which will ensure that many more businesses, like Moreno’s Mexican Grill, can get assistance to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kelly has remained focused on helping hardworking families and small businesses in Arizona recover from this pandemic. Recently, Kelly’s office helped Tres Leches Cafe, a Latino-owned business in Phoenix, obtain a $1.3 million loan after they faced delays with the SBA. 

Read translated excerpts of Univision’s coverage below: 

[…] Today, the staff of the restaurants Moreno’s Mexican Grill in Arizona count their blessings. They are like a family and feel grateful to have survived the pandemic.

“The truth is that the first few months were difficult to stay open. And one of the first questions I asked myself was how are we going to be able to keep our employees working,” said Angel, owner of Moreno’s Mexican Grill.

“We were closed for one whole month,” said Maritza, owner of Moreno’s Mexican Grill.

Everything changed when they heard in the news that an assistance program at the Small Business Administration, which connects small businesses to local organizations that help them obtain economic benefits the federal government is offering. 

They received approximately $350,000. 

“It was a blessing from God because with that we were able to pay our rents, pay our employees for the time we were closed. And so, it was enough, the money helped us,” said Angel.

Arizona Senator Mark Kelly led the efforts to ensure that this program became a reality. He tells us that he took initiative after hearing from business owners who were mostly Latino and in rural areas who were facing challenges.

In addition, Maritza and Angel tell us they have enough money to hire dozens more staff and pay them more than the minimum wage […]

To read this press release in Spanish, click HERE.