Local Economic Recovery Task Force Launches Dallas Forward Initiative to Help Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses

According to Mayor Eric Johnson, restoring Dallas' small and medium-sized business ecosystem is the key to our economic recovery from COVID-19. The new online portal hosts resources on supplies, funds, reopening and more, including what was donated by some of Dallas' leading companies.

At the request of Mayor Eric Johnson, the Dallas Economic Recovery Task Force today announced a new initiative to advance short-term COVID-19 economic recovery and drive long-term inclusive growth in Dallas. It will be co-chaired by Richard Fisher and Fred Perpall.

The new initiative, named Dallas Forward, is two-fold, but the blueprint mainly focuses on assisting Dallas’ small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). There’s a task force intended to immediately focus on supporting SMBs and an online portal to provide SMBs with resources for relief.

According to Mayor Johnson, restoring SMBs are the key to economic recovery.

SMBs comprise around 50 percent of Dallas’ economy and have been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Plus, people of color hold more than 70 percent of at-risk SMB jobs in Dallas, according to Fisher. In forming Dallas Forward, the hope is to promote inclusive, long-term prosperity while at the same time stimulating the local economy.

“For the SMB sector to rebound and then prosper after the COVID-19 setback, advice and financial help is urgently required,” Fisher, the former president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said. “We must ensure a future for our city where diverse people benefit from our strong economy.”

The resource hub, located at DallasForward.org, provides direct help to business owners struggling with COVID-19-related questions. There’s information on accessing PPE suppliers, grant and loan applications, and how to re-open.

There’s also personalized assistance and mentorship available, courtesy of donations from some of Dallas’ leading businesses.

Several of the city’s largest companies have already stepped up to contribute so far: AT&T, PepsiCo, Arcosa, Inc., The Beck Group, Corinth Properties, Mary Kay, Oncor, JLL, Jacobs, Vistra Energy, Ben E. Keith, Texas Health Resources, Toyota, Dallas Foundation, and more.

Mayor Johnson said he hopes even more business partners will join in the recovery effort.

Dallas Forward is also in the process of building partnerships within the community and supporting already existing resources. The initiative has already announced its support of the Revive Dallas Small Business Relief Fund, a collaboration between The Dallas Entrepreneur Center Network, Communities Foundation of Texas, and LiftFund that fills the gap for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The coalition also intends to start restoring the public’s confidence in reopening the economy. Once immediate needs have been met, Dallas Forward said it sees “a future return to growth for the region through infrastructure investments like shovel-ready projects and education to create jobs and attract businesses.”

“Dallas’ business community has personified equity with the largest companies playing an integral role in investing in the future of SMBs,” Perpall, CEO of The Beck Group and chairman of the Dallas Citizens Council, said in a statement. “As we emerge from this health crisis, we want to re-double our efforts and resources to help as many companies not only survive but thrive. The cornerstone of our work is to make sure we are part of building a future Dallas where all our citizens have the opportunity to prosper.”

To request access to Dallas Forward’s SMB resource portal or find more information, go here.

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