SAN ANTONIO -- For 40 years the Institute for Economic Development at the University of Texas at San Antonio has been helping small businesses get up and moving. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, they've launched a targeted effort to help with relief services.

  • UTSA offering small businesses help via Small Business Development Center COVID-19 Business Recovery Acccelerator
  • Provides targeted coronavirus pandemic response
  • Dorćol Distilling and Brewing Company among clients

Small business in 79 counties across Texas - including counties encompassing El Paso, San Antonio, Austin, and Corpus Christi - are getting help from UTSA through a free one-on-one, confidential advising service.

If you look behind the production scenes at Dorćol Distilling and Brewing Company, you'll find co-founder Boyan Kalusevic hard at work. He'll tell you not much has changed since the pandemic started. 

"We got the team together and committed as a team to finding a way to work through the challenges. We're still the entire team," Boyan said. 

Since before opening in 2013, the company, known for its apricot brandy and craft beer, has been working with an advisor through UTSA's Institute for Economic Development.

"The calls we would normally get would be a handful on a day's basis prior to the COVID outbreak. Those shot up to something 350 calls a day," said Rod McSherry, associate vice president for innovation and economic development at UTSA.

To help, the institute launched the Small Business Development Center COVID-19 Business Recovery Accelerator.

"This is a specific targeted response to the COVID pandemic," McSherry said. 

The new program points business owners in the right directions - what to fill out, how to find money, and how to plan once back open. 

"Frustration was very high. Those people were either in the queue who didn't get service or were rejected," McSherry said.

That's what happened to the team at Dorćol, but Boyan trusted the process.

"When the first round of finances didn't come through, she was able to provide some alternative routes on how to access the money on the second round," Boyan said. 

While Boyan's plans for expansion may have slowed down a bit, their beer is still selling in stores, money is coming in, and people are employed, thanks in part to UTSA's advice. 

"Having somebody in a reliable source that's on the ground and works in that space, gets to be a ton of help," he said.