Communities Unlimited has assisted a variety of small businesses throughout the years, from retail shops to restaurants and caterers. Not all small businesses fit into that mold, but they may still need guidance or financial assistance to weather the tough times. Communities Unlimited provides services for those who take a more creative turn in business 

Such was the case of the Gentle Giant Creative Agency, a filmmaking business based in Mississippi that serviced northern Mississippi and nearby Memphis, Tennessee.  

Tyson McClain started the Gentle Giant Creative Agency in January 2019 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The business created content during annual film festivals. Tyson planned to use his experience as a screenwriter and film producer to create content for clients as well as his own original content. 

But as his business got off the ground, Tyson struggled with the overhead costs. A big part of the issue was the equipment Tyson used. Because filmmaking equipment was so expensive, Tyson leased the equipment he used for his business. 

The practice allowed him to complete his film projects, but the rentals cut into any profit he might receive. Even worse, the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading rapidly across the country in Spring 2020, curtailing businesses nationwide.  

Tyson heard about Communities Unlimited and the assistance it provides to small businesses, including offering several loan products.  

He came to Communities Unlimited with a plan. He wanted a loan to purchase his own equipment. That way, not only would he be able to save expenses from leasing equipment from others, but he would be able to lease some of his own equipment to provide additional income. With the pandemic rapidly taking its toll on small businesses, the elimination of his main expense and the addition of a second income stream could keep his business from being one of the estimated 60% of businesses whose closures during the pandemic have become permanent.*  

Tyson applied for a Pivot Loan from Communities Unlimited on Aug. 14, 2020. The Pivot Loan was one of two Recovery Loan products created to assist small businesses through the COVID-19 crisis, the second being the Reboot Loan. The Pivot Loan is for businesses looking to offer additional products or services to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. The Reboot Loan is for businesses looking to reopen or stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Exactly one week after Tyson applied for a Pivot Loanhe was told that he had received the $5,000 loan. With the money, he was not only able to purchase equipment, but he also was able to cover salaries for five subcontractors.  

Thanks to the purchase, Tyson no longer had to pay to rent equipment, saving money for his business at a time when cutting costs was vital to surviving the pandemic. 

Tyson has already seen success with his production company. The company’s film “Dream” won the “Best Mid-South Film” award for 2020 at the Midsouth Black Film Festival.  

Tyson has since completed other projects, including three of his own. With his new equipment, Tyson will be able to continue his projects and prepare for the forthcoming 2021 film festivals.  

*”Yelp Data Shows 60% of Business Closures Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic Are Now Permanent”