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Sarasota City Hall
Sarasota Friday, May 15, 2020 3 weeks ago

Applications open next week for city business assistance grants

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Small businesses in the city of Sarasota can seek up to $5,000 beginning Tuesday.
by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

The city will begin accepting applications for small business grants on Tuesday, launching a program designed in response to economic challenges associated with COVID-19.

Information regarding the Small Business and Safety Assistance Grant Program now appears on the city’s website. Applications will be available online at 9 a.m. Tuesday, which is also when the window to file applications will open. Grants will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

To be eligible for a grant, businesses must be located within the city and employ 25 or fewer full-time workers. Businesses must affirm a loss of income related to COVID-19. Businesses that have received at least $5,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program or via an Economic Injury Disaster Loan are not eligible for the program. Businesses that have received at least $5,000 from a county loan program may still apply, but those applications will be marked as a lower priority.

Eligible business types include restaurants, retail establishments, personal service businesses, care centers, gyms, event spaces and more. Home-based businesses, nonprofits and professional service businesses are not eligible to receive grants.

Businesses must provide a plan for spending grant funds on certain eligible uses. That includes payroll, rent, inventory and COVID-19 safety measures.

The city said online applications are preferred, but businesses can file applications via fax at 941-373-7766. Paper applications will be available for pickup and drop-off at two locations beginning 9 a.m. Tuesday:

  • Office of Economic Development, 1782 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way
  • City Hall Room 112, 1565 First St.

The city has allocated $2.28 million in funding for the grant program and anticipates money will be issued to more than 300 businesses. In a release, the city said funds from the program could be issued “as early as the end of the month.”

Those interested in learning more about the program can reach the city via email or by calling 941-263-6000, ext. 6284.

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