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Applications for Sarasota small business grant program opens today

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Posted at 5:56 AM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 05:56:37-04

SARASOTA, Fla. — Small businesses seeking help in Sarasota will be able to apply for the city's Small Business and Safety Assistance Grant Program starting today at 9 a.m.

Eligible businesses could be awarded up to $5,000 on a first-come, first-serve basis. The city says more than 300 businesses are expected to be approved for a grant.

"The global pandemic has taken a severe toll on most small, independently owned brick-and-mortar businesses," said City Manager Tom Barwin. "Unlike federal and state programs, our grant application and reporting process is simple and streamlined for a fast turnaround. We applaud Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch and the City Commission for advancing this initiative, which redirects previously approved economic development funds to help our smallest businesses at this critical stage in the recovery. Conceived to save jobs and the availability of goods and services in our special community, we urge all residents to shop locally as the economy reopens."

To be eligible a business must:

  • Locally owned and independently operated businesses (50% owned locally by residents within the Greater Sarasota Area)
  • Must be operated within the defined businesses below
  • Physically located within City of Sarasota limits
  • Must have 25 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees or less at the business location
  • Must be registered with the State of Florida Division of Corporations as required and have a valid City of Sarasota Local Business Tax Certificate (LBTC) number as it will be required to complete the application LocalBusinessTax@SarasotaFL.gov
  • Must affirm a loss of revenue due to COVID-19
  • Must not have any outstanding fees or payments owed to the City of Sarasota except as deferred by COVID-19
  • Must not have any existing City code or regulation violations
  • Businesses that have previously been awarded a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan, or an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) or a combination thereof of more than ($5,000) dollars are ineligible for this grant.
  • Businesses who have been awarded a loan from the Sarasota County Small Business Resiliency Program in an amount greater than $5,000 dollars may apply for this grant, however, will be identified as a lower priority.
  • Businesses who have received Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan or Sarasota County Small Business Resiliency Program loan amounts totaling less than $5000 dollars in combination are eligible to receive a grant amount to make up the difference of $5000 dollars.

The city says currently, home-based businesses and non-profits do not meet the eligibility requirements.

Click here for more information or to apply.