Applications for the City of Sarasota’s small business grant program can be submitted starting at 9am. It’s the latest locally funded recovery program aimed at keeping commerce alive during the ongoing pandemic.
Eligible small businesses can apply for $5,000 grants, which will be funded from $2.28 million in economic development funds. The money will be given out on a first come, first serve basis.
“It is anticipated funds could be awarded and distributed as early as the end of this month,” wrote Rowena Elliott, redevelopment speciality with the city's Office of Economic Development, in an email about the program.
Notably, a similar program funded by Sarasota County and crafted with the help of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County opened up and had enough applicants in the first hour and 40 minutes to go through the initial funding.
The city program will be open to businesses with physical structures in the city limits and a nmaximum of 25 full-time equivalent employees. More guidelines are available online.
"That is for the ultra, hyper small businesses," said Heather Kasten, president of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. "They're getting ramped up as well. I've been blown away by the efforts and the movement, just the quickness and expeditious method in which that money was deployed."
Applicants must provide a plan on how money will be used, such as unexpected expenditures for face masks, software upgrades, or simply replenishing payroll and rent costs.
Online applications are preferred, but physical applications can be turned in at the Office of Economic Development on Martin Luther King Jr. Way or at City Hall.