The deadline to apply for the initial rollout of the City of Sarasota's Small Business and Safety Assistance Grant Program is 5 p.m. next Friday, Aug. 7. Eligible small businesses are encouraged to apply for a $5,000 grant as part of the city’s ongoing COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.
A second cycle of the program with expanded eligibility criteria will be launched later this summer. When submitted, each application will receive a date and time stamp to determine placement in line for consideration of available funds. Completeness of the application, eligibility of the business owner and availability of funds will be determining factors for the awarding of grants.
To be eligible for the current cycle, a business must have a physical structure located within city limits with 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees. Applicants will also be required to provide a plan detailing how the funds will be expended. Eligible uses include personal protective equipment (PPE) for COVID-19; software, equipment, or physical improvements needed to meet social distancing guidelines; business operations including inventory, supplies and materials; payroll; rent or mortgage payments; retention of equipment; and utilities.
The city says more than $750,000 in economic development funds have been dispersed since the City Commission approved the program in May, and a total of 166 local brick-and-mortar businesses have received grants, including restaurants, cafés, bars, salons, spas, gyms, childcare facilities and retail establishments. For more information about the grants program, email CitySmallBusinessGrant@SarasotaFL.Gov or call (941) 263-6000 ext. 36284.