Small business owners in city can apply for $5,000 American Rescue Plan grants

CITY HALL – The city of St. Louis and the St. Louis Development Corporation have released guidelines for small business relief through the American Rescue Plan Act.

The program is set up to give $5,000 grants to about 900 businesses. In-person applications events will begin April 4; an online application portal will open on April 14.

“As a former small business owner, I know how challenging running a business can be, and the pandemic has made the chances for success become even more difficult,” Mayor Tishaura O. Jones said. “St. Louis cannot move forward from the pandemic if we leave our entrepreneurs and small business owners behind.“

The grants can be used for operating costs such as payroll, rent, utilities and inventory.

Business owners will need to provide a current W-9, a current business license, and bank statements demonstrating an adverse economic impact resulting from COVID-19.

“Small businesses are at the center of building a more resilient and vibrant economy in response to COVID-19,” said Neal Richardson, SLDC’s executive director. “These grant dollars will provide business owners with the ability to support their employees, better serve their customers and contribute to the economic growth of the neighborhoods in which they operate.”

Applicants must own a business that is in the city; have 25 or fewer employees; be current on all city taxes; demonstrate COVID-19 hardship; and have an active city business license at the time of application and also when funds are received.

City employees and members of their immediate family are excluded from applying. A full list of eligibility requirements and frequently asked questions can be found on the city website.

Applicants can drop off completed paper applications on April 14, 15, 18 and 19 at the SLDC Office, 1520 Market Street, between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

There will be two in-person application events for business owners without access to a computer. These events will be limited to the first 120 participants. The events will be April 4 at The Central Library, 1301 Olive Street; and April 6 at The Youth and Family Center, 818 Cass Avenue. Each site will take applications from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Staff is home to The NorthSider and The SouthSider weekly community newspapers. The SouthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Tuesday. The NorthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Thursday. They are distributed at over 600 locations across St. Louis.

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