Two new grant programs were recently announced that prioritize applicants in the St. Louis Promise Zone footprint. These programs were created with the intention of bolstering economically undervalued neighborhoods by lessening the financial burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic on eligible small businesses.
This public health crisis is disproportionately impacting economically distressed communities and communities of color. That is why it is crucial that we prioritize the equitable distribution of financial relief in areas with the greatest need—so that our small business owners can pay rent and buy groceries; adapt to remote operations, where possible; and maintain staff, facilities, and other essential costs to stay in business.
During this crisis, it is vital that we all work together to positively impact our economically undervalued neighborhoods. St. Louis is resilient, and we will get through this. The key will be ensuring that we are reviving the economies of all our communities.
Small Business Resource Discretionary Grant Program
The St. Louis Port Authority is sponsoring the Small Business Resource Discretionary Grant Program through the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. This new St. Louis County program will give $500 discretionary grants to help sole proprietors, contract workers, gig workers, 1099 workers, and other businesses who do not qualify for our Small Business Resource Program (SBRP). The grant program is giving a preference for businesses in the Promise Zone area in North County and Lemay in South County to help businesses lessen the burden of paying for rent or even for groceries to help them get through this crisis.
Neighborhood Small Business Lift Grant
The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership (STL Partnership) has partnered with Invest STL in creating the Neighborhood Small Business Lift grant for neighborhood-serving small businesses to maintain staff, facilities and other essential costs. This is part of Invest STL’s Neighborhood Solidarity Fund which was created to support neighborhoods that stand to be the hardest hit by the pandemic and efforts to slow its spread.
Applicants for the Neighborhood Small Business Lift grant may also qualify for our Small Business Resource Program. This loan program is available to businesses in St. Louis City and County that have over one employee.