St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay and leaders of the St. Louis Development Corporation met with members of the South Grand Business Association to discuss how to help small business owners affected by the latest protests in the South Grand Business District.
The business association was informed that impacted businesses were eligible to seek funding for repairs under the Recovery St. Louis program.
The Small Business Relief Fund was created back in August to assist small businesses impacted in Ferguson.
An extension to this program called Recovery St. Louis has now been added to expand the program’s boundaries to include the South Grand businesses between I-44 and Gravois.
The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership has been managing the Small Business Relief Fund. They are now training the staff at the St. Louis Development Corporation on how to administer the loan program and provide small businesses in the expanded area with access to services available under the program.
The staff is already out on the ground, reaching out to businesses in the South Grand Corridor and providing them applications to the program.
A total of $1 million in initial funding for the program has been raised through a mix of public and private contributions. This includes $250,000 each from the State of Missouri, the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, and the St. Louis Regional Chamber, and another $250,000 put up by a coalition of major banks in the region.
The program is basically offering zero-interest loans with the option of a modest forgivable advance for urgent needs such as payroll, utilities, rent and inventory. Each eligible business can seek a customized relief package to meet their specific needs.
The Mayor and St. Louis Development Corporation Executive Director Otis Williams who met with the business owners told them that impacted businesses will be eligible for small grants and low-interest loans under the program to help with expenses such as lost merchandise, board-ups and other damages.
The Small Business Relief Program is a first step to address the immediate needs of the most-impacted businesses. The Recovery St. Louis Coalition plans to put together a broader range of resources to assist businesses located inside as well as outside the impacted corridors.