The St. Louis County Small Business Relief ("SBR") Program will provide financial relief to small businesses that were closed during the Stay at Home Order. The grant can be used to pay for the costs of business interruption as a result of the business closing during the Stay at Home Order and to cover costs associated with reopening safely. Business interruption costs could include fixed operating costs during closure. Reopening costs could include acquiring personal protective equipment for employees or customers or installing plastic shields to reduce the risks of transmission between customers and employees.
A business is eligible for an SBR grant if the business (including for-profit entities, sole proprietorships, and non-profit organizations) has its principal place of business in St. Louis County, had 50 or fewer full-time employees as of March 1, 2020, and was closed during the Stay at Home Order.
Total Amount of Grants per District:
At this time, the SBR Program will award a maximum total of $2.5 million grants per County Council district. Additional funding may be provided in the future.
Size of Grant:
The SBR Program will award a one-time grant of $15,000 or less to a qualifying business. Any two or more businesses with common ownership of 25% or more are considered to be the same business for purposes of this paragraph.
Conflicts of Interest:
No business may receive an SBR grant if the business has a director, officer, employee, agent, or sub-contractor that is an elected or appointed official of St. Louis County, an elected or appointed official of any municipality within St. Louis County, or is a member of the immediate family of any such elected or appointed official.
In considering whether to award a grant, no person involved shall unlawfully discriminate against any business because of race, creed, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, marital status, disability, or any unlawful basis.
Any business that is considered to not be in good standing with St. Louis County (by, for example, not complying with the Stay at Home Order or having retaliated against a person who reported violations to St. Louis County) shall be disqualified from receiving a grant under this program. A non-profit organization that operates a place of worship shall not be disqualified from receiving a grant under this program on that basis alone.
The process for awarding SBR grants will incorporate community input to guide grant awards to the small businesses that need financial relief the most. SBR grants will be awarded to businesses based upon recommendations received from the Council member and, where applicable, mayor of the municipality where the business's principal place of business is located.
Each Council member will submit a single recommendation for all grants to businesses located in the member's district before June 15. An independent accounting firm will review and evaluate all recommendations of Council members to confirm applicants have met all the program requirements. That firm will then certify to the County Executive and the Council's Oversight Committee that the applicants have met the program requirements. All grants will be paid directly from St. Louis County to the recipient business.
The Council member recommendations must follow program requirements. If a Council member submits a recommendation that exceeds the budgeted amount for their district, the independent accounting firm will adjust the recommended grant awards so that the recommendation meets the budget. All Council member recommendations and the grants awarded will be posted on the transparency portal. The independent accounting firm will also summarize the grant applications that were not recommended for funding.
May 1: The County Executive announced the SBR Program. The County posted program information and the application form on STLcorona.com.
May 31: Application Process will close.
June 15: Each Council member will submit the recommendation form containing all grant recommendations for businesses located within their district. The form must be signed by the Council member and, with respect to recipients located within municipal boundaries, must also be signed by the chief executive of the relevant municipality. In the event the chief executive officer of a municipality does not sign the recommendation, the Council member must explain why that signature is not included or the entire recommendation form will be considered non-responsive. An independent accounting firm will immediately begin reviewing and evaluating recommendations.