A second cycle of the program with expanded eligibility criteria will be launched later this summer.
To date, over $750,000 in economic development funds have been dispersed since the City Commission approved the program in May. A total of 166 local brick-and-mortar businesses have received grants, including restaurants, cafés, bars, salons, spas, gyms, childcare facilities and retail establishments.
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. Additional program guidelines, instructions and bilingual application forms are available on the grant program webpage.
Applicants will 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
rent or mortgage payments
retention of equipment
While online submittal is preferred, applications may be downloaded and completed by hand. In addition, paper copies are available for pickup and drop off at the Office of Economic Development, 1782 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Completed forms are also accepted via fax at 941-373-7766.
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.