ST. PETERSBURG — Over $1.35 million in grants is up for grabs for southern St. Petersburg’s small businesses.
The city on Tuesday announced a microfund program to provide capital and resources to small businesses within the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area. The program was developed for businesses that are unable to meet stricter requirements for CRA dollars meant to uplift a community historically and disproportionally affected by poverty.
“This is an investment that will bolster small business’ capacity and support equitable economic development in the Sunshine City,” said Mayor Ken Welch. “We believe this could be a game changer for South St. Pete businesses as they work to defeat, survive and thrive.”
Eligible businesses must be located in the South St. Petersburg CRA, which runs from 4th Street to 49th Street and from 2nd Ave N to 30th Ave S. Existing brick-and-mortar and family child care businesses could receive up to $10,000. Existing home-based businesses and shared commercial spaces, such as food trucks, could get up to $5,000. Early-stage startups are eligible for up to $2,500.
There will be four rounds of funding. The first round of applications is open from May 9 until May 31, or until the program maxes out. The first round will divide $350,000 among 45 applicants — 40 eligible businesses and five early-stage startups.
Before receiving the grant, businesses will have to complete a “capital access initiative” program run by the city, which takes about 45 days. There will be mandatory trainings on finance, business planning, marketing and business management, and each business will be required to complete a unique business capacity development plan. Mentoring and networking opportunities are also part of the program.
The program will be evaluated over the summer. The second round of applications is expected to open this fall or winter. Applications are first-come, first-serve, and businesses that have received previous grants are eligible to apply for the microfund program.
St. Petersburg City Council member John Muhammad read a proclamation declaring April 30 to May 6 as Small Business Week.
“I believe that supporting these businesses and promoting the economic growth of our community enrichment is so significant, and we do have a responsibility to promote the well being of our community as well by providing opportunities for these individuals,” he said.
The South St. Petersburg CRA is one of the largest redevelopment districts in the state. It spans 73 square miles, which is almost 4,800 acres. More information is available at stpete.org/microfund.