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City of Sarasota Small Business and Safety Assistance Grant Program

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SBSA Grant Program Logo-01 (002)

Grant Applications are still being accepted
First 1,000 submissions accepted

Please note: INELIGIBLE Applicants include Independent Stylists/Barbers (who do not own the Salon/Shop where they provide services), Home-Based and/or Mobile Businesses, Non-Profit/Not-for-Profit businesses, and Professional Offices (Architects, Accountants, Engineers, Landscape Architects, Interior Designers, Medical including all sub-specialties, and others requiring professional licensing)  

This notice will be updated when Submissions are no longer being accepted

Application Status - In Review

If you have applied for a grant, your application is under review and you will receive email notification periodically until all processing is complete.

If you have not yet applied and have questions, please email or call using the information below or use the links to apply. You may also pick up an application at the address below.

Questions: Call: 941-263-6000 Ext. 36284

Email: CitySmallBusinessGrant@SarasotaFl.Gov

Office of Economic Development 1782 Dr. MLK Jr. Way Sarasota, FL 34234

 Small Business Assistance and Safety Grant Instructions

Online Grant Application (English)

Online Grant Application (Español)

Printable Grant Application (English)

Printable Grant Application (Español)

Small Business and Safety Assistance Grant Application Guidelines


In response to the COVID-19 impact on local businesses, the City of Sarasota is preparing emergency stabilization grant applications in the amount of $5,000 to eligible City of Sarasota independently owned and operated small businesses, that were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic resulting from governmental orders to close or limit operations. The City’s goal is to provide critical support to restaurants, bars, retail, and service-based businesses across our City. Although grant funds are limited, the City expects to approve over three hundred (300) grants utilizing economic development funds.


Federal, State, and County Small Business Assistance Programs have all been built on a loan platform with some forgiveness of loans under certain conditions. Smaller businesses are having difficulty taking advantage of many of the more complicated programs and the uncertainty of paying back the loans. Most Small Business Assistance Programs are specifically geared to payroll, rent/mortgage, or utility payments only. A critical bridge is needed to help small businesses invest in customer and employee safety and to help jump start their business as restrictions ease in the future. Current Small Business Assistance Programs do not provide help for public health and safety needs.


  • Utilize existing Economic Development and Tax Increment Finance (TIF) funds to provide direct financial aid to provide critical support to Sarasota’s locally owned and independently operated small businesses
  • Provide immediate assistance in the form of a $5,000 grant (not loan) to impacted eligible businesses, as funding remains available and on a first come-first served basis.
  • Target small restaurants, bars, retail, and service-based businesses operating within physical structures located in the City of Sarasota
  • Allow flexible use of the funds for small business-critical operating, capital, and health safety needs

Eligible Small Businesses:

  • Locally owned and independently operated businesses (50% owned locally by residents within the Greater Sarasota Area)
  • Must be operated within the defined businesses below
  • Physically located within City of Sarasota limits
  • Must have 25 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees or less at the business location
  • Must be registered with the State of Florida Division of Corporations as required and have a valid City of Sarasota Local Business Tax Certificate (LBTC) number as it will be required to complete the application
  • Must affirm a loss of revenue due to COVID-19
  • Must not have any outstanding fees or payments owed to the City of Sarasota except as deferred by COVID-19
  • Must not have any existing City code or regulation violations
  • Businesses that have previously been awarded a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan, or an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) or a combination thereof of more than ($5,000) dollars are ineligible for this grant.
  • Businesses who have been awarded a loan from the Sarasota County Small Business Resiliency Program in an amount greater than $5,000 dollars may apply for this grant, however, will be identified as a lower priority.
  • Businesses who have received Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan or Sarasota County Small Business Resiliency Program loan amounts totaling less than $5000 dollars in combination are eligible to receive a grant amount to make up the difference of $5000 dollars.
  • Currently, home-based businesses do not meet the eligibility requirements of this program
  • Currently, non-profits do not meet the eligibility requirements of this program

Eligible Defined Businesses Include:

  • Small Restaurants including full-service, limited service, and café establishments
  • Bars and taverns
  • Small Retail (physical brick-and-mortar establishment selling merchandise)
  • Coffee Shops
  • Hair, beauty, and other personal services
  • Personal and household goods, repairs, and maintenance
  • Child, disabled, and elderly care services, etc.
  • Laundry services
  • Cleaning services
  • Pet care
  • Fitness centers and gyms
  • Small Event spaces and services

Eligible Uses of Funds:

To receive funds through this program, businesses will be required to articulate a plan for the use of City funds for the following eligible uses.

  • COVID-19 Personal Protection Equipment
  • Expenses directly related to software, equipment, and physical improvements needed to accomplish any health, safety and social distancing initiatives or identified standards related to COVID-19.
  • Commercial Rent or mortgage payments
  • Payroll
  • Utilities
  • Retention of Equipment
  • Sales, General, and Administrative expenses deemed critical for business operations such as inventory, supplies, and materials

Application Requirements:

  • Submission of a City of Sarasota Small Business Assistance and Safety Grant Application
  • W-9 IRS Tax Form - Included as part of the application package
  • A signed City of Sarasota Grant Agreement provided as part of the grant application package
  • Current City of Sarasota Business Tax Certificate (BTC) Number

Sub-Category Declarations:

The following statements shall be required as part of a Declaration:

  • The business has a State of Florida Business Registration from Florida Division of Corporations as required
  • The business has recorded losses related to COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Business owned by a resident of the Greater Sarasota Area
  • Business located within the municipal boundaries of the City of Sarasota
  • Business is not located within a residential property
  • Business is not operated as a non-profit, 501c3 or 501c6
  • Business does not have unpaid City of Sarasota Taxes or utility payments, unless related to the COVID19 pandemic
  • Business has a total of less than 25 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees during any 7 day period prior to March 1, 2020
  • Business has a plan identifying proposed use of City Funding
  • Business does not have City code/regulation violations that have resulted in outstanding fines or liens

Applicants receiving grants shall provide a report with records of the qualified expenditures within 90 days of receipt of Grant.

Staff will consider and review each application based on its completeness, the eligibility of the applicant, and the availability of funds on a first come-first served basis

While online submittal is preferred, the application may be downloaded and completed by hand. In addition, paper copies will be available for pickup and drop off at two location:

  •  Office of Economic Development, 1782 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way

This location will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until the maximum number of applications has been received or all funding for the program has been expended.

Completed forms will be accepted online and via fax at 941-373-7766. Paper copies may be returned to the Office of Economic Development.

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.

For more information about the City of Sarasota Small Business and Safety Assistance Grant Program email CitySmallBusinessGrant@SarasotaFL.Gov or call 941-263-6000 ext. 36284.

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