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City, Chamber Launch Grants Program for Struggling Businesses
By Lookout Staff
March 17, 2021 -- The City and Chamber of Commerce have established a loan program to help as many as 1,000 small local businesses recover from the coronavirus shutdown, officials announced Wednesday.
The SaMo Small Business Recovery Grant Program will provide up to $10,000 in "urgent rescue funds" to small businesses who are "struggling to survive."
According to City officials, Santa Monica has lost 130 small, locally owned businesses since the pandemic began, and a recent City business survey indicates that "many more are facing closure in the months to come."
“Our community’s economic recovery depends on the vibrancy of the small businesses that we love and adore,” said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg, noting that small businesses make up 88 percent of Santa Monica's business community.
The City and Chamber -- which have contributed $225,000 in seed funding to launch the program -- "remain committed to helping these businesses weather their severe revenue losses," Dilg said.
Grants could be used to help businesses make payroll, retain employees, assist with overhead costs and pay back rent accrued during the mandated closures, officials said.
"Our small local businesses are in crisis," said Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Laurel Rosen. "After the challenges of the past twelve months, many are hanging on by a thread.
“These businesses are the lifeblood of our community. They are our friends and neighbors, our community gathering spots, the sponsors of our schools and charities.
"It is so incredibly vital that we step up and support these businesses, so they can survive to the end of this pandemic, and be there for us on the other side," Rosen said.
Officials hope residents, as well as large local businesses, will make donations to the program, officials said.
"Whatever people can give will go a long way toward supporting a robust and equitable recovery for Santa Monica," Rosen said.
"We are drawing on the strength of our whole community to fill gaps and boost recovery."
Once sufficient funds are raised, an independent third-party will help select eligible small businesses. Updated information will be shared at www.santamonica.gov/economicrecovery.
To donate, visit www.calfund.org/wearesantamonica. Type SaMo Small Business Recovery Program in the Comment section, and select Business Recovery under Area of Support.
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