November 6, 2022

The Sarasota Journal

Your community-based independent news source.

County exhausts business loan funds

SARASOTA –– More businesses than expected were able to take advantage of Sarasota County’s small business resiliency loan program county commissioners learned Wednesday.

In all, 190 local businesses will be receiving funds from the county’s $4.3 million economic development incentive fund which commissioners tapped to assist local small businesses struggling with the current economy.

Dave Bullock, interim CEO of the Economic Development Corporation, which processed applications for the loans, had estimated that about 140 small businesses would receive assistance.

The higher number, Rob Lewis, director of Governmental Relations for the county, told commissioners happened because not ever business requested the full loan amount available of $25,000.

By April 25, after the county began accepting applications, 950 local businesses had submitted applications.

This past week, the Sarasota City commissioners approved $5,000 loans to local businesses in the city beginning May 12.

In response to a question, Lewis said that the funds would be going to an array of businesses, all of which had under 50 employees, one of the primary eligibility requirements.

Businesses were also required to submit a county business tax receipt with a Sarasota County address for the past three years, a copy of their federal payroll protection program application along with a county application for a loan.

The successful applicants will receive up to $25,000 with no interest or payments for the first year. After that first year, the loans will carry an interest rate of 3.5 percent for the next three years at which time the loan is repayable in full. However, if 80 percent of the loan amount is repaid before the end of the first year, the remainder of the loan will be converted to a grant with no repayment required.

As of April 4, 9,281 claims for unemployment benefits had been filed from Sarasota County which has a labor force of 189,137 persons.


Warren Richardson
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