City of Chamber partner with goal of supporting 1,000 small businesses
By Sam Catanzaro
Since the pandemic began, 130 small businesses have closed in Santa Monica. Now the City and the chamber of commerce have launched a recovery program with grants of up to $10,000 for support small businesses.
“Our small local businesses are in crisis. After the challenges of the past twelve months, many are hanging on by a thread,” said Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Laurel Rosen. “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.
On March 17, the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce rolled out the SaMo Small Business Recovery Grant Program. Officials say the goal is to support 1,000 small businesses with grants of up to $10,000. The City and Chamber have contributed $225,000 in seed funding to launch the program and are currently raising donations through the We Are Santa Monica Fund.
“Our community’s economic recovery depends on the vibrancy of the small businesses that we love and adore,” said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg. “If you are a large business located in Santa Monica and the lives of your customers and workforce are made better by our full economic diversity, we hope you will join us in boosting our shared recovery.”
The City says the Program will provide “urgent rescue funds” to local struggling small businesses.
“While some have been able to secure federal loans or other sources of support, there is still a great need for local grants to help keep small businesses afloat. Grants could be used to help businesses make payroll, retain employees, assist with overhead costs, and pay back rent during the required closures,” the City said in a press release announcing the program’s launch.
Grants are not yet available for businesses to apply for. According to the City, once sufficient funds are raised, a process will be initiated with an independent third-party to select eligible small businesses with grants of up to $10,000.
To donate, visit https://www.calfund.org/wearesantamonica. Type SaMo Small Business Recovery Program in the Comment section, and select Business Recovery under Area of Support.
The program is part of the We are Santa Monica effort, a partnership between the City and the California Community Foundation (CCF). Other areas the fund supports include the Black Agenda in Santa Monica, and the Virginia Avenue Park Emergency Food Pantry.
According to the City, since the pandemic began, Santa Monica has lost 130 small, locally owned businesses and a recent City business survey indicates that many more are facing closure in the months to come.In addition, the City says 88 percent of the business community is comprised of small businesses.