Grant money available for small businesses hurt by pandemic

If you are a small-business owner in Missouri, there is grant money available to help mitigate the economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new Small Business Grant Program through the Missouri Department of Economic Development is designed to assist small businesses and family-owned farms.

"This virus isn't going away, and we have to protect both the lives and the livelihoods of Missouri workers, families and children," Department of Economic Development director Rob Dixon said in a news release. "Thanks to today's action by the Governor we are not only reinvesting in our economy, but building up the success and safety of our state over the long term."

To be eligible for the grant, a business must employ 50 or fewer employees (including the owners of the business). Grants are limited at this time to $50,000 and the costs eligible for reimbursement must be related to COVID-19 and have occurred between March 1 and Nov. 15 of this year.

For more information, visit www.ShowMeStrong.mo.gov.

There is also grant money available for organizations that are retooling their facilities to manufacture personal protective equipment. More information is available on the Missouri Department of Economic Development's website.

The governor announced last week the creation of the Missouri Recovery Lab, an online platform to assist businesses through the pandemic. The platform includes best practices, instructional videos and a resource directory. More information is available at www.showmestrong.mo.gov/mo-recovery-lab.

The pandemic has underscored the value trade associations and chambers of commerce provide to their members. These organizations are helping disseminate information and connect them with resources. Locally, the chambers of commerce in Cape Girardeau and Jackson have played a particularly important role not only in informing members on various topics but also connecting them with masks. We extend our appreciation to the chambers for their good work.

If you are a small business, consider the grant opportunities listed above. It could be helpful as you look to sustain operations during the pandemic and lead your business into the future.