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The Missouri Department of Economic Development is offering grants for small businesses and family-owned farms impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, as well manufacturers using their facilities to produce personal protective equipment.

Small Business and Family-Owned Farm Grant Program

Funded through the federal CARES Act, the Small Business and Family-Owned Farm Grant Program provides grants to small businesses and family-owned farms to reimburse expenses associated with business interruptions and closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses and family-owned farms can apply at ded.mo.gov/content/small-business-grant-program

The program is supposed to "fill in the gaps" federal funding couldn't cover, said Maggie Kost, DED director of communications.

"Small businesses are a huge contributor to the state's economy and we're seeing a slow and steady return in the economy, but we certainly are nowhere near where we were pre-COVID," she said. "We want to do what we can to get money flowing in the economy again and spending flowing in the economy again, and small businesses play a huge role in that."

While the $30 million statewide grant is not limited to specific industries, the DED is focusing primarily on family-owned farms, retail trade, accommodation, food service and health care industries, according to the program guidelines.

The DED began accepting applications earlier this week. The deadline to apply is Aug. 31.

The DED will give priority to the "hardest hit industries," according to the guidelines. However, if funding is still available Sept. 1, it will review applications for other eligible industries.

Individual grant amounts will initially have a $50,000 limit, but the DED could grant more to recipients if additional funds are available Oct. 15.

Of the $30 million grant, $7.5 million is available for family-owned farms and farm corporations.

To qualify, applicants must:

Be located in Missouri.

Be incorporated in Missouri, with the exception of family farms.

Be registered to do business in Missouri and be in good standing with the Missouri secretary of state.

Be a for-profit business or family-owned farm that employs 50 or fewer full-time employees, including owners.

Have incurred or is incurring costs related to the coronavirus pandemic between March 1 and Nov. 15.

Submit Form 943 to receive a tax clearance certificate from the Missouri Department of Revenue.

Not employ illegal workers and provide enrollment proof in E-Verify.

Register as a vendor with the state through MissouriBUYS.

Applicants must send DED original receipts of eligible costs and documentation of payment by Nov. 15 to receive full reimbursement.

Eligible costs are generally those that "are significantly different from planned operational costs and directly related to the COVID public health emergency," according to the guidelines. Those include hazard pay for direct health care workers, leasing additional space for social distancing, overhead that had to be paid while business was closed or sales decreased, salaries of workers during closure or reduced hours, and website redesign to do e-commerce.

Expenses not eligible include those that have been reimbursed by insurance or under any federal, state or local government funding.

"You have to demonstrate that there's no overlap in any of those fund sources," Kost said. "We certainly don't want folks to be double-dipping."

Costs that were not necessary to address the coronavirus pandemic are also not eligible.

Shaun Sappenfield, existing business manager for the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, said while local businesses appear to be staying steady during the pandemic, he advised small businesses owners pursue the DED's program.

"To me, this is just another layer to assist businesses," he said. "If a business feels they had a cost that is eligible under this program, and they incurred a cost because of either closure or partial closure, paying overtime, I would just make application."

Show Me Strong Personal Protective Equipment Retooling Program

Also funded through the CARES Act, the $20 million Show Me Strong Personal Protective Equipment Retooling Program provides grants to manufacturers, nonprofits and other entities to reimburse costs for "retooling existing facilities by purchasing necessary equipment and services to manufacture" PPE in Missouri, according to the website.

Individuals can apply for the program by visiting ded.mo.gov/content/show-me-strong-personal-protective-equipment-ppe-retooling-program

The DED began accepting applications earlier this week. The deadline is Dec. 1.

"There's been a lot of talk about how long the supply chains were and how that impacted COVID-19 response early on," Kost said. "It was very difficult to get PPE early on as demands skyrocketed, and we want to make sure we're reshoring that critical manufacturing supply chain."

The grant program has two tiers.

Tier 1 includes N95 respirators, medical examination gloves, disinfectant wipes, and isolation gowns, among other items.

Tier 2 includes face shields, gel hand sanitizer, surgical masks, infrared thermometers temporal, eye protection and biohazard bags, among other items.

Applicants in the Tier 1 category can receive up to $500,000 per facility for PPE production, while those in Tier 2 can receive up to $300,000 per facility.

To qualify, applicants must:

Be either a for-profit or not-for-profit entity.

Have 500 full-time employees or fewer and have been operating in Missouri for at least three years.

Have produced the PPE end product at a Missouri facility.

Have either retooled or are planning to retool its manufacturing operation to produce PPE, have established a new line for the purpose of producing PPE or has undertaken activities necessary to manufacture PPE.

Have incurred or is incurring costs related to the coronavirus pandemic between March 1 and Nov. 15.

Agree to make "good faith efforts" to sell PPE produced as a result of the grant program in Missouri.

Produce approved PPE items through June 30, 2021

Share their production plans and product specifications with the DED.

Be in good standing with the secretary of state.

Submit Form 943 to receive a tax clearance certificate from the Missouri Department of Revenue.

Not employ illegal workers and provide enrollment proof in E-Verify.

Register as a vendor with the state through MissouriBUYS.

Submit a project impact report by July 1, 2021.

Eligible expenses are necessary costs to manufacture PPE in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including retooling a facility, purchasing equipment, design and engineering costs, and technology upgrades for machinery, among other items.

Along with applying for grants, Kost encouraged businesses to visit ShowMeStrong.mo.gov for more resources.

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