Saint Paul Bridge Fund for Small Businesses Guidelines

Saint Paul Bridge Fund for Small Businesses applications are now closed.

Program Overview
Provide emergency assistance for Small Businesses in the City of Saint Paul that are most impacted by the Governor’s Emergency Executive Orders in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Program Goals
Support Saint Paul’s small retail businesses impacted by COVID-19, providing grant dollars to cover a portion of immediate business expenses. These local grants are designed to complement and provide a bridge to state and federal aid to Saint Paul’s small businesses.

Grant Structure
One-time working capital grants of $7,500 for qualified Small Businesses to use for any business expenses such as rent, mortgage payments, utilities, payroll, earned sick and safe time leave for employees, medical insurance for employees, accounts payable, or other immediate business expenses. Grants are dependent on program guidelines and availability of funding.

Saint Paul is making grants available from the Bridge Fund in connection with a qualified disaster declaration in response to COVID-19.The grant application will not ask about immigration or documentation status, and immigration or documentation status will have no impact on eligibility.

If you have questions regarding the application or guidelines, or want help applying please call (651) 266-6565. Staff are available to help who speak Hmong, Spanish, Somali, Oromo and Karen.

Eligibility
To be eligible for a Bridge Fund for Small Businesses grant, a Small Business must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be located within the City of Saint Paul.
  • Operate out of a Physical Establishment.
  • Be a for-profit business.
  • Be a legal entity registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State.
  • Have less than $2M in annual gross revenue.
  • Have operated and conducted business at the same location within the City of Saint Paul for at least three months.
  • Operate a Retail-Oriented business.
  • Have revenues that are primarily from sales to the general public rather than business-to-business transactions.
  • Be independently owned.
  • Have four or fewer locations within the City of Saint Paul.
  • Been ordered to close or had to significantly reduce its business by a State of Minnesota Emergency Executive Order in 2020.

The following businesses are not eligible for this grant program:

  • Commercial or residential real-estate businesses.
  • Subsidiaries of a business dominant in its field, including corporate chain businesses.
  • Businesses that can conduct all or most of its business operations remotely.
  • Independent consultants.
  • Residential-based businesses.

A business or business owner that has more than one operating location in the City of Saint Paul can apply for each location individually, so long as each location meets the criteria above.

Application Process
Saint Paul will accept applications April 8 through April 19 at 5:00 p.m.

If applications received by April 19, 2020 exceed funding available, qualified applicants will be selected through a random selection system. Qualified applicants not selected in the random selection system will be placed on a waiting list if more grant funding is available.

If applications received by April 19, 2020 do not exceed funding available, the application will be re-opened and evaluated on a rolling basis until funds are fully-committed.

To apply:

  • Apply online.
  • Application requirements will involve providing:
    • Basic details about the business.
    • A narrative description and calculation of the negative impact on the business due to COVID-19.
    • Information on current operations including whether the business closed or providing reduced services.
    • Information on the intended use of the grant funds.
    • A narrative description of the current plans for reopening following the COVID-19 crisis.

Within a few days of submitting your application online, you will receive an email from the City of Saint Paul requesting eligibility verification documentation through a secure link/email.

City staff will review application for eligibility. Staff may request additional information or documentation.

Final approval of eligibility will be made by the Executive Director of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority or their designee.

Funding Process
If application is approved and funds are available, businesses will be notified within 10 business days and provided with an electronic grant agreement for signatures.

Upon full execution of the signed grant agreement to the City, payment will be made in approximately 10 business days and a check for the full amount of the grant award mailed to the business address registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State.

Origination, application, and any other applicable fees under HRA policy will be waived.

Small businesses receiving funds must commit to using the funds for basic business expenses, and agree to document and report specific uses of the funds, as well as the economic impact of the grant program, including, but not limited to, employees retained or rehired, and sales.

Definitions
For the purposes of this program, any references to these terms shall have the following meaning:

Small Business
"Small business" means a business entity organized for profit, including but not limited to any individual, partnership, corporation, joint venture, association or cooperative, which entity: (1) is not a subsidiary of a business dominant in its field of operation; and (2) in the preceding fiscal year has not had more than the equivalent of $2,000,000 in annual gross revenues.

Physical Establishment
"Physical Establishment" means the business has site control over distinct commercial property at the listed business location. Site control is proven with a copy of lease, mortgage statement, property tax statement or other document to show proof of occupancy.

Retail-Oriented Business
"Retail-Oriented" means the business sells goods and/or services to the general public and is typically open to individual customers or consumers.

Follow-Up and Additional Resources
For businesses needing additional resources such as technical assistance, larger working capital loans, or others, staff will provide ongoing assistance to businesses of all sizes and types, working with partners and other levels of government to access resources as they become available, such as SBA and State of Minnesota DEED loans.

Staff will conduct a check-in with grant recipients within one year of the distribution of funds to learn the effect of the grant and business outcomes and whether they match the program’s desired outcomes of business and/or job retention.