Gov. Jay Nixon and State Treasurer Clint Zweifel today joined area business and community leaders to announce the State of Missouri’s commitment of up to $250,000 in small business lending resources from the State Small Business Loan Program to support efforts of the Small Business Relief Program. The Governor has designated Treasurer Zweifel to oversee Missouri’s commitment to the program, which will aid businesses in Ferguson and the surrounding area.
With support from a coalition of public and private sector organizations, the Small Business Relief Program will provide up to $1 million in support to businesses impacted by recent events to help them recover and grow their businesses. The public-private partnership includes the State of Missouri, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, North County Inc., and local lending institutions. State funding will be utilized for zero-interest loans to meet the immediate needs of businesses impacted.
“Working together, we’ve made progress to bring peace to the streets of Ferguson,” Gov. Nixon said. “But when it comes to the broader effort to mend what has been broken and build a more just and prosperous future for this region, our work is just beginning and our commitment is long-term.
“Over the past few weeks, a number of businesses in and around Ferguson have been impacted – some were looted, and dozens of others have lost customers,” the Governor continued. “These small businesses are the backbone of the area economy and supporting them will bring stability to the region, so that our work to help the Ferguson area recover can continue.”
“I grew up in North County, this community has my heart and I am proud to be part of the effort to revitalize the region’s economy,” Treasurer Zweifel said. “Our coalition of partners has been on the ground here, talking to small businesses and formulating a plan to provide immediate, substantial and targeted relief to this area. We are going to work together with the great people of North County to show the world that we are open for business.”
“We want shop keepers to know we are not just here for today or tomorrow or next week. We are here for the long-haul, said Rodney Crim, President, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. “We know there will be curves ahead for them. But we will be there to make sure to help them get back what they lost.”
“The people of Ferguson have shown remarkable resilience and courage in the face of a major crisis,” St. Louis Regional Chamber President & CEO Joe Reagan said. “As they are now working very hard to rebuild and move forward, we are honored to stand with the residents and business owners of this historic community in that effort. In trying times like these, the Regional Chamber could not be more proud to join with its economic development partners throughout this great region to support Ferguson and the surrounding area. The world is watching, and the world will see us working together to create a better tomorrow.”
Gov. Nixon also said that his administration is preparing a formal request for a Small Business Administration disaster declaration, which will allow businesses in the area to qualify for low-interest SBA loans. In addition, the Missouri Department of Insurance has been in Ferguson and the surrounding area, working with business owners who sustained property damage to assist them in filing damage claims and to answer insurance questions.
Last Friday, the Governor addressed a coalition of economic development, community leaders and state officials who are coordinating support for businesses affected by the recent events in North St. Louis County. Working directly with impacted small businesses, the coalition identified the need for the Small Business Relief Program as a critical component of recovery efforts.