Businesses that have been impacted by unrest following the shooting death of Michael Brown August 9 are being offered no-interest loans. $1-million dollars is being committed to the program, divided evenly among the state’s small business loan program, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and a coalition of St. Louis region banks.
Businesses in a specified area that were affected by looting and vandalism will be eligible for the loans.
“Over the past few weeks some businesses were looted or damaged and there have been dozens of others who have taken a financial hit because of lost customers and lost business,” says Nixon.
State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, a North St. Louis County native, has been placed in charge of distributing the loans. He says the owners of businesses in the region where looting and rioting occurred are facing challenges they’ve never faced before, but they haven’t backed down.
“With all these businesses not one had said, ‘We don’t think we can make it. We’re giving up,’” says Zweifel. “There’s a sense of optimism and resolve, I think, for most small business owners that we have.”
Governor Nixon says the program is only a first step toward helping spur economic, as well as emotional, recovery in the region.