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Fighting Chance Fund

To provide relief to small businesses impacted by local COVID-19 orders, the City of St. Petersburg has created the Fighting Chance Fund – an emergency grant for St. Pete’s negatively impacted locally owned and independently operated small businesses.

The City's goal is to help offset the significant, temporary loss of revenue during this global pandemic.

Who is eligible?

This is a City program that provides grants (not loans) to impacted eligible businesses. Click the below sections to see eligibility for businesses.

If you previously applied and your application was declined, you are eligible to reapply if you meet new criteria. A new application must be submitted. 

Small Business Eligibility Brick & Mortar+

Amount: $4,000

What makes a business eligible to apply?

  • Independently owned and operated Businesses (non-franchise):
    • Business must have experienced negative impact due to COVID-19
    • Business must have been established in St. Petersburg for at least six months
    • Business must occupy a commercial physical establishment (brick and mortar) located in the City of St. Petersburg (Check to see if your business address meets eligibility)
      • Businesses that operate out of a shared space (such as lofts or co-working space) must have a current lease agreement with the owner of the commercial space (the lessee listed on the lease may either be the business entity or the business owner). The full lease agreement must be provided with the application, and the following must be clearly identified in the document: lease term, lessor and lessee, and address of the property.
    • Business location must have no more than 50 full-time and part-time employees
    • Business has not previously received grant funding through the Fighting Chance Fund
  • Franchised Businesses:
    • In addition to the small business criteria above, locally owned and operated franchise affiliates the meet the following additional criteria are eligible to apply:
      • There must be no more than 300 total affiliated locations with the same name in the United States
      • The business’s state registration (Florida Division of Corporations) has a “Principal Address” based within Pinellas County.

What are the required documents that a business must provide?

  • Copy of “active” state business registration from Florida Division of Corporations
    • Search by “Entity Name” here (use full legal business name), select listing with “Active” Status, and attach most recent filing as a screenshot
    • If not required to register with Florida Division of Corporations, attach documentation showing the business meets all regulatory requirements from Pinellas County or the State of Florida
  • Business Financials
    • Sole Proprietors, Independent Contractors, and individual LLCs
      • 2018 or 2019 Schedule C (Form 1040) [1st page of document is sufficient]
      • If a 2018 or 2019 return is unavailable, provide proof of an Income Tax Extension from the Internal Revenue Service
      • If you cannot provide proof of an Income Tax Extension, provide an explanation.
    • C-Corps, S-Corps, corporate Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs)
      • 2018 or 2019 Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 1120 or 1120S) [1st page of document is sufficient
      • If a 2018 or 2019 return is unavailable, provide proof of an Income Tax Extension from the Internal Revenue Service
      • If you cannot provide proof of an Income Tax Extension, provide an explanation.
    • Partnerships
      • 2018 or 2019 Return of Partnership Income (Form 1065) [1st page of document is sufficient]
      • If a 2018 or 2019 return is unavailable, provide proof of an Income Tax Extension from the Internal Revenue Service
      • If you cannot provide proof of an Income Tax Extension, provide an explanation.
    • Non-profit organizations (501c3 only)
      • 2018 or 2019Return of Organization Free from Income Tax (Form 990) [1st page of document is sufficient
      • If a 2018 or 2019 return is unavailable, provide proof of an Income Tax Extension from the Internal Revenue Service
      • If you cannot provide proof of an Income Tax Extension, provide an explanation.
  • Updated and Current St. Petersburg Business Tax Receipt
    • An active business tax certificate from the City of St. Petersburg is required to receive funding through the Fighting Chance Fund program. If approved, this certificate must be active. If you need to file for or renew your certificate, please visit www.stpete.org/businesstax. The City will hold your application for 10 business days until the receipt is secured and verified by City Staff.
      • If your business is not required to have a business tax certificate, attach a copy of your occupational license from Pinellas County.
      • If your business is exempt from the business tax certificate requirement, attach a copy of your verified Exemption Letter from our Business Tax Division as your application will not be considered without proof of exemption.
  • Copy of Driver’s License or state ID
  • Full employee list (as of the date of this application)
    • Attach Quarterly Wage & Withholding Reports (Form 941) for 1st Quarter 2020, redacted payroll documents, or other payroll information showing total number of employees
  • Copy of most recent St. Petersburg Commercial Utility Bill statement
    • If applicant does not pay Utility Bill, provide Certificate of Liability Insurance – ACORD form - or other acceptable form showing current General Liability Insurance Policy at the commercial address.
  • Copy of current Commercial Lease Agreement (only for a business leasing shared space with others)

What are eligible business expenses that the funds may be used for?

  • Commercial Lease payments (for payment in arrears and June and July 2020)
  • Commercial Mortgage payments (for payment in arrears and June and July 2020)
  • Employee Salary and Benefits and funding existing Payroll
  • Other Sales, General, and Administrative expenses (SGA) deemed critical for business operations
  • Utilities
  • New equipment needed to assist the business to a temporary digital transition (e.g. webcams for virtual trainings, software licensing for videoconferencing, etc.)
  • Investment in businesses modifications that comply with guidelines promulgated by the CDC, as updated.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the 50 employee count determined?
The employee count determined by the total number of employees active on the business payroll at the time of completing the application –which includes full time and part time employees (including employees managed through PEO) for the individual business location that is applying.

I have multiple businesses, is there a cap to what I can receive?
Yes. At this time there is a one award per owner cap.

A scanner is inaccessible during this time. How will I submit my documents to you?
Clearly legible photos of the required documents will be accepted. Mobile applications that perform scanning from your mobile camera is highly recommended. Examples of mobile applications include: Google Drive or Camscanner.

Will my business be eligible to receive funds from the federal CARES program if I receive funds from this program?
Yes. This is a grant program, not a loan or other type of credit that requires repayment by the recipient. While certain federal and state lending programs may have limitations regarding an applicant’s access to credit elsewhere, the City’s Fighting Chance Fund is a grant, not a loan, and you may proceed with applying for other programs. Please see www.stpetegreenhouse.com/prepare for additional resources. Please consult with your financial advisor or attorney for guidance regarding eligibility for federal or state funding sources.

Can non-profit organizations apply?
The Fighting Chance Fund has not created an eligibility based on tax filing status. Both for- profit and non-profits may apply but must meet program eligibility requirements

Are homebased businesses eligible to apply?
Yes. Under new Round 3 criteria, home-based businesses are now considered eligible and must apply under the separate home-based business application.

I am my own business with all required documents but lease a space within another business, for example within a co-working space, a salon, massage studio. Will I be able to apply as a business?
Yes. Applicants that have their own business filing and documents, are not independent contractors, who lease space within another business and meet all other requirements for eligibility can apply as a business. A copy of a lease agreement must be included with application.

What happens if I do not include all of the required documents at the time I submit my application?
Do not submit your application unless you are able to provide the required documents it reviewed in the order it was received unless you submit a complete application. Please collect ALL required documents and submit the application and all documents in entirety.

I received Fighting Chance Funds already, can I apply again?
No.

Do I need to reapply if I applied before and was found ineligible but due to changes I am now eligible?
Yes, you must reapply.

Is the application public record?
The submitted Application, including attachments, is subject to disclosure under Florida’s public records law subject to limited applicable exemptions. For additional information, see Request for Exemption from Public Records. Applicant acknowledges, understands, and agrees that all information in its application and attachments will be disclosed, without any notice to Applicant, if a public records request is made for such information, and the City will not be liable to Applicant for such disclosure.

Social security numbers are collected, maintained and reported by the City to be in compliance with IRS 1099 reporting requirements and are exempt from public records pursuant to Florida Statutes s.119.071.

If Applicant believes that information in its application, including attachments, contains information that is exempt from disclosure, Applicant must include a general description

Small Business Eligibility Home-Based+

Amount: $2,000

What makes a business eligible to apply?

  • Business must have experienced negative impact due to COVID-19
  • Business must have been established in St. Petersburg for at least 12 months
  • Business must be considered a home-based business located in the City of St. Petersburg (Check to see if your residential address meets eligibility)
  • Demonstrate and document a minimum of $17,000 in Gross Revenue or Sales for the period beginning on March 1, 2019 and ending on February 29, 2020
  • Business has not previously received grant funding through the Fighting Chance Fund

Required Documents

  • Copy of “active” state business registration from Florida Division of Corporations
    • Search by “Entity Name” here (use full legal business name), select listing with “Active” Status, and attach most recent filing as a screenshot. Failure to provide the screenshot will not result in rejection of the application but may delay a decision on the application.
    • If not required to register with Florida Division of Corporations, attach documentation showing the business meets all regulatory requirements from Pinellas County or the State of Florida.
  • Business Financials
    • Sole Proprietors, Independent Contractors, and individual LLCs
      • 2019 Schedule C (Form 1040) [1st page of document is sufficient]
        • If unable to produce a 2019 tax return, provide proof of an Income Tax Extension from the Internal Revenue Service.
        • If you cannot provide proof of an Income Tax Extension, provide an explanation.
      • A Profit & Loss Statement reflecting business operations from March 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020
    • C-Corps, S-Corps, corporate Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs)
      • 2019 Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 1120 or 1120S) [1st page of document is sufficient]
        • If unable to produce a 2019 tax return, provide proof of an Income Tax Extension from the Internal Revenue Service.
        • If you cannot provide proof of an Income Tax Extension, provide an explanation.
      • A Profit & Loss Statement reflecting business operations from March 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020
    • Partnerships
      • 2019 Return of Partnership Income (Form 1065) [1st page of document is sufficient]
        • If unable to produce a 2019 tax return, provide proof of an Income Tax Extension from the Internal Revenue Service.
        • If you cannot provide proof of an Income Tax Extension, provide an explanation.
      • A Profit & Loss Statement reflecting business operations from March 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020
    • Non-profit organizations (501c3 only)
      • 2019 Return of Organization Free from Income Tax (Form 990) [1st page of document is sufficient]
        • If unable to produce a 2019 tax return, provide proof of an Income Tax Extension from the Internal Revenue Service.
        • If you cannot provide proof of an Income Tax Extension, provide an explanation.
      • A Profit & Loss Statement reflecting business operations from March 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020
  • Updated and Current St. Petersburg Business Tax Certificate
    • An active business tax certificate from the City of St. Petersburg is required to receive funding through the Fighting Chance Fund program. If approved, this certificate must be active. If you need to file for or renew your certificate, please visit www.stpete.org/businesstax. The City will hold your application for 10 business days until the receipt is secured and verified by City Staff.
    • If your business is not required to have a business tax certificate, attach a copy of your occupational license from Pinellas County.
    • If your business is exempt from the business tax certificate requirement, attach a copy of your verified Exemption Letter from our Business Tax Division as your application will not be considered without proof of exemption.
  • Copy of Business Owner’s Driver’s License or State ID
  • Full employee list (as of the date of this application)
    • Attach Quarterly Wage & Withholding Reports (Form 941) for 1st Quarter 2020, redacted payroll documents, or other payroll information showing total number of employees
  • Copy of most recent St. Petersburg Utility Bill statement
    • If applicant does not pay Utility Bill, provide Certification of Liability Insurance (COI) – Accord form – or other acceptable form showing current General Liability Insurance Policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

A scanner is inaccessible during this time. How will I submit my documents to you?

Clearly legible photos of the required documents will be accepted. Mobile applications that perform scanning from your mobile camera is highly recommended. Examples of mobile applications include: Google Drive or Camscanner.

Will my business be eligible to receive funds from the federal CARES program if I receive funds from this program?
Yes. This is a grant program, not a loan or other type of credit that requires repayment by the recipient. While certain federal and state lending programs may have limitations regarding an applicant’s access to credit elsewhere, the City’s Fighting Chance Fund is a grant, not a loan, and you may proceed with applying for other programs. Please see www.stpetegreenhouse.com/prepare for additional resources. Please consult with your financial advisor or attorney for guidance regarding eligibility for federal or state funding sources.

Can non-profit organizations apply?
The Fighting Chance Fund has not created an eligibility based on tax filing status. Both for- profit and non-profits may apply but must meet program eligibility requirements.

Are homebased businesses eligible to apply?
Yes. Under new Round 3 criteria, home-based businesses are now considered eligible to apply.

What happens if I do not include all of the required documents at the time I submit my application?
Do not submit your application unless you are able to provide the required documents it reviewed in the order it was received unless you submit a complete application. Please collect ALL required documents and submit the application and all documents in entirety.

I received Fighting Chance Funds already, can I apply again?
No.

Do I need to reapply if I applied before and was found ineligible but due to changes I am now eligible?
Yes, you must reapply.

Is the application public record?
The submitted Application, including attachments, is subject to disclosure under Florida’s public records law subject to limited applicable exemptions. For additional information, see Request for Exemption from Public Records. Applicant acknowledges, understands, and agrees that all information in its application and attachments will be disclosed, without any notice to Applicant, if a public records request is made for such information, and the City will not be liable to Applicant for such disclosure.

Social security numbers are collected, maintained and reported by the City to be in compliance with IRS 1099 reporting requirements and are exempt from public records pursuant to Florida Statutes s.119.071.

If Applicant believes that information in its application, including attachments, contains information that is exempt from disclosure, Applicant must include a general description of the information and provide reference to the Florida statute or other law which exempts such designated information from disclosure in the event a public records request. The City does not warrant or guarantee that information designated by Applicant as exempt from disclosure is in fact exempt. The City offers no opinion as to the accuracy of the reference to the Florida statute or other law by Applicant. Please be aware that the designation of information as a exempt may be challenged in court by any person or entity, and Applicant agrees to defend and indemnify the City, its employees, agents and elected and appointed officials (“Indemnified Parties”) against any and all claims, demands and actions (whether or not a lawsuit is commenced) arising out of or in connection with Applicant’s designation and to hold harmless the Indemnified Parties for any award to a plaintiff for damages, costs and attorneys’ fees, and for costs and attorneys’ fees (including those of the City Attorney’s office) incurred by the City by reason of any claim, demand or action arising out of or related to Applicant’s designation of information as exempt from disclosure. There are limited exemptions to Florida’s Public Record Law, please find a document here that summarizes them: http://stpetegreenhouse.com/

The businesses and individuals who have been approved for the fund are shown below.

Approved Businesses Round 1   

Approved Individuals Round 1

Updated as of May 7, 2020

The Round 2 report is forthcoming as that round is closed out.



How do I apply?

We expect to exhaust the remaining funds during this round. Applications will be processed in a first come, first complete manner while funds remain. For technical assistance an on-demand webinar is available.

Brick & Mortar Application

Homebased business Application

The program remains open until funds are exhausted. The City initially allocated $6.8 million to this initiative and has granted $4 million to date. Thanks to generous community members, organizations and donors we are able to combine the remaining funds with nearly $550,000 in donations to expand the reach of the program for Round 3.

Percentage of remaining funds have been set aside for the application categories as follows:

  • 60% of total remaining funds to Home Based Businesses
  • 30% of total remaining funds to Brick and Mortars
  • 10% of total remaining funds to Franchises

Donate to this Fund

If you are interested in supporting this fund, please visit Pinellas Community Foundation's page for Fighting Chance Fund. 

Donate Now


Interested in More?

Visit Restart St. Pete and The Greenhouse's Prepare webpage for additional information, programs and resources.

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