The JP UP Date: Illinois DCEO Small Business Grant Deadline Nears

Katie ArnoldThe JP UP date

Number 74                            July 3, 2020                                   St. Louis

Illinois DCEO Small Business Grant Deadline Nears
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is now offering its first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) by providing $60 million to businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of Covid-19 related closures.  The BIG Program is available for up to 3,500 businesses that experienced a limited ability to operate due to Covid-19 related closures.  In this first round of grants, priority will be given to small businesses that have been heavily restricted or completely shut down during the pandemic.  Additional priority will be given to businesses located in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs), or low-income areas that have witnessed high rates of Covid-19 cases.  Businesses eligible for the program must have experienced extreme hardship, demonstrated by incurring eligible costs or losses in excess of the grant amount since March.  For more information, click here.

City of St. Louis Small Business Grant Program Now Accepting Applications

Applications are now being accepted for the City of St. Louis Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF). These grants will provide financial assistance to small businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and Stay at Home Orders. Through the CARES Act, the total amount of the funding available for disbursement is $4 million. These grant amounts will be $5,000.

Approved grants are subject to the Board of Aldermen approving the CARES Act budget. Fifty percent (50%) of the available funding will be reserved for businesses located within the St. Louis Promise Zone, an Opportunity Zone, or a Neighborhood Revitalization Stabilization Area.

Please go to the SLDC Website for the link to the application at

Businesses that did not receive a Small Business Relief Program loan from SLDC will be prioritized over those businesses that did.

If you have any questions about this program, please email

The Pandemic Diaries: Redefined

The Pandemic Diaries was a weekly reflection penned by individual Justine PETERSEN staff members in the style of journaling, chronicling the daily reality of working from home in the wake of Covid-19.  In light of us fighting the long entrenched pandemic of structural racism and inequality, the series will now include diary submissions reflecting on what it means to live in a world that is unjust, and what can and should be done for “cultural course correction.” This week’s diary entry is written by Stephanie Slay, Portfolio Associate at Justine PETERSEN.  

When I was asked to contribute to the JP UP date, I was taken back on what to say – I am not one to express my opinion on social matters.  Overwhelmed by a sense of obligation, I began to reflect on my past 3 years at JP.

JP is an organization that has not only helped my family and I, but an organization that has helped countless individuals and small businesses in the St. Louis Community.  Due to Covid-19 taking the country and the world hostage, there has been an up-roar of uncertainty in not only the economy, but everyone’s lives; JP has been there to lend a hand.  JP has been able to assist with the PPP, SBA Cares, and restructuring client loans, just to name a few.

We all have become victims to Covid-19 in one way or another, and to help do our part to flatten the curve and slow, if not stop the spread of the virus, JP has allowed the entire staff to work remotely.  As the State of Missouri eases its restrictions, some have returned to the office for a few days a week, while others continue to work from home.  This has allowed us to continue serving the community and allowed the staff to continue supporting their families in these financially trying times.

As individuals across the country take to the streets to demand justice for those who have lost their lives for the color of their skin – JP has always had a diverse staff as a way for various forms of representation and diversity.  This has created a comfortable and supportive work environment and has given individuals and businesses an equal chance based on nothing more than what they need.  You do not find that at big name banks who take our socioeconomic status and race into consideration, ultimately putting you at an unfair advantage.

I am a GOD-fearing woman, and I believe that with GOD’s guidance, we can make changes for the better.  We can come together to eliminate this deadly pandemic and make progressive changes in the area of race, justice, and diversity.

I thank my employer for giving me these opportunities in the past few months of crazy 2020.  As Portfolio Associate at JP, I continue to help our clients to satisfy their loan commitment during these stressful and uncertain times.

How Does Your Garden Grow?
If there is indeed one constant in the world, it is the annual Justine PETERSEN staff vegetable garden.  No global pandemic can dampen the enthusiasm and teamwork that brings to fruition summer salad fixings and utter joy!  May we learn valuable life lessons from our garden plants:  enjoy both the sunshine and the rain.  And always keep growing.