Commerce announces Small Business Resiliency Assistance program focused on disadvantaged communities

  • April 13, 2020

State collaboration with ethnic commissions to provide locally based, culturally connected business coaching and translation services for small businesses

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Department of Commerce announced a new partnership with organizations that serve cultural and historically disadvantaged businesses and communities across the state. The Small Business Resiliency Assistance program will provide technical assistance to small business owners affected by the COVID pandemic. Find the list of participating organizations here.

This group of committed, community-based organizations is reaching out to small business owners and working with them individually to find and apply for assistance that can help them right now. Several of the partners are translating information about available funding and other resources and will help people complete application materials that are required in English.

“These efforts are critical to make sure that small business owners from every community and every culture can access programs and resources available during this emergency,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Our partners are helping struggling businesses find and apply for state and federal assistance programs, and also helping them develop plans to stay open as we look toward economic recovery.”

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, community members have been concerned about the impact it would have on their business,” said Ed Prince, Executive Director, Washington State Commission on African American Affairs. “I commend our state leaders for recognizing the issue and stepping forward to help struggling small minority businesses.”

“We’ve received clear and pointed input from our community on how important it is that the state make resources available in a way that is culturally appropriate, and idiomatically accessible,” said Toshiko Hasegawa, Executive Director of Washington State’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. “Washington  is one of the most diverse states in America. Targeted efforts to ensure support services reach the businesses that need them the most are crucial for economic survival and recovery.”

“During these challenging times it is important to provide access to opportunities for preparing small businesses to thrive into the future,” said Maria Siguenza, Executive Director of the Commission on Hispanic Affairs. “This new program, designed to remove barriers to support, is vitally important to our community.. Together, we strive to ensure that language, culture and bureaucracy do not stand in the way of building a stronger small business community.”

“Like many other economic crises, COVID-19 will disproportionately impact the Black community. We need financial solutions that will aid in restoring economic growth,” said T’wina Nobles, President of The Tacoma Urban League. “Tacoma Urban League is poised to provide direct services to businesses owned and operated by Black people and other community members from historically underserved communities, cultures and populations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The following organizations are providing assistance:

Participating partner organizations will be eligible for reimbursement of allowable expenses for translating information, conducting outreach and providing business coaching, mentoring and education on what assistance is available to small businesses now, and to prepare for the future post-COVID-19 emergency response.

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Contact:

Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106

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