Commerce awards final 100 small business grants from initial Working Washington funds

Emergency grants to businesses with up to 10 employees save over 5,500 jobs across the state; second round of funds available soon

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced the final group of grants from the first round of the Governor’s Working Washington Small Business emergency grant program to 100 very small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Businesses with up to 10 employees in 13 counties across the state received a total of more than $286,000 to cover costs including rent, utility bills, supplies, inventory and other operating expenses.

Agency officials focused on getting help into the hardest hit communities with these remaining funds from the initial program.

“These grants have been a lifeline to small businesses that make up the fabric of our community,” said Ron Cridlebaugh, Director of Economic Development for the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority, Commerce’s local partner in the Working Washington grants program.

In total, over 1500 Washington businesses are expected to receive over $9.7 million, saving an estimated 5,500 jobs. Of these, initial data shows 360 are minority-owned, 749 are woman-owned, 109 are veteran-owned and 18 are Tribal-owned enterprises. A broad range of industries are represented, including retail, hospitality, manufacturing, construction and other sectors including healthcare, veterinary, child care, barbershops, salons, business services and more.

A summary and map of grant recipients is available on Commerce’s website.

“As we continue to limit interactions in our fight against COVID-19 and plan for safe reopening of our economy, businesses are working hard to adjust to a ‘new normal’ and we need to be there for them,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown.  “These grants are helping our smallest Main Street businesses keep their doors open and paychecks coming to their employees.”

Brown said another round of Working Washington grants is on the way very soon, funded with a portion of the state’s Coronavirus Aid, Recovery and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds being administrated through Commerce.

Launched in April, applications for the Working Washington grants exceeded available funding by about 10 fold. The first grants are funded with $5 million from the Governor’s Working Washington economic development strategic reserve fund and $5 million from the state’s $200 million COVID-19 emergency response package approved by the Legislature in March.

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