COVID-19 Small Business Resources
Working your way through a crisis – whether it’s manmade or natural – is difficult work to say the least. To guide you through the pandemic and its impact on the state’s economy, we’ve put together this list of resources.
Details about the distribution of Commerce’s previous business grant rounds are available here.
You can also see a summary of all Commerce’s COVID-19 response efforts here.
Grants & Loans
The Washington State Legislature has allocated a new round of grant funding for small businesses affected by the pandemic. $70 million was appropriated by the legislature for the next round of Working Washington Grants: Round 5, with $45 million of the appropriation directed to eligible businesses and nonprofit organizations in the arts, heritage, and science sectors, including those that operate live entertainment venues. We will have more information about the new program on this site by Spring 2022.
Small businesses and nonprofits can apply for a low-interest loan of up to $150,000 to finance expansion and growth as well as recover from the pandemic and subsequent economic slowdown.
- Border Business Relief Grants
Targeted grants of up to $50,000 will be awarded to businesses that have experienced COVID-related revenue due to Canadian border closures or loss of Canadian customers. Program opens Oct. 4 and runs through Oct. 18.
- Department of Agriculture Relief & Recovery Grants
Grants of approximately $15,000 were made available for 1) Shellfish growers, 2) Farmers’ market organizations, 3) Agritourism farms and 4) Small breweries, cideries, wineries, and distilleries.
Gov. Jay Inslee and the state legislature approved a new round of small business grants in early 2021. The $240 million in grants will focus on small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Commerce awarded approximately $100 million to small businesses statewide through Round 3. Successful applicants were notified by Dec. 31, 2020.
- Immigrant Relief Fund
Gov. Inslee used $40 million in federal funds to assist Washington workers who missed work due to COVID-19, but were unable to access federal stimulus programs and other social supports due to their immigration status.
- Shellfish Seed Grant
Offered through Impact Washington and Commerce, these grants targeted shellfish growers who were affected by COVID and resulting economic conditions so they could larvae and seed to plant in Washington.
This interactive map shows the more than 1,400 grant recipients of the Governor’s Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants that distributed nearly $10 million to small businesses statewide.
Commerce funded an additional $10 million in small business grants that were administered and managed by the state’s network of associate economic development organizations.
- Nonprofits: Youth Development Relief Fund
Commerce partnered with Schools Out Washington to administer this grant program for nonprofits that provide youth development programs. The program prioritized organizations that serve populations disproportionately impacted by or at-risk due to COVID-19. This included youth with disabilities, homeless youth, immigrant youth and more.
- Nonprofits: ArtsWA Relief Grants
Commerce partnered with the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) to provide relief funding to arts and cultural organizations impacted by COVID-19. Funding was prioritized for organizations that serve under-resourced communities, culturally diverse populations and underrepresented groups.
- Nonprofits: Equity Relief Fund
This program provided one-time relief grant funding to help very small nonprofits in communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. These grants helped nonprofits continue the programs and services they provide, including cultural connections, human services, legal support, education, safety and community development.
To help you reassure customers and clients that health and safety remain a top priority, this decision tool identifies safety protocols by county that may be important to your customers as well as your own business planning as the state reopens.
As small businesses restart and recovery, they face unique challenges, from dealing with grief to finding new ways forward. These 12 tutorials are designed to help renew your spirits, re-energize your business and give you new paths forward.
The state has put together a meta site of resources, links and official updates for use by businesses and workers related to the Coronavirus pandemic.
An industry-specific list of Safe Start guidelines businesses can use to reopen their business safely and in compliance with state phased orders.
If you are a business, non-profit or worker with general inquiries, please use this form for issues related to financial help, the Safe Start policy plan for returning to work, safety guidelines for your sector or business, and other assistance related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The effects of COVID-19 have negatively affected Washington’s small businesses across the state. Those in marginalized communities have been hit especially hard. We are investing in and partnering with organizations that provide linguistically and culturally appropriate assistance to these business owners.
SmallBizHelpWA.com is an information and resource hub that provides current and accurate information on available relief programs for Washington’s small businesses and eligible non-profits. It is powered by the National Development Council and Washington Economic Development Association with support from the Washington Small Business Recovery Working Group.
As we experience additional waves of COVID, this planner walks you through what you need to do in order to make the necessary adjustments to your business operations to reduce or suspend operations.
Free Internet is available at hotspots statewide to serve residents who don’t have broadband in their homes and broadband wifi to search for jobs, telework, file unemployment, do homework, complete the census or access telehealth appointments. Be sure to use good social distancing and hygiene practices at these mobile sites.
Created by the Foster School Consulting and Business Development Center, the playbook provides actionable resources for historically disadvantaged businesses and business owners.
- PPP Loan Forgiveness Portal
Businesses who received a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program can now apply for forgiveness through the new streamlined portal launched last month by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Small business owners with loans up to $150,000 can apply. Visit the SBA’s PPP Direct Forgiveness Portal for information. Customer service is also available by phone at 877-552-2692.
The $16 billion in federal SVOG grants are targeted to live venue operators and promoters, theatrical producers, performing arts organization operators, motion picture theater operators, museum operators and talent representatives who were impacted by COVID-19. Qualifying applicants who applied for a PPP loan after Dec. 27, 2020, can also apply for this grant, with the eligible award being reduced by the amount of the PPP loan. The Department of Commerce does not manage this grant.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) provides funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023. The Department of Commerce does not manage this grant program.
Administered through the Small Business Administration and local lenders, including community development financial institutions (CDFIs), the latest relief package sets aside additional funding for small businesses particularly hard hit by the pandemic.
Small businesses who originally took out an EIDL loan for up to $150,000 for six months can extend that loan for up to 24 months and receive additional funds for a total of $500,000 in relief. Businesses that received an EIDL loan for up to six months and $150,000 need not submit a request to increase their loan amount. Rather, the SBA will reach out via email for details on how businesses can request additional loan funds prior to the April 6 launch date of the extended program
The latest bill extends a provision that pays the principal and interest on behalf of borrowers that have certain SBA loans, such as 7(a) loans. It also provides support for the 7(a) program by increasing the amount of the SBA’s guarantee for lenders.
The SBA’s Express Bridge Loan allows small businesses that have an existing business relationship with a participating lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.
These centers will help you navigate available SBA loans and provide you with no-cost business consulting.
This program protects you in case your customers overseas are slow on paying receivables or go out of business. It allows you to commit to export sales without fear of loss during the pandemic.
The USDA is are taking a number of steps to help rural communities and agricultural producers through their single-family, multi-family, business-cooperative, and utility service provider programs.
Small Business Tools
- The Small Business Playbook – How to Start a Business in Washington State
- Entrepreneur Academy – An 11 lesson series teaching essential business skills to prospective business owners.
- Small Business Resource Site – Washington State Small Business Recovery Working Group
- Small Business Crisis Planner – Planning For and Navigating Through a Crisis
- Business Toolkit & PPE Marketplace – Association of Washington Business
- Step-by-Step Business Planning Guide – King County
- Business Resiliency Toolkit – Washington Small Business Development Center (WSBDC)
- Business Planning Tools & Resources – Washington State Emergency Management Division
- Workplace & Employer Resources – Washington State Department of Health
- Manufacturing Industry Resources – Impact Washington
- CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to COVID-19
- Commerce Twitter Updates
- Employment Security Department COVID-19 Updates & Response
- Twitter Feed – Employment Security Department
- Business & Event Insurance – Washington State Insurance Commissioner
- Business Insurance Information in Additional Languages – Washington State Insurance Commissioner
- Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 Updates
- Public Health Connection Blog – Washington State Department of Health
- Twitter Feed – Washington State Department of Health
- Coronavirus Disease Information for Travel
- CDC Site for COVID-19
- Johns Hopkins Data Map – Tracks reported and active cases worldwide.