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 current and future crises, we’ve put together a wealth of resources for you.
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
- Working Washington Small Business Grants: Round 4
Gov. Jay Inslee and the state legislature have approved a new round of small business grants. The $240 million program will focus on small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The application portal should open by late March.
- Working Washington Small Business Grants: Round 3
Commerce awarded approximately $100 million to small business 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. You can also view a summary by county showing total awards distributed, number of businesses assisted and type of business.
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.
Administered through the Small Business Administration and local lenders, including community development financial institutions (CDFIs), the additional $284 billion in the latest relief package sets aside a portion of its funding for both first- and second-time borrowers with 10 or fewer employees as well as loans of less than $250,000 in low-income areas. Forgiveness of loans of less than $150,000 has been simplified as well. Guidance for small businesses to prepare for the application process and program details.
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.
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.
- Business Assistance & Financial Resources – Each county has its own assistance programs available, including small business grants.
Congress has allocated an additional $284 billion in the latest relief package, signed into law Dec. 27. In addition to traditional lenders (banks, credit unions, etc.), this new round will also be available through community development financial institutions (CDFIs). The bill also earmarks a portion of the PPP funding for both first- and second-time borrowers with 10 or fewer employees and loans of less than $250,000 in low-income areas. Forgiveness of loans of less than $150,000 has been simplified as well. There is a $15 billion set aside for hard-hit live venue operators such as theaters and live performing arts organizations through a different portion of the relief bill. Guidance for small businesses to prepare for the application process and program details.
In the new relief bill, Congress added $20 billion to the EIDL program. These loans provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties that does not have to be repaid. This complements the traditional SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program which has been in place for the entire nation, all territories and Washington, D.C. since mid-March. Approval notification is estimated at approximately three days.
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
- Worker’s Compensation for Health Workers – Labor & Industries
- 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.