Resources for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
The City of Washougal supports businesses and their employees during this unprecedented health crisis. With the assistance of our partners in the City of Vancouver, Clark County, the Greater Portland region, Washington State, and at the federal level, the important information below has been assembled to assist businesses-small and large-and workers affected by COVID-19.
Most recent opportunities listed at top. Please be aware of application deadlines.
Small Business Flex Fund
The Small Business Flex Fund is a new resource to help you grow your business. Supported by the Washington State Department of Commerce, the Fund helps small businesses and nonprofits access the financial support they need to thrive. Small businesses and nonprofits can borrow up to $150,000 and the money can be spent flexibly, including on payroll, utilities & rent, supplies, marketing & advertising, building improvements or repairs, and other business expenses.
Learn more at https://smallbusinessflexfund.org/
SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund
The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide 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.
More info can be found at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/restaurant-revitalization-fund
Property Tax Defferal for businesses with real property
Clark County Treasurer Alishia Topper announced she is accepting property tax deferral applications from business owners of real property who were financially impacted by COVID-19 in 2020. This program is a result of ESHB 1332 which provides for a deferral of 2021 property taxes through a payment agreement.
Free Online Business Training
ScaleUp: The Rebuild Edition, a partnership between the Washington State Department of Commerce and Thurston Economic Development Council, has scheduled three new tracks for small businesses interested in achieving significant growth in the wake of COVID.
The online courses are once a week for eight weeks. Each interactive class is two hours long and can accommodate up to 100 small businesses. The ideal candidate for the program is the president/owner of a Washington state business that has been in operation for at least two years and has annual pre-COVID gross revenues in excess of $100,000.
Interested businesses can choose from three different tracks in the ongoing series at http://MyStartup365.com/programs/scaleup:
- Session #3 Wednesdays: Apr. 28 – June 23, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
- Session #4 Thursdays: Apr. 29 – June 24, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
- Session #5 Thursdays: Apr. 29 – June 24, 6 to 8 p.m.
There is no cost to qualifying businesses. For more information, contact James Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org, or (360) 464-6051.
Working Washington Grants: Round 4 application open now
Over the last year, Washington state has provided small businesses throughout the state with more than $125 million in grants to address the economic outfall of COVID-19. This effort continues with a new round of grant opportunities being managed by the Washington State Department of Commerce. The state Legislature approved $240 million for this latest round, making it our largest so far.
Working Washington Grants Round 4 offers grant relief funds to small for-profit businesses, especially those that were required to close due to public health and safety measures. Priorities for funding are:
- Businesses required to close.
- Businesses with lost revenue as a result of closure.
- Businesses with added expenses to maintain safe operations.
- Equitable distribution of grant funds across the state and to businesses owned and operated by historically disadvantaged individuals.
The application portal is open now through 5 p.m. April 9 at www.commercegrants.com. Materials are available in 16 languages.
Working Washington small business grants
The Washington State Department of Commerce will open applications for Working Washington Grants: Round 4 on March 29. Business owners can find information about the program and a link to the application portal at commercegrants.com.
This is the fourth round of the Working Washington grant program. Legislators approved $240 million for the current round as part of an early action bill that also provided additional funding for rent assistance and other COVID-19 response efforts.
SBA Round 2 COVID-19 relief and PPP Application
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loans to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. SBA is currently offering:
- First Draw PPP Loans for first time program participants
- Second Draw PPP Loans beginning January 13, 2021 for certain businesses who have previously received a PPP loan
SBA is currently accepting Paycheck Protection Program PPP loan applications from participating community financial institutions (CFIs) and lenders with under $1 billion in assets, which includes approximately 5,000 institutions, including community banks, credit unions, and farm credit institutions. Lender Match can help you find a participating lender. The program will open to all lenders on January 19, 2021.
Round 3: Working Washington Small Business Grants
Gov. Jay Inslee announced an additional $70 million for business grants. $50 million of this is for Round 3 of the Working Washington Small Business grants. The remainder will go towards funding qualified businesses that applied in earlier rounds of our resiliency grant program.
NOTE: Businesses that applied for the resiliency grant program will not need to take any action.
Application site traffic may be high so page load times may be impacted. Applicants are encouraged to be patient or try accessing the site during non-peak hours such as early morning, late evening or the weekend.
Who can apply for Round 3?
These grants are prioritized for:
- Small businesses with annual revenues of $5 million or less in 2019
Businesses in the sectors that are most impacted by the recent public health measures or sectors that have experienced significant, cumulative impacts. Examples include full-service restaurants, fitness centers, bowling alleys and music and event venues.
- Certain nonprofits may also be eligible if they have a primary business activity that falls into a similar category as noted above. Example – a nonprofit full-service restaurant or nonprofit music venue.
- If Commerce is able to fund all the eligible applicants from the priority pool, and funds remain, we may be able to provide grants to additional businesses or nonprofits from other sectors or who have annual revenues larger than $5 million.
The application describes additional criteria. Business owners with multiple locations can apply for each location that has its own unique UBI number.
Washington State Safe Start Projects Grant
New federal grant that supports Safe Start projects and partnerships aimed at helping Washington state businesses restart, rebuild and become more resilient have recently been announced by the Washington State Department of Commerce. The grant funds will support a number of initiatives ultimately aimed at helping Washington small businesses and strengthening core industry clusters.
Some of the projects are new, but several build off existing efforts. Restart projects include technical assistance for businesses and entrepreneurs in underrepresented and underserved communities as well as a first-of-its-kind COVID-19 modeling project that will help predict and prevent outbreaks so that essential, high-risk businesses such as fisheries, food processors and meat packers can reopen and stay open safely.
A fact sheet that includes descriptions of rebuild and restart projects can be found at https://www.commerce.wa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Overview-EDA-grant.pdf.
If you're a small business owner and would like information about the various programs supporting small businesses, visit http://bit.ly/wa-covid19.
Small Business Relief Grant Program through Mercy Corps Northwest, Clark County and City of Vancouver
As small business owners continue to grapple with the economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mercy Corps Northwest has partnered with Clark County and the City of Vancouver to distribute grants to entrepreneurs facing financial hardship through a new small business relief grant program.
Applications for grants between $2,500 to $10,000 will be accepted on Mercy Corps Northwest’s website starting Tuesday, Sept. 8. Eligible businesses are those with low to moderate income that have five or fewer employees. The program encourages minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses to apply.
To apply or see a full list of grant requirements visit mercycorpsnw.org/clarkcounty. Mercy Corps Northwest plans to distribute the grants before the end of October.
Clark County Main Street Support Program (CCMSSP)
The Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) is accepting applications for the Clark County Main Street Support Program (CCMSSP), which will provide new emergency grants of up to $10,000 each for businesses with 10 to 20 employees in Clark County. Grant money can be used to reimburse rent expenses related to the impact from COVID-19.
A pool of approximately $432,000 is available only to businesses in Clark County until funds are exhausted. Applications will be accepted through end of day on September 18, 2020.
To learn more and apply, visit credc.org/ccmssp.
Round 2: Working Washington Small Business Grants
Commerce has funded a second round of $10 million in grants to support small businesses with 20 or fewer employees. Grant amounts will not exceed $10,000 total per business and is made possible by the Federal CARES Act. Nonprofits are not eligible for this program.
To be eligible for consideration, qualifying small businesses must:
- Employ 20 or fewer employees
- Be licensed to do business in Washington State
- Provide proof that it has been impacted by COVID-19
If selected for an award, a successful business must be able to answer “yes” to the following questions:
- The expense is connected to the COVID-19 emergency.
- The expense is “necessary” to continue business operations.
- The expense is not filling a shortfall in government revenues (i.e. taxes, licenses, state, county, federal and/or city fees).
- The business will self–attest that the expense is not funded by any other funder, whether private, state or federal.
Qualifying businesses will apply directly through their county economic development organization. Each organization has its own additional application process and qualifications. A list of economic development organizations with links to their respective website appears below.
If you have questions pertaining to this second round or the status of your application, contact CREDC.
non-contact infrared thermometers (NCIT) from FEMA for eligible businesses and other essential workplaces
CREDC received an allotment of non-contact infrared thermometers (NCIT) from FEMA to support the phased reopening of eligible businesses and other essential workplaces with a high degree of person-to-person interaction. In partnership with our friends at GVCC, we will be distributing the thermometers to eligible businesses this week at three locations in Clark County. We are reaching out to seek your help spreading the word about the availability of the thermometers, how to request one and where they can be picked up.
- Must be a business with a high degree of person-to-person interaction in Clark County.
- Must be a business with 50 or less employees, where employees are not exclusively family.
- Must be a business within one of the industry classifications in Phase One or Phase Two of the Safe Start Plan.
- Businesses structured as Sole-Proprietorships are not being considered, at this time.
How to request a thermometer:
By completing this form, eligible businesses can request one (1) thermometer per individual or entity regardless of the number of businesses owned or represented. Note that supply is limited and requests will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.
- WED., JULY 1st from 1-5 PM at the CREDC office located at 805 Broadway St. (4th floor) Vancouver, WA 98660
- THU., JULY 2nd from 9:30-11 AM in front of the Port of Camas-Washougal office located at 24 South ’A’ Street, Washougal, WA 98671
- THU., JULY 2nd from 1-3 PM in front of Main Street Floral located at 717 W Main St #118, Battle Ground, WA 98604
New Applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance Now Being Accepted
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are able to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid. Recipients do not have to be approved for a loan in order to receive the advance, but the amount of the loan advance will be deducted from total loan eligibility. For more information, visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/economic-injury-disaster-loan-emergency-advance.
Washington Small Business Emergency Grants
Governor Inslee is offering a new Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant program to assist small businesses (with up to 10 FTEs) impacted by COVID-19 to survive and retain jobs. The grant is administrated by the Washington Department of Commerce in collaboration locally with the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC). Funds will be made available to awardees on a reimbursable basis in amounts of up to $10,000.
CREDC will be accepting the first round of applications via email between 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on April 8, 2020. For full details, including eligibility, application and more, visit CREDC.org/wwsbeg.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
As of April 3, 2020, SBA-approved lenders are accepting Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications. A PPP loan is designed to provide quick relief for businesses to keep their workers employed during the crisis.
Learn more here or contact your local bank, credit union or financial institution. The response to this program has been unprecedented. Consider starting with your existing financial institution and confirm whether it is processing PPPs or not. If not, find local SBA-approved lenders via zip code here.
The federal stimulus package, known as the CARES Act, provides several options for grant and loan assistance for businesses. Many of the programs will be administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which was already overseeing low-interest loans available under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. A complete breakdown of the new programs and directions on how to apply can be found at the SBA website (SBA.gov), as well as through the US Chamber of Commerce. Some aid will be funneled through local SBA-approved lenders. Washougal businesses are advised to contact their bank, credit union or financial institution to confirm whether they are participating in the programs. You can find a summary of the program from the National League of Cities here or learn more from the Department of Treasury here.
Small Business Resiliency Assistance
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.
L&I is providing emergency relief to help employers struggling to pay their workers’ compensation premiums
The Department of Labor & Industries is now offering a penalty- and interest-free grace period for premium payments, along with payment plans for employers facing financial difficulties during the coronavirus outbreak. Under this offer employers can request their payments be deferred for up to 90 days or ask for a 90-day payment plan. You can find out more about L&I’s Employer Assistance Program here.
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the crisis.
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance: SBA loan that provides small businesses with working capital of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to help overcome temporary loss of revenue. Loan advance of up to $10,000 provides more immediate relief with funds available within 3 days of a successful application and will not have to be repaid.
- SBA Express Bridge Loans: Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.
- SBA Debt Relief: Financial relief to small businesses (payment of principal, interest and fees) of current and new (issued prior to September 27, 2020) SBA 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months.
For businesses considering employee lay-offs or terminations, Washington State’s Employment Security Department (ESD) has enacted emergency rules to relieve the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation and quarantine for workers and businesses. Also, WorkSource & Workforce Southwest Washington have several programs that can help businesses affected by COVID-19, including layoff aversion programs.
In addition to providing COVID-19 Business Resources, which you can find here, the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) is seeking feedback on the extent to which COVID-19 is impacting companies and the broader economy in Clark County. Feedback received will be provided to public officials to inform them on additional policy remedies that could help affected companies. Please take a few minutes to respond to the questions in this quick survey. Responses will be aggregated so as not to disclose any details unique to your company.
Please consult the links below for valuable information on business resources. Most are being updated frequently with the latest resources. Overall, you can follow the City’s COVID-19 response updates at cityofwashougal.us/COVID19.
- US Department of the Treasury
- Washington State Small Business Guidance
- Washington Small Business Development Center
- Camas/Washougal Chamber of Commerce
- Washougal Business Association
- Port of Camas/Washougal
- Columbia River Economic Council (CREDC)
- Washington State Governor Inslee’s Office
- StartUp Washington / WA State Department of Commerce
- Washington State Employment Security Department: Info for Workers
- Washington State Employment Security Department: Infor for Employers & Businesses
- Washington State Employment Security Department: Scenarios & Benefits Infographic
- Washington Retail Association: Resource Guide for Retailers & Employees
- United States Small Business Administration (SBA)
- CDC: Interim Guidance for Businesses & Employers
- U.S. Senator Patty Murray
- U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell
- U.S Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler
- Joint COVID-19 website for State Senator Ann Rivers & Representatives Brandon Vick & Larry Hoff