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Inslee, Department of Commerce announce support for small businesses

April 7, 2020

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Gov. Jay Inslee today announced additional steps to help mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19.

“We know this isn’t everything we need to recover. We know we have a long economic recovery ahead of us," Inslee said. "The work ahead remains intense, and we are going to roll out every tool at our disposal while also expecting the federal government to live up to their obligations to our state."

The new actions aim to help small businesses in Washington, and include: 

  • The Working Washington Small Business Grant, through the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund and administered by the Washington State Department of Commerce with the help of county economic development organizations. The grants will provide up to $10,000 for small businesses under 10 employees. Businesses can use this money to pay for rent, utility bills, supplies, inventory and other operating expenses. To apply for an emergency grant, visit coronavirus.wa.gov.
  • Business resiliency assistance, through the Washington State Department of Commerce by partnering with organizations that serve economically disadvantaged communities across the state.
  • Forgivable loans, through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Small businesses, non-profits, independent contractors or a self-employed individuals in need of financial help may be eligible for a forgivable loan from the SBA. Beginning last Friday, local banks began taking SBA applications and issuing forgivable loans. For more information go to sba.gov.

Inslee also encouraged individuals and businesses to take advantage of legal assistance through the state’s Office of Civil Legal Aid. State legal aid programs can help with unemployment compensation, eviction and foreclosure, family safety and domestic violence, debt collection, consumer protection and other issues. You can find more at ocla.wa.gov.

Earlier today, Inslee and leading nonprofits in the state launched a fund to support the state’s food banks as supply levels drop. About 1.6 million Washingtonians are expected to approach food banks for assistance this week alone. That is double the number of Washingtonians who usually access food banks in a given week.

"These are immediate options to help small businesses weather the storm, but we know there is much more to do," Inslee said. "We will continue to find ways to support businesses and workers as we continue to battle this virus."

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