By LAWRENCE WILSON
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) — The Washington State Department of Commerce has announced 22 grants totaling $32.5 million to small business development from the state’s Small Business Innovation Fund, which was funded by the federal American Rescue Plan.
The awards range from $500,000 to $5 million and are conditional pending contract agreement with the grantees.
“We received an unprecedented amount of funding requests,” Linda Womack, managing director of Small Business Finance and Community Support said in a statement. “The selected pool of organizations represents a wide range of projects that will help small businesses across the state access innovative new programs and services to help them build and grow.”
The innovation fund is designed to spur small business recovery, startup, and growth, and awards from the fund focus on entrepreneurs who are African-Americans and indigenous persons, women-owned businesses, and businesses located in underserved, low-income, and rural areas.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is a $1.9 trillion federal stimulus package intended to aid the country’s recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Six grants were awarded for business incubator programs: Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Seattle, $538,000; Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority, East Wenatchee, $1 million; Colfax Downtown Association, $2.26 million; Multi-Ethnic Business Association (AHANA), Spokane, $2 million; Tri-cities Diversity and Inclusion Council, Richland, $500,000; Downtown Walla Walla Foundation, $636,000; and Washington Manufacturing Services (Impact Washington), Bothell, $529,000.
Seven grants were made for business accelerator programs: Latino Community Fund of Washington State, Seattle, $2 million; Muslim American Youth Foundation, Burien, $510,000; Native Funds, Chelan, $520,000; Opportunity Council, Bellingham, $1.04 million; Port of Willapa Harbor, Raymond, $2.19 million; Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition (Rainier Beach Action Coalition), $578,000; Seattle and Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County, $1.89 million.
Three grants were made for competitiveness programs, given to the City of Tacoma, $1 million; Clallam County Economic Development Council, $1.26 million; Port Angeles and Spokane Independent Metro Business Alliance (SIMBA), Spokane, $984,000.
Four grants were made for improvements and repairs, given to the City of Goldendale, $1.04 million; Thurston Economic Development Council, Lacey, $539,000; Town of Odessa, $1.72 million; and University District Partnership, Seattle, $4.99 million.
A grant for various initiatives was awarded to Composite Recycling Technology Center, Port Angeles, $2.7 million.
Over 120 grant proposals were received by the DOC. Projects were selected based on the following criteria: project opportunity, outcome, solution, project readiness, management and overall budget, equitable and geographic distribution of the funding, the project’s alignment with the legislation, and applicant location vs. service area.