Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants – Final Report

On April 7, 2020, applications for the first round of the Working
Washington Small Business Emergency Grants went live on the Washington State
Department of Commerce (Commerce) website. Commerce administered the funds for
the relief program, and through Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) – the
designated Associated Development Organization (ADO) for Spokane County –
deployed $583,133 across the county to small businesses to offset operating and
other costs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over a two-week period in April, GSI and other local
business development organizations received 1,851 applications, then 166
screened applications were forwarded to Commerce for final award decisions. 69
Spokane County businesses were selected for grants of up to $10,000. GSI has
been responsible for managing the grant contracts over the last year.

Among the selected pool of grantees were 24 restaurants, 12
retail establishments, 7 construction companies, 7 healthcare businesses, 3
manufacturing companies, 3 hospitality establishments, 1 salon, 1 graphic
design business, 1 preschool, 1 trade show service, and 1 management company.
Grantees represented 26 women-owned businesses, 11 minority-owned businesses, 8
veteran-owned businesses, and 2 tribal-owned businesses.

Over the last few months, GSI has collected survey responses
from 57 of these businesses indicating just how impactful the Working
Washington grant dollars were for their business.

Every business that responded to the survey indicated that
they are still in business today, with the help of the Working Washington
grant. The grants helped retain a total of 342 employees, with 81 new hires. 17
of the businesses indicated that the funding was crucial to keep their business
open, and that they would have closed without it. The majority of the funds
were used on rent, utilities, supplies, and general operating expenses when
revenue streams were at an all-time low.

GSI partnered with Commerce through three additional rounds
of Working Washington relief funding and continues to advocate for small
businesses in the region.

Article Source: Greater Spokane