Recent Updates

SBA Shuttered Venue Operator Grant Opens April 7

The application portal for Shuttered Venue Operator grants described in an earlier update (targeting businesses that hosted live performances, etc. that have been economically impacted by COVID-19) is now open. You can learn more and apply here: Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

*A separate shuttered venue opportunity, targeted specifically for nonprofits, will open in early May. Additional info will be posted here when available.

NEW WA State Ag Industry Grants Coming

The Washington State Department of Agriculture has announced four new grant programs to support:

  • Farmers Markets
  • Shellfish Growers
  • Agritourism Farms
  • Craft Beverage Businesses

Grants will be prioritized for small and/or other ag businesses that were previously ineligible for State grants. The average estimated award amount is $15,000, with expected payment by the end of May.

The grant portal opens Friday, April 9, and is anticipated to remain open for two weeks: https://agr.wa.gov/grants

To check your eligibility in advance, visit: https://agr.wa.gov/services/grant-opportunities/covid-grants

*Please note: Prior receipt of a Thurston Strong grant does not affect your eligibility.

Upcoming Federal Funding Support Update

Thurston Strong is tracking federal legislation (America Rescue Plan) that will provide additional business and worker recovery resources in Thurston County. Funding is expected to arrive within months. Current plans include business grants, displaced worker training and job placement, minority business equity investments, business resiliency training and more. Updates will be posted here as Treasury fund-use rules are clarified.

Working Washington Business Grant Portal Goes Live March 29

The Washington State Department of Commerce has announced March 29 as the target date for launching its next round of business grants. Visit www.commercegrants.com to:

  • Learn if you qualify – priorities for funding include businesses required to close, businesses with lost revenue as a result of closure, businesses with added expenses to maintain safe operations, and equitable distribution of grant funds across the state and to businesses owned and operated by historically disadvantaged individuals.
  • Preview required documentation – all the usual items + 2019 and 2020 tax forms
  • Register for updates – “how to” webinars will be scheduled and posted in the next few weeks

Other things to consider:

  • Grants limited to $25,000 and any prior Commerce grant (if any) will be subtracted from total
  • There is $240 million available to serve the entire state (so apply early if you qualify!)
  • Application window is March 29-April 9, 2021
  • Applicants can access information in multiple languages at the website noted above
  • Thurston Strong has NO direct role in the awarding of these particular grants

Washington State Business Grants Available Soon

This week, the Governor signed legislation that includes direct financial assistance for small businesses. The Early Action grant program will be administered by the Department of Commerce, not Thurston Strong. For information, visit www.commerce.wa.gov/bizgrants. The application portal is expected to open sometime in March. Please note, there are a number of restrictions that may impact your eligibility, so visit the site early to ensure you qualify and have the proper information ready. Funding will go quickly.

We continue to track federal legislation containing additional business and worker relief aid. At this time, it remains under debate in Congress.

Small Business Administration Tweaks Payroll Protection Program (PPP)

Adjustments to the PPP in the most current round of funding provided greater access to those most in need. A greater share of funding is now available exclusively for businesses with fewer than 10 employees, those located in rural areas and others who bank through Community Development Financial Institutions that capitalize small and minority-owned businesses. Other changes have reduced application paperwork requirements for small businesses and nonprofits and increased the amount of eligible funding for sole proprietors and independent contractors. Businesses that fall under these categories are encouraged to apply for a forgivable PPP loan in early March. For more info, visit https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources.

Business and Worker Resource Support Update

We are tracking developing State and Federal legislation that will yield new financial and technical resource support for workers and businesses. While details have not yet been confirmed, it appears more rounds of relief aid are on the way, beginning as early as March. As always, we will post pertinent info on this site and notify all thurstonstrong.org subscribers upon confirmation of the facts.