Commerce offers up to $5 million to non-profit organizations assisting underserved entrepreneurs and small businesses

Grants from $34.5-million Small Business Innovation Fund will support special programs to spur small business recovery, startup and growth
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Grants from $34.5-million Small Business Innovation Fund will support special programs to spur small business recovery, startup and growth

OLYMPIA, WA – Non-profit organizations with a history of assisting Washington state small businesses are invited to apply for grants up to $5 million each from the new Small Business Innovation Fund. The Washington State Department of Commerce is seeking to fund proposals that will offer community-based programs and services tailored for the specific needs of BIPOC entrepreneurs, women-owned small businesses, and businesses located in underserved, low-income and rural areas.

The deadline to submit proposals to Commerce is Sept. 2, 2022. Download the RFP (Word)

“Small businesses are central to the vitality and character of our communities,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Through the Small Business Innovation Fund, we aim to support trusted organizations that have unique knowledge and skills needed to serve business owners who have traditionally encountered obstacles in finding and accessing the services and resources they need to thrive.”

Organizations will be eligible for grants between $500,000 and $5 million through a competitive award process. A total of $34.5 million in federal funds is available through the Small Business Innovation Fund.  Eligible organizations must be licensed to do business in Washington state and be registered with the Office of the Secretary of State as a non-profit.

Eligible uses of the awards include:

  • Funding small business incubator and accelerator programs
  • Local procurement initiatives
  • Small business competitiveness programs focused on hiring and retention
  • Improvements and repairs to physical workspaces in response to public health requirements or acts of vandalism
  • Projects that increase the aptitude of small business to succeed and thrive

The Washington State Legislature established targets for distribution of the funds, with one-third allocated to each King County, all other urban centers, and rural communities. More information on the Small Business Innovation Fund is on Commerce’s website.


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