June 1, 2021

Commerce awards $234 million in latest round of small business grants

The Washington State Department of Commerce has awarded an additional $234 million in Working Washington relief and recovery grants to 11,697 small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Round 4 grants ranged from $12,000 to $30,000 and were awarded in every county in Washington State.

“While we are through the worst of the pandemic, small businesses have been hit hard, especially in rural and ethnic communities, and in several industries such as hospitality and entertainment,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “We continue to focus our grant programs on sectors most disproportionately impacted or businesses most likely to be left out of federal aid programs, hoping to minimize the risk of a ’k-shaped recovery’ where some succeed more easily while others are left behind.”

At press time, round 4 grants were still being processed and a list of recipients was not available. Here’s some preliminary data:

  • 20% of grant recipients plan to use the money to assist them in reopening. The rest plan to use funds to cover operating expenses.
  • More than 4 in 10 businesses awarded funding in this round are in the hospitality industry.
  • More than 40% of business owners are woman-owned, nearly 30% of business owners are Asian American and more than 7% are Hispanic/Latinx.
  • Businesses receiving grants represent nearly two dozen industries.

To date, Commerce has administered more than $526 million in relief grants to small businesses and nonprofits in sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.


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