Commerce Awards Working Washington Grants To More Than 7,800 Small Businesses
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Commerce Awards Working Washington Grants To More Than 7,800 Small Businesses

News Release | Washington State Department of Commerce

Newest $100 million grant round prioritized industries with disproportionate impacts such as restaurants, fitness centers and indoor entertainment venues

OLYMPIA, WA – The state Department of Commerce today announced that over 7,800 small businesses will receive a Working Washington grant. Gov. Jay Inslee announced the new round of business assistance in November and approved $100 million for the grants.

Public health measures have disproportionately impacted certain industries such as full-service restaurants, fitness centers and indoor entertainment venues like bowling alleys. This recent round of grant funding prioritized small businesses in those sectors and that have less than $5 million in annual revenue.

Commerce awarded approximately 7,200 businesses a $12,500 grant. In addition, it awarded $4,500 to approximately 630 businesses that received a recent $8,000 business resiliency grant and happened to also meet the priority criteria for the Working Washington grant. This ensured resiliency grant recipients received the same funding amount they would have received had they applied for a Working Washington grant.

This snapshot from Commerce’s Economic Recovery Dashboard shows the year-over-year change in taxable business income among various sectors. Leisure and hospitality is among the hardest-hit. (Note: Most agricultural producers are exempt from Business and Occupation Tax, the metric used to derive “taxable business income.” This data only includes those producers who manufacture or sell manufactured product.

Commerce launched the Working Washington Round 3 application portal on Dec. 2 and received more than 28,000 applications by Dec. 16. Commerce was able to fund all eligible businesses within the priority sectors. The largest share of grants - more than half – went to full-service restaurants. Fitness centers followed as the next largest category. Grants are going to businesses from every county in the state. Commerce is preparing a more detailed overview of the grant distribution to be posted online next month.

“The economic impacts of the pandemic are felt far and wide, there’s no doubt. And while some industries have been able to pivot their operations and continue to bring in enough revenue to stay afloat, those options aren’t available for many others,” said Lisa Brown, Commerce director. “Small businesses are the heartbeat of our local communities and our state economy. Throughout the country and in every part of our state, small businesses are struggling. We appreciate the governor providing this unprecedented level of grant funding, and hope the state Legislature and Congress continue to make business support a priority in the coming weeks.”

Small businesses that applied should check their email for notifications. Commerce is working to distribute funds to businesses as soon as possible and can process payments within a few days of receiving final documentation from business owners.

The two earlier Working Washington grant rounds were for $10 million each, making this third $100 million grant round the largest to date. Approximately 1,400 businesses received Round 1 awards and 1,570 businesses received Round 2 awards.

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