State grants providing more aid for small businesses


Small businesses experiencing economic hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic can now apply for additional aid, thanks to a Washington State Department of Commerce grant that opened the week of November 30. Applications will be given priority if submitted before Thursday, December 10.

The Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants 3.0 serve as the third round of funding distributed to state businesses, according to a December 1 press release from the Port of Bellingham. The Port of Bellingham distributed the first two working Washington grants but this latest round will be distributed by the Washington State Department of Commerce and the National Development Council, the release states.

Up to $20,000 in grants will be administered to businesses that made no more than $5 million per year in 2019. The third round of small business support grants will total $50 million in assistance statewide. 

“Grants will be prioritized for small businesses that are in sectors that have been most impacted by recent public health measures as well as businesses in sectors that have experienced significant, cumulative impacts,” the release says. “Examples include full-service restaurants, bars/pubs, fitness centers, bowling alleys, and music and event

If there are leftover funds after all eligible businesses receive grants, then the state department of commerce will try to assist businesses with revenues that exceeded $5 million in 2019, according to the Port of Bellingham website.

The website also states nonprofit organizations can apply if their main business is in a sector that’s been highly impacted from governor Jay Inslee’s four-week statewide restrictions that went into effect November 16.

Lisa Brown, department of commerce director, wrote in a November 20 press release from the governor’s office that the state will continue to work with legislators and Congress to receive more funds.

“The Port and the Regional Economic Partnership continue to work to identify additional state and federal resources and distribute that into our community as quickly as possible,” said Don Goldberg, director of the Port of Bellingham’s Regional Economic Partnership, in the press release. “We know that many industries and businesses are struggling as we navigate this public health crisis and we hope many Whatcom County businesses will apply for this funding opportunity.”

The Western Washington University Small Business Development Center is offering free assistance for local small businesses navigating the third round of working Washington grants. Visit for more information.

For more information on the Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants 3.0, visit the Port of Bellingham’s website at


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