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Commerce Awards 61 Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants through Greater Spokane Inc.

(SPOKANE, Wash.) – Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI), in partnership with the Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce), has awarded 61 local small businesses with grants of up to $10,000 each through the Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant (WWSBEG) program.

Commerce administered the funds for the relief program, and through GSI – the designated Associate Development Organization (ADO) for Spokane County – deployed $583,133 across the county to businesses with 1-10 employees to offset operating and other costs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The WWSBEG program total for the state was $10 million.

“Each of these businesses faced unique challenges over the last three months,” said GSI CEO Alisha Benson. “We are proud to disseminate these needed funds to small businesses to safely reopen and thank Commerce for the relief.”

“Small businesses are job generators, product and service providers and they provide the unique character of our downtown and neighborhood commercial districts,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “While we know there is much more to do, these Working Washington grants are designed to support them during this challenging time on the road to recovery.”

Over a two-week period in April, GSI and other local business development organizations received 1,851 applications, then 166 screened applications were forwarded to Commerce for final award decisioning. GSI will manage the grant contracts with each awarded business. The contract period runs through June 2021.

The selected pool of grantees includes 24 restaurants, 12 retail establishments, 7 construction companies, 7 healthcare businesses, 3 manufacturing companies, 3 hospitality establishments, 1 salon, 1 graphic design business, 1 preschool, 1 trade show service, and 1 management company. Grantees represent 26 women-owned businesses, 11 minority-owned businesses, 8 veteran-owned businesses, and 2 tribal-owned businesses. Located in six different cities (Spokane, Spokane Valley, Otis Orchards, Cheney, Mead, Medical Lake) across Spokane County, these businesses will primarily use these funds to pay for rent, utilities, and other allowable expenses.

The WWSBEG recipients in Spokane County will employ a total of 315 individuals and it is estimated that this grant will prevent the loss of 246 jobs.

GSI continues to advocate for additional relief dollars for small businesses from various levels of government. “While we celebrate the 61 small businesses that received much-needed support, the remaining 1,790 small businesses that applied are left without. The need remains high for small businesses,” said Benson.

About Greater Spokane Inc.

Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI) is the Spokane region’s business development organization. GSI creates the place where organizations come together to advocate for the region, drive strategic economic growth, and champion a talented workforce. GSI is funded through a combination of private and public investment, including nearly 900 private-sector members; Spokane County; Washington State Department of Commerce; and the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney, Deer Park, Liberty Lake, Airway Heights, Medical Lake, Millwood, Newport, and the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. For more information visit GreaterSpokane.org

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