City of Seattle to Open Applications for $4 Million in Small Business Stabilization Fund Grants

Office of Economic Development to Provide In-Language Assistance and Host Informational Webinars to Help Small Business Owners and Economic Opportunity Non-Profits Apply

Seattle (November 9, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced that the City will now accept applications for $4 million in new Small Business Stabilization Fund grants provided by the Office of Economic Development (OED). Launching the expanded Small Business Stabilization Fund was one of Mayor Durkan’s first COVID-19 relief actions, and to date, OED has provided 469 small businesses with $10,000 grants through this fund. The Small Business Stabilization Fund application will accept applications from Monday, November 9 until Monday November 30, 2020.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Seattle; they provide people with good-paying jobs and contribute to the cultural and civic life of our City,” said Mayor Durkan. “The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn have impacted so many small businesses, and too many neighborhood favorites have had to close their doors for good. The Small Business Stabilization Fund is a critical way for the City to invest directly in small business owners during this unprecedented time. I’m deeply grateful to the team at OED who works tirelessly to get these funds out the door and into business owners’ hands. Ultimately, we need the federal government to pass another COVID-19 relief package to provide much needed assistance for our small business, workers, and cities.”

“When OED received more than 9,000 applications in March when the Stabilization Fund was launched, we knew our COVID relief package, funded through JumpStart Seattle, must include more support for small business. By expanding this vital program, we’re ensuring our small businesses not only survive this pandemic – keeping their doors open, jobs intact, and health insurance for their employees accessible – but Seattle’s economy remains resilient in the long term,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide).

The newest round of the Small Business Stabilization Fund is funded by the joint COVID-19 relief bill that the Mayor and City Council passed in August. In the joint legislation, the Mayor and City Council allocated $5.5 million for Small Business Stabilization Fund grants and committed to spend $2.5 million in 2020, and another $3 million in 2021. After accounting for administrative costs, OED will be able to provide small businesses and economic opportunity non-profits $2.37 million for grants in 2020 and roughly $1.6 million for grants in 2021. Additionally, the City is committing $1.25 million in 2021 to work with community-based organizations to help improve our prioritization of grants to the most vulnerable and traditionally underserved businesses.

To be eligible for a grant, a small business or non-profit must have 25 or fewer employees, be located within Seattle city limits, and have an annual net revenue at or below $2 million. Non-profits must explicitly provide economic opportunity supports through education programs and/or job training. In an attempt to prioritize funding to businesses that are more likely to have experienced the greatest economic impacts, OED will ensure that at least two-thirds of grant recipients will be selected from applications from businesses with five or fewer employees and from areas that are identified as high risk of displacement or highly disadvantaged. Those areas are determined by several socioeconomic factors to identify areas of the city that have been historically underserved and more likely to be disproportionally impacted by economic shocks. This fund also aims to better support creative industry small businesses and workers and will specifically allocate 10 percent of all grants—or 24 grants—to creative industry small businesses. All businesses and non-profit organizations that receive a grant must commit to not reducing wages and benefits provided prior to the COVID-19 emergency. For more information on all eligibility requirements, visit OED’s website.

“Ventures focuses our resources and expertise on historically underserved business owners, in particular, low income, people of color, and immigrants and refugees. The small business owners we serve have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis and are struggling to stay afloat. The City’s Small Business Stabilization Fund provides business owners a lifeline to keep their doors open. We’re grateful for the support and will make sure all our clients are aware of this important resource,” said Beto Yarce, Executive Director of Ventures Nonprofit.

To assist small business owners in preparing the information necessary to apply for a grant, OED will host two webinars during the application period. The webinars will take place:

  1. Thursday, November 12, 12-1 p.m.
  2. Wednesday, November 18, 12-1 p.m.

Interested community members can register for an SBSF information session here. In addition, OED staff are available to provide in-language assistance to small business owners. To request in-language assistance, a business owner can email oed@seattle.gov or call 206-684-8090 and leave a voice mail with the following information: 

  • Your name 
  • Phone number 
  • The language you need in English  
  • What support you need 

“COVID-19 and its economic impacts have lasted longer than many of us originally anticipated. Our small businesses have been resilient, innovative, and flexible as they have navigated the initial shut down, phased re-opening, and changing consumer habits,” said OED Director Bobby Lee. “Our small businesses have been extraordinarily courageous, but they still need support, especially our BIPOC, immigrant and refugee and micro-businesses—many of whom were already facing hardships before COVID-19. This grant can help our small businesses meet payroll, pay rent, or prepare in creative ways to stay open during the fall and winter months.”

To date, OED has provided 469 small businesses impacted by COVID-19 with $10,000 grants. For more information on the grants provided so far, visit OED’s interactive dashboard.