As the economic impacts of the pandemic continue, the Oregon legislature and Gov. Kate Brown have allocated millions more in grant funding for Business Oregon to deliver into the hands of small businesses across Oregon. On Monday, Nov. 9, the Emergency Board of the Oregon Legislature approved $20 million more to Business Oregon’s Emergency Business Assistance Grant Fund. This funding and program are separate from the $55 million in funds the governor also announced this week.
This grant fund has already put approximately $25 million out into the community through four rounds of funding. The first four rounds were allocated from Business Oregon to intermediary lenders such as cities, counties, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and Economic Development Districts (EDDs), who in turn granted the money to individual businesses. With this new round, Business Oregon is able to fund businesses directly. The grants are available to small businesses that have seen lost revenue due to the pandemic, and that meet a minimal set of requirements.
“This funding is timely as we face the sharp increase in COVID-19 under this new wave of the pandemic,” said Business Oregon Director Chris Cummings. “These grants can help our small business owners today, but to get back to business in the long haul, we’ve got to do what it takes now to stop the spread of this virus.”
This round makes some changes to previous rounds of grant funding under the program, so that more businesses can access the funds. Businesses with up to 100 employees can apply, whereas previous funding was limited to those with up to 25 employees, to ensure smaller businesses could access the funds first.
Most previous rounds also targeted businesses that did not already receive assistance through the CARES Act (such as PPP, EIDL, City of Portland Small Relief Program, the Oregon Cares Fund for Black Relief + Resiliency and other programs funded with CARES Act funds). This round will now consider applications from businesses with 1-25 employees that have already received anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million in funding from these federal resources. Businesses with 26 to 100 employees are eligible regardless of the amount of federal resources they received (up to $1,000,000), if they meet other program requirements.
Businesses are eligible to receive up to $200,000 in grant funding as detailed in the grant application. To be eligible, a business must show it was prohibited from operations by the Governor’s Executive Order 20-12, or demonstrate a 25 percent reduction in sales over a 30-day period in 2020 compared to a comparable period in 2019.
Starting Thursday, Nov. 19, the application form and additional details will be found on Business Oregon’s website. If the application is not yet posted in the morning, a time estimate will be provided on the webpage. Grants will be reviewed on a first-come first-served basis, and will be allocated so that there is an equitable geographic distribution of funds as dictated by the Oregon Legislature.
The application portal will close once applications totaling $25 million in requested grants are received. Business Oregon will reopen the portal if any funds remain after reviewing those initial applications for eligibility.