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'This is free money': Applications reopen for Spokane small business grant program

If you own a small business in Spokane County, you may be eligible for up to $10,000 in COVID-19 relief money.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — Spokane County businesses are being affected by the coronavirus in ways no one could have predicted. 

"When all this hit, I was like, okay, I think we're all going to be without jobs," said El Charrito Manager Diana Perez.

El Charrito is a family-run Mexican restaurant on the South Hill. The only reason her business survived was because customers didn't need to come inside, said Perez.

"People who pass through the drive-thru or come in and pick up the orders and stuff so we didn't have to shut down." she said. "I'm thankful because, you know, bills keep coming."

"We know businesses are hurting and suffering." said Cindy Wendle with Greater Spokane Incorporated. "This isn't something that's going away anytime soon."

She leads the business recovery efforts in the county and helped start the OPENTogether Small Business and Non-profit Grant program. It's through that program that businesses can qualify for up to $10,000 for COVID-19 relief.

"This is free money for the businesses to use for work-related expenses," she added. "Anything your business did because of COVID that you wouldn't have had to spend otherwise it's considered a COVID-related expense."

Applications for the grant program initially closed on Monday, Aug. 10, but they have been reopened through Friday, Aug. 14 at 5 p.m. Those received in the original funding period will be given priority, while additional applications will be considered if grant money is still available. 

Small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees and non-profits with any number of employees are eligible to apply. can apply through Friday, August 14, 2020 at 5 p.m. for a grant of up to $10,000. These funds are also meant to assist small businesses and nonprofits with costs related to business interruption caused by related closures and compliance with COVID-19 mandates. 

Sole proprietors and contractors whose income is primarily through their business may apply for up to $2,500 in funding. 

COVID related expenses could be:

  • Payroll
  • Rent/Mortgage payments
  • Utilities
  • Vendor payments
  • Debt services
  • Expenses related to shifts in operations to retain existing business or comply with safety requirements
  • Expenses for acquiring or distributing medical and protective supplies, including sanitizing products and personal protective equipment
  • Expenses for cleaning and disinfection of workplace or facilities
  • Expenses for telework-related equipment or technology
  • Capital improvement projects incurred specifically to mitigate spread of the virus during this public health emergency (i.e. workplace re-configuration)

"You know the rent up here is super high, so that would help you know, extra expenses if that's needed and help with the keeping the place open as well, you know"

To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Have an active business license with the Washington Secretary of State
  • Have been established on or before March 1, 2019 
  • Have the primary physical location of your business in Spokane County
  • Have 49 full time employees or less as of March 1, 2020
  • Have experienced a financial loss due to the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Have annual gross revenues under $10 million in 2019
  • Have gross revenues greater than $10,000 in 2020
  • Have good standing with Washington Department of Labor and Industries
  • Not be a licensed marijuana operation in the state of Washington
  • Not be currently in bankruptcy
  • Not be a K-12 school (including charter, public, private); college or university; library, government entity/agency

If you have any questions, email Greater Spokane Inc. at grantinfo@greaterspokane.org or call 509-624-1393.

If English is not your primary language, you can get assistance with this application.

Please contact Maria, with ASAP Translations at 509-747-5121 Maria@asap-translations.com