State of Oregon COVID-19 Emergency Business Assistance Matching Fund Request for Proposals



State of Oregon COVID-19 Emergency Business Assistance Matching Fund Request for Proposals

Today Business Oregon released the latest of the state's recovery efforts for Oregon small businesses suffering in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a round of funding to stand up local small business grant programs across the state. The Oregon Legislature, in partnership with Governor Kate Brown, allocated $5 million from the state’s General Fund, which will be combined with another $5 million redirected from existing programs at Business Oregon.

For the first round of funding, Business Oregon is issuing a request for proposals from cities, counties, and Economic Development Districts that have existing small business COVID-relief programs or will stand up new programs to issue grants to local small businesses with fewer than 25 employees, with an emphasis on sole proprietors and historically disadvantaged businesses. Many communities throughout Oregon are already providing local assistance to small businesses, and this new state funding will bolster this community-level assistance.

"The funding from Governor Brown and the state legislature lets us implement a community-driven approach to help small businesses that haven't been able to access the federal programs," said Business Oregon Interim Director Chris Cummings. "These funds are also intended to be equally accessible to all Oregonians, so we are requiring communities to target marketing of the funds to historically disadvantaged populations, provide materials in multiple languages, and prioritize underrepresented groups as grant programs are rolled out. Many Oregonians have faced systemic barriers to prosperity because of race and ethnicity, and this pandemic has magnified that inequity."

To fill gaps not reached by other programs, these state funds are directed to adversely affected businesses that have been unable to receive federal CARES Act funding, including the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance program, or other federal programs for emergency pandemic funding. Businesses may use the proceeds for any business-related operating expenses, including helping businesses work to reopen in line with the Phase 1 reopening guidance announced by Governor Brown this week.

This announcement is for the first round of funding totaling $2.5 million, with a second round of $2.5 million coming immediately after, then a final round for the remaining $5 million will be announced at a later date. Awards for this round of funds will be based on a community program's ability to achieve the parameters, values, and goals of the program. This round is designed for communities that can get the money out quickly, requiring all funds to be expended to small businesses by June 30th, 2020.

A full description of the program details and application requirements is available here.

Proposals for this round of funding are due due Monday, May 18, 2020 by 5:00 PM.