It is heavily to restaurants and fitness centers
OLYMPIA — The state Department of Commerce announced on Dec. 31 that over 7,800 small businesses will receive a Working Washington grant. Gov. Jay Inslee announced the new round of business assistance in November and approved $100 million for the grants.
Public health measures have disproportionately impacted certain industries such as full-service restaurants, fitness centers and indoor entertainment venues like bowling alleys. This recent round of grant funding prioritized small businesses in those sectors and that have less than $5 million in annual revenue.
Commerce awarded approximately 7,200 businesses a $12,500 grant. In addition, it awarded $4,500 to approximately 630 businesses that received a recent $8,000 business resiliency grant and happened to also meet the priority criteria for the Working Washington grant. This ensured resiliency grant recipients received the same funding amount they would have received had they applied for a Working Washington grant, according to the Commerce press release.
A chart by industry group shows that for October 2020 the Leisure and Hospitality sector had been hardest hit (change in business income compared to same period a year earlier), off 32%, with Manufacturing next at 22% and Educational Services third at 16% and Transportation and Warehousing at 11%.
Sectors whose income had increased year to year were: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, up 18%; Finance, Insurance and Real Estate, up 17%: Retail Trade, up 10%. (Note: Most agricultural producers are exempt from Business and Occupation Tax, the metric used to derive “taxable business income.” Data only includes those producers who manufacture or sell manufactured product.)
Commerce launched the Working Washington Round 3 application portal on Dec. 2 and received more than 28,000 applications by Dec. 16. The agency was able to fund all eligible businesses within the priority sectors. The largest share of grants — more than half — went to full-service restaurants. Fitness centers followed as the next largest category. Grants will go to businesses from every county in the state. Commerce is preparing a more detailed overview of the grant distribution to be posted online in January.
“The economic impacts of the pandemic are felt far and wide, there’s no doubt. And while some industries have been able to pivot their operations and continue to bring in enough revenue to stay afloat, those options aren’t available for many others,” said Lisa Brown, Commerce director. “Small businesses are the heartbeat of our local communities and our state economy. Throughout the country and in every part of our state, small businesses are struggling. We appreciate the governor providing this unprecedented level of grant funding, and hope the state Legislature and Congress continue to make business support a priority in the coming weeks.”
Small businesses that applied should check their email for notification.
Commerce is working to distribute funds to businesses as soon as possible and can process payments within a few days of receiving final documentation from business owners.
The two earlier Working Washington grant rounds were for $10 million each, making this third $100 million grant round the largest to date. Approximately 1,400 businesses received Round 1 awards and 1,570 businesses received Round 2 awards.