Business and Worker Assistance

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The City of Vancouver supports businesses and employees during this difficult period. We are working with our economic development partners in Clark County, the Greater Portland region, Washington state, and at the federal level to provide important information to assist businesses and workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please feel free to reach out to the City’s Economic Development Team with any questions that you may have:

The Latest News

Most recent opportunities listed first. Please be aware of application deadlines for each listing.

Mercy Corps NW:  Free Classes and One-on-One Business Consulting

Free one-on-one small business consulting sessions, until 12/31/23 (in English and Spanish).

MESO offering Financial Assistance to Clark County Small Businesses

MESO is a non-profit CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) who works with government agencies to offer business financing to small business owners. They offer business term loans up to $250,000 at a competitive interest rate. Learn more information here.

MESO providing Free/Low-Cost Business Education

MESO provides virtual business classes and workshops in English and in Spanish that focus on the foundational elements of running a small business. Learn more about their Autumn offerings and how to sign up.

Main Street America Partners with Grow with Google to Offer Free Workshops

Main Street America and Grow with Google have teamed up to help business owners gain new skills through local Digital Coaches. Through the Grow with Google Digital Coaches program, 10 coaches in small towns across America are offering free live trainings and hands-on coaching. No matter where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, your local Digital Coach can help you build skills to take the next step for your business.

Free sessions:

Small Business Requirements & Resources (SBRR): Free Webinar – Start Business in WA

The Small Business Liaison Team (SBLT) is a partnership between 29 state agencies working together with local economic development partners to support and connect with business owners in offering free business education.  These events are sponsored by the Small Business Liaison Team and hosted by various partners. 

Sign up for the 60 minute Start a Business in Washington webinar on Wednesday, October 11th, 2023, from 9am to 10am. 

America Walks: Community Change Grants

America Walks has partnered with Active People, Healthy Nation to offer another round of their popular Community Change Grants.  This grant program will award 15 grantees $1,500 for projects related to creating healthy, active, and engaged places to live, work and play.  This grant program provides support to the growing network of advocates, organizations, and agencies that are using innovative, engaging, and inclusive programs and projects to create change at the community level. 

Grant applications open until 10/9/2023. Learn more about the Community Change Grants and how to apply.

Workforce SW WA Seeks HR and DEI Experts to Provide Consulting Services

Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) is seeking qualified contractors to provide consulting services to local businesses.  If you’re an expert in these areas, you may be qualified:  human resources, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.  If accepted, you would be working with local business that are working to strengthen and improve job quality for their employees. WSW will select contractors for future projects from qualified respondents to their RQF.

Learn more about WSW here. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed monthly until June 2025.

WA Trust for Historic Preservation Offering Multiple Grants

Historic theaters, cemeteries, and barns are found throughout Washington. The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation is offering grants to help preserve these important places and spaces. Learn more about these grants and how to apply. Applications open until 10/31/2023.

The Washington Trust is also offering Valerie Sivinski Fund grants, which are designed to support grassroots preservation projects around the state. Up to $3,000 in grant funding is available per application. Find out more information and how to apply. Applications are open until 10/9/2023.

Oregon MBDA offers Free/Low-cost Business Education

The Oregon Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), managed and operated by Business Impact NW, is dedicated to serving underbanked entrepreneurs.  Their goal is to assist minority businesses who are seeking growth opportunities with consulting, business training, contracting and business development. Learn more about their virtual Autumn offerings and how to sign up.

ArtsWA is Offering COVID Impacts Recovery Grants

ArtsWA is excited to announce this new funding opportunity that provides one-time grants up to $5,000 to eligible Washington businesses and non-profits in the arts, heritage, and science sectors. These grants provide funding to help with recovery from pandemic economic impacts and are provided by Washington State Legislature and U.S. Department of the Treasury through the Washington Department of Commerce.

Special consideration will be given to Washington’s most vulnerable businesses, including those who have not received funding form certain Commerce and ArtsWA programs, those owned by members of historically disadvantaged or underserved populations, those with gross annual revenues of $50,000 or less in the 2022 calendar year, or those businesses that are located in any of these 15 counties identified as a distressed area. Find out more about the COVID Impacts Recovery grants or apply now. Applications open until 5pm on 11/1/2023.


WA Department of Ecology: New Grants for Oil Spill Equipment

The WA State Department of Ecology is offering oil spill equipment grants to Washington counties, cities and municipalities, ports, public utility districts, special purpose districts like clean air agencies and fire protection groups, to federally recognized Tribal governments, and to Washington state agencies.

Grants can be used for everything from air monitoring equipment to response boats, equipment trailers, communications devices, and drones, and may also be used as training funds for first responders, and for single-use items like hazmat suits, absorbent pads, and firefighting foam.  Applications open until 5 p.m. Tuesday, November 14. Learn how to apply.

WA Department of Ecology: New Grants for Electric Vehicle Charging

The Washington Electric Vehicle Charging Program helps fund infrastructure that supports clean transportation in Washington, with a goal to reduce transportation emissions, improve air quality, and ensure EV charging access for all.  To support the transition of electric vehicles, here are two new grants to equitably expand charging infrastructure in WA State:

Find out more information about these programs.

Coalition to Back Black Businesses Will Award $1.3 Million in Grants

The Coalition to Back Black Businesses (CBBB) is now accepting applications for its grant program to provide $5,000 grants to 272 Black-owned small businesses to help them meet critical needs and invest in long-term growth. From 2020 through 2024, the CBBB will distribute $5,000 grants to selected applicants each fall, followed by mentorship and training, and a select few will receive $25,000 enhancement grants the following summer.

To meet the criteria, one must employ 3-20 people (including owner and all employees, or individuals working under a 1099 or similar contractual agreement), be located in an economically vulnerable community according to the Distressed Communities Index and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To learn more and to see if your zip code qualifies, visit:

SBA offers free webinars to start, grow, or expand your Small Business

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is celebrating 70 years of service. To honor this occasion, the SBA Portland District Office invites business owners and aspiring owners to join them for webinars focused on starting, growing, or expanding your small business. Whether you’re starting a business, growing a business, or in recovery mode, the SBA can offer guidance with their free education, Resource Partner Network, loan programs, government contracting, certifications, and more.

Learn more about their free/low-cost virtual and in-person educational events.

DES Accepting Bids for Communications and Marketing Services Contract

Department of Enterprise Services (DES) will grant 28 Awards to small, OMWBE/VA Certified BusinessesThis is the first statewide contract of its kind and is a great opportunity for small, diverse, and veteran-owned businesses. 

This solicitation includes detailed evaluation criteria, so businesses should carefully review the requirements before submitting a bid. To view this bid solicitation, visit WEBS and search contract 20422.

Vendors can submit bids for Communications and Marketing Services in WEBS until 11/1/2023.

Business vendors may be awarded in multiple categories; the contract has six categories

Not yet registered in WEBS? It’s simple and only takes 10 minutes. All you need is your business name, contact information, and Tax ID number.  Register in WEBS.

Grants for arts, culture, and design to strengthen Communities

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is proud to support the nation’s arts sector with grant opportunities that help everyone live more artful lives. The program requires applicants to demonstrate committed leadership from the local level and evidence of a diverse group of local stakeholders engaged in the proposed project. Applicants must demonstrate a required partnership in order to be eligible to apply for funding. Grants range from $25,000 to $150,000, with a minimum nonfederal match that is equal to the grant amount.

Learn more at OUR TOWN: Program Description | National Endowment for the Arts.

54 Grants, Loans and Programs to Benefit Your Small Business

CO & the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are committed to helping entrepreneurs start, run and grow their small business. They’ve created this list of small business loans and grants – each with its own link for more information.  

Keep in mind that not all assistance flows directly from the federal government to small business. Some funds are distributed to state and local governments and agencies, nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher learning. Then, these entities may distribute the funds, or use them to provide technical or educational assistance on a local level. 

When searching through grant and contracting options, note that you may qualify for more than one program. The assistance available to you from the government will vary, depending on your specific situation. 

Learn more at Free Grants and Programs for Small Business.

To apply for many grants, you are now required to have a UEI.

You may apply for grants without a UEI, but you cannot receive funds until you have an UEI. Click to apply now.

NASE Growth Grants for Those Who Need Capital For Their Business

Grants can be used for marketing, advertising, hiring employees, expanding facilities and other specific business needs. Four winners are chosen each quarter to be awarded up to a $4,000 grant to support the growth of their business.

Since 2006, NASE has awarded nearly $1,000,000 through the Growth Grants® program by providing small business grants.

Below are just a few examples of what grant funds may be used for:

Apply for the NASE Business Grant.

IFundWomen: Offers a Universal Grant Application Process for Multiple Grants

IFundWomen is a grant marketplace that specializes in funding and coaching for women-owned businesses. You can submit one application, and when IFundWomen adds a grant from an enterprise partner, it will match the partner’s grant criteria to your application within their database.

If your business is a match, you’ll receive a notification and an invitation to apply. Previous grant partners have included companies like Visa, Neutrogena and American Express.

Learn more about their ongoing grant options.

Export Voucher Program: Small Business Help if You Export, or Want to Export

Export Vouchers, funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), reimburses eligible export expenses up to $10,000. If your business qualifies, you may receive up to the maximum allowed for that activity. Awards are granted based on a committee review of your export voucher application.

More than 900 WA State companies have used export vouchers to offset their exporting expenses – from mobile app developers and wakeboard manufacturers to remanufactured engine specialists and turnkey metalworkers. Learn more about the Export Voucher Program and how to apply.

A New Tax Credit for Washington Workers: workers can get money back in 2023

The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) will provide refunds up to $1,200 to individuals and families who meet certain eligibility requirements. The credit amount varies depending on the number of qualifying children and income level. Learn who is eligible for a tax credit.

The purpose of the program is to stimulate the local economy, promote racial equity and support the well-being of Washingtonians. Individuals and families are eligible for the Working Families Tax Credit if they meet all of these requirements.

Learn more at Frequently asked questions | Washington State Working Families Tax Credit or contact DOR at 360-763-7300 or complete a contact request form.

The Department of Revenue (DOR) will begin accepting applications for the 2022 tax year on 2/1/2023 and will accept applications through 12/1/2023.

Are you a small, diverse, or veteran-owned business? The Department of Enterprise Services (DES) is here to help.

The purpose of DES is to help small, diverse, and veteran-owned businesses understand and participate in the bidding process so they can contract to do business with WA State. The first step to doing business with WA State is registering in Washington Electronic Business Solution (WEBS).

Upcoming goods and services contract opportunities:

If you have any questions about planned procurements or the bidding process, contact: or 360-902-7400.

Agencies that Provide Small Business Assistance, Free Resources, Awards, Grants, etc.

There are free resources and services available to WA State small businesses. Each organization listed here has specific requirements to qualify, and many of these opportunities are offered to specific types of businesses or to specific industries.

Some organizations that assist small businesses have annual awards or contests. Prizes may include money, recognition, or other useful resources. These organizations host awards and contests specifically for small minority or women-owned businesses. Learn more from WA State Office of Minority & Women’s Business Enterprises.

SBA Learning Center: Free Online Business Courses

SBA’s online learning programs are designed to empower and educate small business owners every step of the way. Whether you’re looking to start a small business or expand your current one, SBA’s digital learning platform has everything you need to educate yourself on entrepreneurial best practices and available financing options.

Ever think about doing business with the government? Win government bids and connect directly to local or state government agencies looking for businesses like yours.

Some examples of government agencies looking for “vendors” like you: Department of Agriculture seeks social media company to promote the health benefits of cherries, Department of Natural Resources seeks janitorial services in a single county, a bus company seeks a qualified firm to re-brand their company, or the Department of Wildlife seeking pamphlet productions for hunting and fishing pamphlets.

These are just a few examples of the depth and breadth of opportunities that are available to small business owners.

  1. Create an account at:
  2. Search current “Open Bid” opportunities at WEBS ( Select dropdown menu to filter through Government Organizations seeking hired services.
  3. See other local businesses that have registered to be a “vendor” at
  4. Select “Search for Vendors,” then choose your City and State in top Vendor Name section, and narrow search by scrolling down and selecting your County in the Counties section. Since these businesses have created an account, they may be notified of government jobs as they become open and may apply to win bids.

Agencies that Provide Small Business Assistance, Free Resources, Awards, Grants, etc.

There are free resources and services available to WA State small businesses. Each organization listed here has specific requirements to qualify, and many of these opportunities are offered to specific types of businesses or to specific industries.

Some organizations that assist small businesses have annual awards or contests. Prizes may include money, recognition, or other useful resources. These organizations host awards and contests specifically for small minority or women-owned businesses. Learn more from WA State Office of Minority & Women’s Business Enterprises.

The Amber Foundation: Monthly and annual grants to Women-Owned Businesses.

Founded in 1998, the Amber Grant was one of the first online organizations to provide women-owned businesses with grants. The Amber Grant offers a monthly $10,000 Amber Grant to a woman entrepreneur. Plus, they’ll grant an additional annual $25,000 Amber Grant to one of the preceding 12 monthly Amber Grant winners.

In addition to the above, they also offer a separate $10,000 grant every month to a “Business Category” entrepreneur. These grant categories can include anything from fashion designers, restaurant owners, health/wellness practitioners, to hair product business owners.

Learn more about Amber GrantsNew grants are accepted each month.

Federal PPP Loan Forgiveness

Borrowers that received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans can find information about whether they are eligible for forgiveness on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s online portal.

Vancouver SCORE Offers Training Opportunities: Learn from the experts with Vancouver SCORE’s small business training workshops.

Instructor-led training is offered in a SCORE office or online, along with interactive courses to help you learn new business strategies.

Learn more about these training opportunities and register for online webinars and workshops.

Business Assistance Resources

View a list of resources in each category below.