Business Funding Opportunities
Access to capital is critical to any small business. The City of Vancouver recognizes that today’s business owners are busy with staffing, inventory, bookkeeping and many other entrepreneurial tasks. You don’t have time to research the internet for low-cost loans, grants, or new business opportunities. To help you stay focused on your small business, let us do that for you.
Below, you will find local, state, federal and private grant opportunities – in addition to published business proposals – for nonprofits, businesses and agencies. As you consider these options, please review the parameters and requirements needed to qualify and to apply.
Feel free to reach out to the City’s Economic Development Team with any questions that you may have:
The Latest Opportunities
Most recent opportunities listed first. Please be aware of application deadlines for each listing.
To apply for many grants, you are now required to have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number
You may apply for grants without a UEI, but you cannot receive funds until you have an UEI. Click to apply now.
WA State Microenterprise Association Offers Grant
The Washington State Microenterprise Association (WSMA) is dedicated to strengthening business technical assistance providers as they engage with economic development partners to support the smallest businesses.
Thanks to the WA State Department of Commerce, WSMA offers this statewide grant opportunity to fund non-profit organizations that provide business training, technical assistance and access to financing to the smallest businesses in Washington. Learn more at Microenterprise Grant Opportunities (wamicrobiz.org). Deadline to apply is 5pm on December 1, 2023.
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.
WA State Department of Commerce Offers $5 Million in Grant Funding
The Washington State Department of Commerce is committed to building communities by preserving affordable multifamily housing in our state. They are making $5 million in state funds available to projects at risk of losing affordability due to expiring use restrictions. These projects provide critical housing to some of Washington’s most vulnerable populations. Applications for funding are due by noon on Jan. 3, 2024. Learn 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 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:
- Charge Where You Are – Grant applications open until 11/16/2023.
- EV Charging – Grant applications open until 12/1/2023.
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: WeBackBlackBusinesses.com.
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.
60 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.
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:
- Hire and train additional employees
- Market your business in new and exciting ways
- Invest in new equipment or software
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:
- Vehicle Maintenance and Repair
- IT Professional Services (ITPS)
- Paint Service
- Portable Sanitation Services
- Process Server
- Spoken Language Interpreter Services – Court Certified
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.
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.
- Create an account at: https://pr-webs-customer.des.wa.gov
- Search current “Open Bid” opportunities at WEBS (wa.gov). Select dropdown menu to filter through Government Organizations seeking hired services.
- See other local businesses that have registered to be a “vendor” at https://pr-webs-customer.des.wa.gov.
- 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.
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 Grants. New 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.