Apply now for the new GGHI Small Business Relief Grants for local businesses

By David Haerle

The Daily World

Greater Grays Harbor Inc. (GGHI) is accepting applications for its Small Business Relief Grant of up to $10,000 each for Grays Harbor businesses and organizations with up to 20 employees. Grant money can be used to assist with a variety of expenses related to the impact from COVID-19.

“We’re really trying to focus on small businesses,” said GGHI CEO Lynnette Buffington. “We’re really looking for some of those small businesses that might have fallen through the cracks.”

There have been numerous rounds of this type of grant funding administered through the county and city of Aberdeen in the past months. Numerous Harbor businesses took advantage of those rounds of funding and received up to $10,000 in relief funding already.

But this one is a little bit different as it also targets “historically under-served” applicants such as veteran, woman and minority-owned businesses.

Part of that pool of $151,000 is available only to other economic development-type organizations — such as chambers, business associations and tourism organizations in Grays Harbor County.

“No less than $10,000 of the $151,000 we have to disburse needed to go to that type of organization,” Buffington said of the disbursement guidelines.

But she also noted that those types of organizations must fill out a separate type of application from a normal privately owned business. Both types of applications are available on GGHI’s website.

“Non-profit people need to be cognizant that there are two different application processes,” Buffington said.

Buffington also noted that at the end of the process, applicants must be able to upload documentation illustrating need, such as receipts, and W-9 forms. If that process is confounding, she urged applicants to reach out to her office for help.

Applications will close at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23. To learn more and apply, visit https://graysharbor.org/business/covid-19-resources/

Buffington said the plan is to begin reviewing applications the following week and to disburse the funds to those who are awarded grants as soon as possible.

“We will get the funds distributed as fast as we can,” she said. “We’re supposed to have it all tidied up by mid-November.

Funding for the program is from the state’s Working Washington Small Business program and includes federal CARES Act funds to help with COVID-19 response and recovery efforts across the state.

“On any given day, regardless of circumstances, Greater Grays Harbor provides business assistance to support our local business owners and leaders. The economic impact of COVID-19 has only made that demand greater and more urgent,” said Buffington. “We are honored to once again administer relief funds to help our local businesses stay open and to support our fellow economic development partners in doing the same. We know these funds are much-needed and look forward to helping these small-business owners keep their dreams and their place in our community alive.”

The state Dept. of Commerce partnered with GGHI and the 34 other local economic development organizations statewide to make a new round of $10 million in Working Washington Small Business Emergency grants available. Applications and administration of the new funds are run by the local organizations that serve all 39 counties. The Washington State Department of Commerce is not accepting or reviewing applications, this will be done by the local economic development organizations.