Resources for businesses in response to COVID-19

Updated Monday, April 18, 2022

Important update about past due balances and service disconnections

The City of Tacoma’s utility service disconnection moratorium for nonpayment expired on March 31, 2022, and at that time, Tacoma Public Utilities started the process of collecting on past due balances. We know this has been a tough time on our small business community and our team is here to help. Our goal is to help all customers keep their services.

Installment plans

  • Small business accounts (B rate) will be placed on automatic, interest-free installment plans for 24 months.
  • Businesses who prefer an installment plan of shorter duration can work with our Business Solutions office to set up an installment plan that works for them.
  • Commercial accounts (G rate) will not automatically be placed on installment plans, but can contact TPU’s Business Solutions office if they would like to be.
  • You must stay current on your installment payments and all new bills to remain on this plan and prevent service interruption.

Business Solutions Advocates at Tacoma Public Utilities are available 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to support business customers with billing inquiries and to set up payment plans on utility accounts. Call us at 253-502-8606 or email BusinessSolutions@cityoftacoma.org.

Water System Restoration: Flushing your water system now is important for businesses that have been closed or significantly reduced their water use under Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. Click here to read our steps to take to prepare your business water pipes after periods of low flow or no-flow conditions.

HVAC system operations during the COVID-19 pandemic

For up to date guidance on managing the spread of COVID-19 with respect to HVAC systems, including building readiness, guides, and resources, visit ASHRAE.org.

Here are more resources available to help

*New* State Farm Celebrating Its 100th Anniversary with 100 $25,000 Grants through its Neighborhood Assistance Program.

Non-profit organizations may obtain $25,000 to help fund neighborhood improvement projects.  Tell State Farm about your cause and the positive impact it could make in our community for a chance to win.  They will accept the first 4,000 submissions and narrow it down to 200 finalists.  Then a public vote will decide which 100 causes win $25,000 grants.

Apply as soon as the program launches, which is on February 16, 2022 at 10 a.m. PST.

Access State Farms’ Submission Guide and apply online.

Heritage Bank Community Development Loan Fund

The Heritage Bank Community Development Entity finances businesses in economically stressed areas, breathing new life into neglected and underserved low-income communities.

Loans are between $500,000 and $9 million for real estate transactions.

Loans are:

  • Below-market interest rate for commercial real estate loans
  • Lower origination fees
  • Longer maturity of up to 12 years
  • Loan payment amount much lower than a conventional loan

Click here for additional details and eligibility requirements. Or contact your nearest Heritage Bank relationship manager.

Pierce County Business Accelerator

The Pierce County Business Accelerator will provide direct access to business resources such as relevant training, coaching, technical assistance, and networking support to launch and grow micro businesses in Pierce County. Upon completion, participants will receive access to potential funding options, matching grant resources up to $10,000, a commercial rent stipend for one year up to $500/mo., and coaching/mentorship for one year.

Application Criteria:

  • Business must be physically located in Pierce County
  • Start-up or micro-stage business with 2019 annual revenue under $325k (pre-revenue businesses are eligible to apply).

If you need assistance completing the application please call 253-798-6150 or email PCBizAccelerator@piercecountywa.gov. Spanish language assistance is available. Click here for more information.

*Updated*  Comcast RISE Announce Major Expansion to All Women-Owned Small Businesses Nationwide Starting January 16, 2022.

During its first year, Comcast RISE has provided over $60 million in grants, marketing and technology services to support more than 6,700 small businesses owned by people of color.  The program will be expanded to all women-owned small businesses in 2022, which will enable it to support 13,000 firms by the end of 2022.

Click here for more information about the program and applications.

*New*  National Business League, Inc. Partners with Amex Accion Opportunity Fund on Small Business Progress Loans for Black Businesses.

Eligible businesses include those with at least 20 percent Black ownership, have been in business for at least 12 months and that have annual revenue of at least $50,000.

Loans range from $5,000 to $100,000 with interest rates as low as 5.99% with no prepayment penalties. The rate and amount to be approved are dependent on the applicant’s credit and financial standing.

Click here for more information and application form.

The Small Business Administration

Learn more about PPP Loan Forgiveness online here.

Learn more about Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) here.

Learn more about SBA’s Disaster Assistance programs here.

State of Washington

The State has up-to-date information and helpful notices regarding the Coronavirus response at coronavirus.wa.gov.

View lists of services and programs for businesses online here and here.

Click here for the Governer’s reopening guidance for businesses and workers.

Small Business Flex Fund

Small business owners and nonprofits across Washington can start applying today for low interest loans of up to $150,000 through the newly-launched Small Business Flex Fund.

Low interest rates

  • Borrow up to $150,000
  • 3% – 4.5% interest rates
  • No fees & interest-only payments for the first year
  • 60-month & 72-month loan terms
  • 72-month loan term only available until 12/31/21

Applying is simple

  • Fewer than 50 employees
  • Annual revenues of less than $3 million
  • Experienced direct economic hardship due to COVID-19
  • Have been in business for one year/prior to June 30th, 2020

Loan use is flexible

  • Payroll
  • Utilities & rent
  • Marketing & advertising
  • Building improvements or repairs
  • Other business expenses

Click here for more information

Washington State Microenterprise Association Resources. 

Access resources to help your small business succeed online here. Services include training, technical assistance, microloans and advocacy.

Free Business Training – ScaleUp: The Rebuild Edition

ScaleUp business training is focused on teaching proven strategies to small businesses that will increase resiliency and spur growth in the wake of a global pandemic.

The three-hour online courses are held weekly, allowing up to 100 businesses around the state to restart and rebuild, improving their strategic thinking and decision-making, creating operational efficiencies and strengthening the bottom line as we engage in economic recovery.

This eight-week program provides tangible tools to examine strategic alignment, optimize market strategy, and master finances.

The ideal candidate for ScaleUp is the president/owner of a Washington State business that has been in operation for two years and has annual pre-COVID revenues in excess of $100,000.

Course topics include:

  • Organizing and creating business systems to get more done in less time.
  • Strategies for increasing revenue.
  • Strengthening your product and/or service.
  • Creating your own competitive advantage in the marketplace.
  • Designing a marketing strategy that increases sales leads.
  • Understanding financial statements and key business drivers and metrics.

ScaleUp is a partnership between the Washington State Department of Commerce, U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Thurston EDC Center for Business Innovation.

For more information, click here.

Impact Washington – Manufacturer Recovery Assistance

Washington based small and medium-sized manufacturers can apply for CARES Act Recovery Assistance funds. These funds provide services that directly support a manufacturer’s ability to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more or contact Joseph Gosar at jgosar@impactwashington.org (253-604-8406).

City of Tacoma

Minority Business Development Agency 

Apply for technical assistance for your minority small business and partner with the Tacoma-MBDA Tacoma Business Center.

Contact:
Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) – Washington Business Center
mbda@cityoftacoma.org
253-591-5239
www.MBDA-Washington.com

Additional Resources

Click here for an overview on the different programs in the CARES Act from the US Chamber of Commerce.

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