Your small business likely suffered significant revenue losses in 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families, businesses, and communities can benefit from various grant programs. Small businesses in Oregon can use these resources and business financing options to grow, expand, remain competitive, and gain access to capital.
Approximately $8.71 billion of Oregon’s government grants come from federal resources, and $6.81 billion comes from the state. The types of businesses that can receive funding in Oregon are not restricted. A total of 88,753 businesses and 39,000 farms are located in Oregon.
Companies that qualify for grants can launch marketing campaigns, hire more staff, and bridge cash flow gaps. Oregon has $53.7 billion in payroll and salary budgets each year. The number of bankruptcy petitions filed in Oregon each year reaches 20,094. Grants are not available to businesses that are starting up or expanding. Private grant awarding bodies can award grants to start-ups and expanding businesses instead of government agencies.
What Is A Grant?
Authorities or agencies often award funds to businesses or organizations to expand, develop, or implement their ideas. There is no repayment requirement with grants, unlike loans secured or backed by the government and subject to repayment. As an alternative to loans, grants provide businesses with interest-free financing instead of loans that require repayment. Grant programs are so popular among business owners primarily because they offer many benefits to them in this way.
Despite being low-cost options, grants can be difficult to apply for and administer, even though they are low-cost options. You will only be able to obtain funding if you can demonstrate that your small business has the potential to be successful. In terms of grant funding, various options are available, such as those provided by local governments, charities, and foundations.
Oregon Small Grants
There are many grants available to Oregon residents. In 2023, Oregon business owners will have the opportunity to apply for grants.
Small Business Export Assistance
Being on your own is never a pleasant experience. The Small Business Export Assistance is a small business development organization that works primarily with small and mid-sized businesses in Oregon to develop export market strategies. These businesses can accomplish many interesting projects if they are given matching export grants to attend virtual trade missions or in-person international events and update their websites to direct traffic to foreign distributors or business partners in the appropriate country or region. These grants can also help keep up with the cybersecurity and privacy regulations in the U.S. and other countries that can bring more sales revenue to their company. During certain specialized events targeting certain industries, the Oregon Global Trade Team assists in promoting Oregon and Oregon goods internationally.
Export Promotion Program
A company can expand its visibility in existing markets or enter new international markets by participating in trade shows and missions, which is considered one of the most effective ways to expand its reach in the international market.
In addition to providing the prospect of meeting potential customers, trade shows present the chance to test the market’s interest and evaluate the competition. There are many ways in which a trade mission can save you money, including meeting potential distributors and buyers, securing licensing agreements, and exploring joint venture opportunities. The Oregon Export Promotion Program offers a variety of trade development activities to help Oregon companies reach out to foreign markets and increase the number of exports they make to existing markets.
As part of Oregon’s Trade Promotion Grant program, small businesses that meet the US Small Business Administration’s definition can apply for the grant and self-certify their eligibility. There are generally two types of small businesses: those with less than 500 employees and those with more than 500. To demonstrate their eligibility, candidates must complete two required SBA forms: Self-Certify as a Small Business and Debarment Certification, which must be submitted by the candidate.
Additional Qualifying Criteria
- It is required that at least 75 percent of the total number of employees within the business be Oregon-based;
- For the applicant to qualify for an export grant, they must promote their export-ready product or service that is manufactured, processed or added value in Oregon;
- During the period of the Export Promotion Grant-funded activity, the business must commit at least one full-time employee who is located in the United States; and
- An applicant must actively participate in a trade show (e.g., rent a booth space and attend the show), pay the trade show organizer directly for the exhibit space, and provide receipts for any allowable expense submitted for reimbursement.
Using funds from a grant awarded by the US Small Business Administration (SBA), the Oregon Small Business Development Center offers assistance to small businesses looking to start or grow international sales with support from a grant. A grant awarded by the US SBA has enabled the Oregon Small Business Development Center (OSBDC) to assist small businesses that want to begin or expand international sales by using funds from a grant awarded by the US Small Business Administration (SBA). The funding term runs from October 1st to September 30th, and eligible applicants can apply for up to three grants for low-income small and emerging businesses.
Steps Of The Application Process
To ensure that all funds are expended on a timely basis, applications are processed, and awards are given on a rolling basis. Applicants should complete and submit their applications at least two months before their intended activities begin.
The relevant forms may be downloaded, printed, and signed, along with the Self-Representation as an Eligible Small Business Concern, Self-Certify as a Small Business, and Debarment Certification forms, and must be completed together with the Oregon Small Business Survey. As part of the Step 2 application process, you must complete these forms and submit them with your online application.
Global Trade Promotion Program Application
Create an account on Business Oregon’s Export Application Portal to complete the Global Trade Promotion Program Application.
Your application will be reviewed by Business Oregon’s Global Trade Team once submitted. Please submit your application as early as possible so we can review it promptly. The review process may take two to three weeks.
If your application is approved, your STEP Grant Document Packet and the next steps for completing the grant reimbursement process are sent in a confirmation email. STEP Grant Document Packets include four pages detailing the grant’s requirements. Business Oregon’s STEP Program Manager must receive a signed copy of this form from the participant company’s management team. This document must be signed and submitted no later than two weeks before the tradeshow/event’s start date.
Rural Opportunity Initiative (ROI)
Business Oregon’s Rural Opportunity Initiative (ROI) aims to support small business growth and entrepreneurs in rural communities. With a focus on low-income and diverse populations, ROI strengthens and consolidates Oregon’s entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Rural Opportunity Initiative (ROI) is Business Oregon’s strategy for supporting entrepreneurship and small business growth in rural communities. ROI strengthens and consolidates entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout Oregon’s rural communities, focusing on diversity and low-income communities by providing financial support, innovative partnerships, network expansion, and business development resources.
ROI’s fundamental aim is to create a fair and equitable economy for all Oregonians. The inclusive and community-driven initiative empowers local leaders to articulate and implement collaborative strategies that enhance entrepreneurship’s role in rural economic development and buoy local economies. An ROI approach reflects community priorities rather than a ‘one size fits all approach with specific goals each community must accomplish. ROI acknowledges that its residents are the best people to determine a community’s best approach.
The legislature made a $2 million investment in ROI and place-based rural entrepreneurship in 2021. On top of the additional funds, Business Oregon and its multi-member evaluation committee selected 20 projects throughout the state for ROI funds, including food and farm entrepreneurship initiatives, innovation pipelines, and central hubs and coworking spaces.
Oregon Business Development Fund (ODF)
With the Oregon Business Development Fund, small businesses can obtain fixed-rate term gaps in financing for land, buildings, equipment, machinery, and permanent working capital through a revolving loan fund. Traditional lenders will provide gap financing through the fund to bridge the gap between two loans.
It is typically a “traded sector business,” defined in ORS 284.550, which creates or retains jobs and is typically a manufacturer, processor, distributor, or another type of business. The funding program prefers projects in rural and distressed areas and small businesses with fewer than 100 employees.
These loans have the following details:
- The maximum amount is $1,000,000;
- Term and amortization maximum of 20 years or the useful life of the collateral or project;
- Interest is calculated at a fixed rate plus 1% (a minimum of 4%);
- An application fee of $200 and a loan origination fee of 1.5%.
Businesses must demonstrate the following:
- Jobs will likely be created or retained as a result of the loan;
- Manufacturers, producers, processors, or distributors of products in trade;
- A private financial partner or an economic development organization has committed to lending;
- It is important to provide sufficient collateral for the loan;
- A reasonable repayment schedule is in place; and
- The person meets the other criteria outlined in the Oregon Administrative Rule and the OBDF application.
- Applicants should contact a Business Finance Officer for information about application materials and submission procedures.
Amber Grants For Women
You can find grants for female entrepreneurs on the internet if you search for grants for women entrepreneurs on Google. Most internet users are familiar with the confusing government websites for business women and individual businesses easily accessible online, where scams abound. You must fill out several forms and applications to obtain your financial and personal information.
Contact WomensNet if you are a business women interested in getting funding opportunities for a new business venture or need to jumpstart your business dream. It is best to complete the process as soon as possible, even though it may take time and effort. We offer entrepreneurs a great deal of information to help them grow their low-income small and emerging individual businesses. Women seeking grants for their businesses will find Amber Grants an excellent resource.
All over the country (including Oregon), women-owned and operated businesses are encouraged to apply for grants. If you are interested in applying for the Amber Grant, the application process is now open. There is a good chance that the grant awarding body will choose you as one of the 12 monthly grant recipients. If you meet their eligibility criteria, you will automatically receive a $25,000 grant if you win one of their 12 monthly grants. Therefore, one grant winner can potentially win an overall grant amount of $35,000 over twelve months. Each recipient is eligible to receive $35,000 over 12 months.
SBIR & STTR Programs
Several official government organizations offer small businesses grants for research and development (R&D). The small business innovation research (SBIR) and small business technology transfer (STTR) funding programs offer small businesses the opportunity to conduct small business innovation research (SBIR). Small businesses benefit from these programs because they encourage technological innovation and help them commercialize their products. Various federal programs are available to small businesses that assist them in developing their technological capabilities and launching their products. Support is available to Oregon businesses applying for federal grants through Business Oregon.
Grants from the federal government are available in two phases: Phase I and Phase II.
- Phase I: About $150,000 goes to very early-stage companies to do proof of concept/feasibility studies on new technologies.
- Phase II: Companies can receive $1.5M to $3M for developing commercially ready prototypes for testing with customers as part of their Phase I work.
One of Business Oregon’s objectives is to make this non-dilutive and highly competitive funding opportunities available to businesses. Matching and application support grants are available for companies interested in achieving that goal.
Application Support Grants
Due to the competitive nature of SBIR/STTR programs, Business Oregon offers grants to assist businesses in preparing competitive applications. Grants of this type are referred to as Phase 0 grants and Phase 00 grants. Business Oregon has awarded approximately $10 million in federal grants to companies with approximately $280,000 in grants from Business Oregon.
- Phase 0: The federal government awards phase I SBIR/STTR grants to businesses.
- Phase 00: These grants can be used by applicants applying for Phase II or Fast-Track grants.
Applicants can apply for a phase 0 or 00 grant up to $5,000 for the following purposes:
- Consultant fees (e.g., authors, reviewers, technical writers) associated with developing SBIR/STTR Phase I applications.
- Applicants for SBIR/STTR Phase I may have to pay additional professional fees (e.g., legal, accounting)
- Preparing the SBIR/STTR Phase I grant application will incur out-of-pocket expenses (such as market research, technical database research, and statistical analysis).
Early-stage companies benefit greatly from SBIR/STTR government funding, but it is not enough to help them stand alone. In addition to filling gaps in federal grants, Business Oregon’s matching grants help businesses expand their projects and advance their technologies. Depending on the matching grant funds available for each year, a limited number of grants will be awarded competitively. In the case of Phase I federal grant awards, the federal government can provide a matching grant of $50,000, while a Phase II grant can provide a matching grant of $100,000.
Entrepreneurial Development Loan Fund (EDLF)
Founded by the Oregon Legislature in 1991, the Entrepreneurial Development Loan Fund provides direct loans to start-ups, microenterprises, and small businesses. Traditional lending markets do not fill this niche.
Almost any type of business can participate in the program. Participants must meet the following criteria:
- The applicant’s revenues cannot exceed $1,500,000 for the 12 months preceding the loan application;
- It is required that applicants have less than 25 full-time equivalent employees when applying; or
- For a grant to be awarded, the applicant’s business or proposed business must be owned by at least 50 percent of the severely disabled.
A detailed description of the loans is given below:
- The fund may lend a maximum of $1,000,000 in loan proceeds over its lifetime;
- It is generally advisable to limit amortization to not more than ten years for assets financed, as determined by the department;
- A fixed minimum interest rate of prime plus 2%.
Competitive applications must demonstrate the following:
- The collateral provided for the loan must be good and sufficient;
- Repays the loan in a reasonable amount;
- Achieves equity requirements for program participation;
- Obtains small business counseling from Certified Entities; and
- It also meets the requirements of the EDLF Application and the Oregon Administrative Rule.
Business Finance Officers can provide more information to interested applicants after they speak with a Certified Entity. You must contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or another Certified Entity to apply. It is important to note that SBDCs and Certified Entities are free to work with, but third parties may charge fees.
Inspiring Diversity Grant
This grant aims to inspire creativity and equity-related best practices in the workforce, marketing, and communications among local traded-sector employers (those selling goods and business services outside Portland). As a participant in the program, you will have the opportunity to build new community partnerships with underrepresented groups. A diversity grant recipient contributes to best practices in the larger business community and is a leader in fostering equity in the Portland economy.
There is a limit of $10,000 that companies can apply for. Companies that request funds are given preference if they can match the requested funding.
FedEx Small Business Grant
FedEx Small Business Grant Contest invites applicants nationwide to enter every year. A few businesses receive grant money each year from FedEx, including the grand prize winner, the runner-up, and the runner-up’s runner-up. During the year 2021, FedEx awarded grants to 12 small businesses. The grand prize winners received $50,000 plus $7,500 in FedEx Office business and print services.
As part of the FedEx Small Business Grant contest, applicants must submit a nine-second video explaining why their business deserves to win a grant and a short profile about their business. For-profit businesses with fewer than 99 employees and at least six months in operation are eligible.
Rural Relief Small Business Grants Program
As part of LISC-Lowe’s commitment to elevating our impact in rural America, we offer Rural Relief Small Business Grants to small business owners in rural locations nationwide.
Who is eligible?
Small businesses in rural areas are the only ones eligible for the program. Rural communities are defined as those with fewer than 50,000 people. Community addresses are located in cities, towns, or villages. For mobile businesses (food trucks, fishing boats, rideshare drivers, etc.), use the address where your vehicle is stored during off-hours.
If you are interested in applying, please review their FAQs and grant information first. Nonprofit organizations cannot apply for relief funding at this time but may be able to later on.
Oregon IDA grants
Mercy Corps Northwest has offered grants to entrepreneurs for nearly 20 years through the Oregon Individual Development Account program.
The Oregon Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) allow Oregonians to save money for small businesses starting or expanding. Upon acceptance, grantees must save as little as $67 a month over six months or 18 months until they have saved $1,200. They then combine these savings with Mercy Corps Northwest’s grant of $6,000 for a combined $7,200 for their business. A $1,000 credit-building loan will also be pre-approved for graduating participants.
Individuals who desire to become entrepreneurs – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender expression, age, disability, national origin, citizenship status, or involvement with the criminal justice system – are empowered through IDAs to realize their dreams. Besides growing individual assets, the program strengthens families and the broader community’s economic base. In the three years since the program’s inception, over $4 million has been awarded to hundreds of entrepreneurs to support the sustainable growth of local businesses.
BRIDGES, APANO, Elderberry Wisdom Farm, and HOPE Partnership participants no longer qualify for IDAs from Mercy Corps Northwest after 2022.
Small businesses can find grants that meet their needs on the Oregon GrantWatch website. The website also provides federal, state, and local government grants and loans in addition to business loans. GrantWatch is a free tool that aids in the search for grants. It can help locate grant writers if you want help preparing winning grant proposals. You will be asked a few simple questions during the grant application process.
Subscriptions to Oregon GrantWatch give subscribers access to the service’s information. A $199 annual subscription is also available for $18 per week. Members are not eligible to apply for grants as part of the free membership.
Oregon Small Business Stabilization Fund (SBSF)
The Oregon economy is experiencing unprecedented disruptions for workers and small businesses. The Oregon SBSF is helping small businesses that have witnessed the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through OCF’s $300,000 investment in March 2020 and donations from donors, the fund provided $2.6 million in emergency capital for non-profit community organizations serving small businesses in urban and rural communities. Small businesses suffering from reduced sales and revenue can access emergency grants, low-interest and no-interest loans, and technical assistance from these lenders thanks to the grants.
City of West Linn Business Recovery Grant
As part of its ongoing business recovery efforts, the City of West Linn offers an available Small Business Grant program to assist West Linn businesses and non-profit organizations affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The first and second rounds of funding, provided in 2020, were jointly funded by the State of Oregon and the City of West Linn.
A $225,000 ARPA grant will assist West Linn businesses seeking financial assistance in 2023. Each round of grants will total $75,000 and be distributed by the City of West Linn to eligible businesses. City awards will equal $2,500 for brick-and-mortar businesses and $1,000 for home-based businesses in this round. The City will offer a fifth and sixth round of grants worth $75,000 later this year. During rounds five and six, businesses will be able to receive marketing and technical support as well as improvements to their façades through specific criteria.
The Bottom Line
Oregon Small Business Development Center (ORSBDC) offers a variety of resources that create economic vitality for small business owners irrespective of business classes or business purposes. Financial assistance is being provided to small businesses affected by Coronavirus by the government and private organizations. Financing small businesses can have a wide range of positive effects on the economy. Your company can use the funding sources listed above if you need them.
Also Learn About Funds For Massachusetts Small Businesses
Are you interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation? Check out the rest of Gov Relations’ blog section today!