July 1, 2020 — Business Oregon has launched the latest program the agency quickly stood up to serve businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency is using up to $3 million in federal CARES Act funding recently provided by the Oregon legislature to boost organizations that can serve traditionally underserved small businesses across the state.

The program is specifically targeted to serve businesses whose needs are unmet by existing resources and who face systemic barriers to entrepreneurship and small business success. These focus areas include minority- and women-owned businesses, and rural businesses. The program is aligned to focus on groups identified in Governor Brown’s Equity Framework in COVID-19 Response and Recovery.

The program will provide funding for organizations to provide high quality and effective technical assistance for their small business clients. Technical assistance refers to the education, resources, and guidance provided to entrepreneurs and small business owners to help them start, sustain, and grow businesses.

The most common types of technical assistance awardees are expected to provide for small businesses include, but are not limited to:

  • Business plan review and assistance
  • Access to capital, loan application support
  • Mentoring/cohort business coaching
  • Referrals/training
  • Financial literacy/credit counseling
  • Specialized help—accounting, legal, HR
  • Business incubation—access to incubators, low-cost rental space, accelerators
  • Technology services—web development, e-commerce
  • Succession planning
  • Recruitment and screening

This list is not exhaustive and applicants do not need to provide each of the services listed above to qualify as a technical service provider for this program. Business Oregon recognizes that applicants are best positioned to know what types of technical assistance are needed among the specific communities they support and this program is designed to allow them to help their clients respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The application period opens today, July 1, and applications will be accepted through July 17, 2020. Awards will be based on alignment with program goals, including demonstrated need and past experience providing similar services. Download application materials.

Funding offers will be contingent upon successful completion of the application process and negotiation between Business Oregon and funding recipients. All projects must be completed and grant funds must be expended by December 30, 2020. Unexpended funds will be returned to the U.S. Treasury in accordance with the CARES Act of 2020.