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Contract opportunity: Commerce seeks nonprofit organizations to expand business support efforts with historically marginalized communities

Small Business Resiliency Network adding new members to assist diverse entrepreneurs and business owners, promote opportunities for equitable economic recovery statewide

OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Department of Commerce is soliciting community-based nonprofit organizations interested in joining the agency’s Small Business Resiliency Network. Network organizations provide culturally- and linguistically- appropriate outreach, translation, education and other assistance to small business owners from historically marginalized communities.

“The pandemic revealed enormous disparities in who is most likely to be able to find and successfully apply for help, and who is often left out. This is especially true for small business owners in many racial, ethnic and underserved communities,” said Jessica Camacho, the network’s director. “We’re expanding this network to help ensure an equitable economic recovery and future for all our communities.”

Commerce launched the Small Business Resiliency Network in early 2020, growing it to 31 organizations that provide services in nearly 40 languages. Commerce is opening this new solicitation to expand the network and is seeking organizations with small business and nonprofit competence in racially, ethnically or otherwise diverse communities who historically have been had limited access to and have been underserved by mainstream resources.

Organizations must show they are:

  • Recognized as a trusted community messenger organization representing and serving historically marginalized and underserved communities.
  • Registered in the state of Washington as a nonprofit organization.
  • Physically located with services provided in Washington state.
  • Led by a board of directors, executive leadership and staff that are at least 51% representative of the community or communities served.

Contract funding amounts and specific scope of work will be negotiated with accepted organizations. The amount of funding awarded to a specific organization will be based on a variety of factors including reach, number of businesses served, staff time dedicated to the work and the depth and breadth of services provided.

Detailed information and application instructions are found in the solicitation form on the network webpage.

Applications are due January 7.

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