‘Truly Small Businesses Are Hardest Hit’

A reposted Article from KVAL, KMTR, & Newbreak.com

TIGARD, Ore. — Oregon has set aside $5 million in grants for businesses with fewer than 25 employees to help them survive the pandemic.

“While all businesses are bearing the brunt of COVID-19’s economic backlash, truly small businesses are hardest hit,” the Northwest Credit Union Association said in a statement Thursday.

Now a “coalition of not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions is working together to distribute relief grants, which qualified small businesses will not have to pay back,” the Association said.

“Credit unions are well positioned to help the truly small businesses in rural communities, and minority owned businesses, to receive these grants,” said Troy Stang, president and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association.

Four credit unions with Community Development Financial Institutions designation — Consolidated Community, Trailhead, Point West, and Central Willamette — stepped up and will fund grants ranging from $2,500 to $12,500.

“Collectively, our goal was to provide support to small businesses throughout Oregon that have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Larry Ellifritz, president and CEO, Consolidated Community Credit Union. “This is a great collaborative effort to make a difference for businesses.”

Consolidated Community has already issued grants to an antique shop, a variety store, a consulting business, and a non-profit theater.

According to the Credit Union Association:

The State of Oregon’s program designed the grants for historically disadvantaged businesses in every corner of the state, with particular focus on business owners who are Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, or women.

“Point West is committed to helping small businesses, especially those owned by people of color, adversely impacted by the unprecedented economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Amy Nelson, the credit union’s CEO. “These grants will deliver a much-needed infusion of capital to help support these businesses and the communities they serve.”

Along with businesses of up to 25 employees, sole proprietorships also are eligible for the funding.

“With over 260,000 sole proprietors in the state, ensuring they have support through COVID-19 is critical to Oregon’s economic outlook,” said Stacie Wyss-Schoenborn, president and chief executive officer of Albany-based Central Willamette Credit Union. “These types of businesses are very small, so grant funds are impactful and sustaining.”

Interested business owners may reach out to the participating credit unions by emailing or visiting the websites listed here:

“All of the credit unions in this endeavor are working together as a team to make the process as smooth and simple as possible,” noted Jim McCarthy, president and CEO of Trailhead Credit Union in Portland. “The cooperative spirit is alive and well in the credit union community.”

Posted in NWCUA in the News.