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SBA Awards $388,000 in PRIME Grants to 2 Washington Organizations to Help Emerging Micro-Entrepreneurs Gain Access to Capital

Nationally, SBA Awards $5.2 Million in Grants to Help 27 Organizations Provide Technical Assistance and Training Services to Economically Disadvantaged Businesses in HUB and Opportunity Zones
Release Date: 
Friday, September 10, 2021
Contact: 
melanie.norton@sba.gov

SEATTLE –The U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded 27 organizations across the United States a total of $5.2 million under the Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME) grant awards.

Two of the 27 organizations are based in Seattle, WA – Business Impact NW and Ventures received $200,000 and $187,900 in PRIME grants, respectively.

PRIME supports nonprofit organizations as they help low-income entrepreneurs get financing to establish and expand their small businesses by providing direct technical assistance, or provide capacity-building training for other organizations that provide capital to underserved small businesses.

“The Biden-Harris Administration and Congress have worked together tirelessly to ensure our nation's small businesses have the resources they need to survive this pandemic and build back better,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “This year, SBA focused our PRIME grant selection process on our nonprofit partners who can best bring federal resources to life, especially in the regions and communities where they are needed most. I look forward to partnering with these organizations as they help us connect America’s entrepreneurs with the capital they need to start and grow their enterprises."

Business Impact NW has served small businesses and entrepreneurs in Washington since 1997 and Oregon since 2016. Business Impact NW is an SBA Microloan Intermediary, USDA IRP and RMAP lender, runs the SBA-funded Veteran Business Outreach Center (VBOC) and Washington Women’s Business Center (WBC), and is a CDFI-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

The organization supports low-income and other underserved populations in urban and rural communities including women, people of color, veterans, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ community by providing access to capital and robust development services including business coaching, multi-week classes, workshops and networking and pitching events. Since 1997, Business Impact NW has made $82 million in loans to 2,052 entrepreneurs, including 1243 low-income people, 840 minorities, 901 businesswomen and 246 veterans. Through its lending program, Business Impact NW has helped save 4,518 jobs and create 2,938 more.

“Business Impact NW is so proud to have received the SBA PRIME grant this year when so many entrepreneurs are suffering from the pandemic across the region,” Business Impact NW President and CEO Joe Sky-Tucker said. “Through this grant we will further our work with food and farm businesses, getting them access to critical technical assistance and capital so they can sustain and grow their businesses. We believe that the businesses we work with will not only survive the pandemic but will come out even stronger.”

Ventures is a Seattle-based nonprofit that empowers aspiring entrepreneurs with limited resources and unlimited potential. The organization provides access to business training, capital, coaching, and hands-on learning opportunities for entrepreneurs. They serve those in the community for whom traditional business development services are out of reach, with a focus on women, Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), immigrants, and individuals with low income. Their ultimate goal is to support individuals to increase their income potential, achieve long-term financial stability, provide for their families, and enrich their communities through small business ownership.

With its PRIME award, Ventures will support training programs and technical assistance services to disadvantaged entrepreneurs, and create a stronger, more vibrant regional economy. Venture’s technical assistance includes classroom training (currently virtual), one-to-one general business advice, financial coaching, QuickBooks training, and help with marketing, digital media, operations, HR, legal advice, providing both pre- and post-loan technical assistance, access to market and incubation through the Ventures MarketPlace at the historic Pike Place Market and access to an affordable commercial kitchen.

“Ventures is proud to have collaborated with SBA for more than 20 years, and we are grateful for this new opportunity to deepen our work together. This contract will continue supporting our mission to empower individuals with limited resources and unlimited potential to achieve self-sufficiency,” Ventures Executive Director Beto Yarce said. “Since 1995, our customized programs and wraparound approaches to training, coaching, incubation, access to capital and ongoing support have made a powerful impact within BIPOC and underserved communities in the Greater Seattle Region. SBA recognition and support for this work will be transformative for hundreds of our entrepreneurs, especially those struggling to keep their small businesses viable during the COVID-19 era.”

Congress established PRIME as part of the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act of 1999. Grant funds will be made available on September 30, 2021, and the project period for each grant is one year.

The SBA placed special emphasis in this year’s competition on projects that will offer training and technical assistance to strengthen economically disadvantaged businesses, particularly those that service entrepreneurs in Opportunity Zones, rural areas, and HUBZones.

Among this year’s 27 recipients, 15 provide services in Opportunity Zones and 12 provide services in HUBZones. Nearly 9,000 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories have been designated as Opportunity Zones.

The PRIME grants range from $75,000 to $250,000, and typically require at least 50 percent in matching funds or in-kind contributions. In total, over 101 organizations applied for PRIME grants for 2021.  

For more information on the SBA’s PRIME grants and a list of this year’s grantees, visit  https://www.sba.gov/document/support-prime-grantees.


About Opportunity Zones
Opportunity Zones provide a tax break in which investors can use capital gains to support long-term economic development in nearly 9,000 designated low-income communities across the country. An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Localities qualify as Opportunity Zones if they have been nominated for that designation by the state and that nomination has been certified by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury via his delegation of authority to the Internal Revenue Service. 

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov. The SBA Seattle District serves Washington state and northern Idaho with office locations in Seattle and Spokane.