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August 7, 2020

Business Organizations Focused on Underserved Small Businesses Awarded $3 Million in Grants to Address Pandemic Impacts

Today, Business Oregon announced awards from one of the latest programs the agency quickly stood up to serve businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s economic development agency is awarding 23 grants totaling $3 million that will provide technical assistance to underserved small businesses across the state. Funding was allocated by the Oregon legislature and Governor Kate Brown as part of the state’s pandemic response.

“No one can do this work alone,” said Business Oregon Director Chris Cummings. “This funding allows us to get resources in the hands of twenty-three experienced organizations as we partner together to serve traditionally underserved small businesses across the state. It bolsters the outcomes of the other programs we have launched to offset the enormous impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on small businesses.”

The program was crafted to serve businesses whose needs are unmet by existing resources and who face systemic barriers to 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.

One grant recipient is the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, receiving a $290,000 grant to serve Latinx small business owners in Oregon.

“With Covid-19 affecting the Latinx community disproportionally, the Hispanic Chamber is happy to receive this award and expand its reach to serve a larger number of businesses affected by the crisis,” said Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber Executive Director Carmen Castro. “The Hispanic Chamber has more than 26 years of experience providing culturally-specific technical assistance to the community and will work hard to help small Latinx businesses weather this storm.”

The program provides funding for experienced organizations to deliver direct 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 sustain and grow businesses.

Examples of technical assistance awardees will provide for small businesses include, but are not limited to:

  • Business plan review and assistance
  • Helping access capital, loan application support
  • Mentoring / cohort business coaching
  • Referrals / training
  • Financial literacy / credit counseling
  • Specialized help – accounting, legal, HR
  • Technology services – web development, e-commerce
  • Recruitment and screening

The following organizations will be awarded funds, contingent upon successful contract negotiation between Business Oregon and funding recipients. Applications were reviewed by an evaluation committee for eligibility with state and federal funding guidelines, and alignment with program goals. 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.

Recipient Amount
Adelante Mujeres $70,000
Applegate CDC $21,000
Ashland Chamber $60,000
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) $50,000
Black American Chamber of Commerce (BACC) & Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon (PACCO) $275,000
Centro Cultural $100,000
Economic Development of Central Oregon (EDCO) $40,000
Hacienda CDC $134,000
High Desert Partnership $300,000
Hispanic Chamber $290,000
Huerto de la Familia $52,000
Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) $140,000
Latino Built $90,000
Metro Contractor Improvement Partnership $125,000
Micro Enterprise Resources, Initiatives, and Training (MERIT) $75,000
Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) $150,000
Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) $120,000
Oregon Native American Chamber (ONAC) $300,000
Professional Business Development Group $170,000
RAIN $100,000
Rural Development Initiatives (RDI) $200,000
Umatilla Electrical Co-op $18,000
Urban League of Portland $120,000

Media Contact: Nathan Buehler, 503-689-3559.


Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency, invests in Oregon businesses, communities, and people to promote a globally competitive, diverse, and inclusive economy. The agency's services span rural community development and infrastructure financing; business retention, expansion and recruitment; export promotion and international trade; investments in industry research and development and entrepreneurship; small business assistance; and support for arts and cultural organizations. Learn more at

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