Washington’s Small Business Flex Fund Launches to Provide Capital for Small Businesses to Reopen and Recover

By: Mackenzie Chase Posted: 07/12/2021

A new revolving loan fund that the Seattle Metro Chamber advocated for is now accepting applications

 Small businesses and nonprofits can now apply to the Washington Flex Fund for loans of up to $150,000. Loans can be used to pay for payroll, rent, utilities, marketing, repairs or improvements or other costs. The loans are designed to help small businesses, especially businesses that have traditionally had less access to capital, including BIPOC-owned businesses, to gain access to the funds they need to reopen, recover, or grow.

This is a Washington state program, separate from other federal, COVID-19 relief funding, like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), so businesses that have received PPP loans can apply. To be eligible to apply organizations must have less than $3 million a year in annual revenue and fewer than 50 employees. Washington Flex Fund loans are NOT forgivable, so businesses should ensure that they can afford payments.

Last year, the Seattle Metro Chamber advocated for the creation of a Washington State Recovery Fund to help businesses weather the economic downtown caused by COVID-19. We also collaborated with our partners at the African Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest, the Filipino Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest, the Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce, the Seattle Latino Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce, the SODO BIA, and the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce to urge Gov. Jay Inslee to allocate funding for this new recovery program.

In November 2020, Gov. Inslee announced that he would be investing $30 million into a new recovery loan program. The Washington State Department of Commerce partnered with community-based organizations and financial institutions to grow the funding to $100 million. Loans are being originated by five, local Community Development Financial institutions (CDFIs): Ascendus, Business Impact NW, Craft3, Evergreen Business Capital Community Finance, and the National Development Council Community Impact Loan Fund. Learn more about the Washington Flex Fund here. Eligible businesses can apply for loans here