Sequim chamber, city partner to provide more small business relief funds

The City of Sequim and the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce are again partnering to make available the COVID-19 Small Business Rapid Relief Program (CSBRRP), city officials announced last week.

Following Gov. Jay Inslee’s Nov. 15 announcement of new restrictions to control the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Sequim will provide $200,000 from reserve funds to offer support to local businesses.

Administered by the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, the program allows a maximum funding per business of $15,000.

The application window for the grant program kicked off Monday, Nov. 23, and runs through the end of the business day on Friday, Dec. 11.

Application and guidelines are available on the Chamber of Commerce website at sequimchamber.com.

The city provided $310,000 in funding earlier in the year to support the CSBRRP.

“With the pandemic worsening and no additional federal stimulus money, we feel that it is critical for the City of Sequim to step up and support businesses most heavily impacted by the recent additional restrictions imposed by the State,” Sequim City Manager Charlie Bush said.

“We greatly appreciate the partnership with the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce. They did a fantastic job with our initial round of grants and we are very happy to have the opportunity to work with them again.”

Eligibility

The grant program is intended to provide funding to support the brick-and-mortar costs associated with running a small business. Qualified businesses must: have less than 50 employees; have a physical location inside the Sequim city limits; a Sequim business license as of Nov. 1; have been in business for one full calendar year, and be in compliance with all state licensing and other regulatory requirements.

Priority, city officials said, will be given for businesses impacted by the new COVID-19 related restrictions announced on Nov. 15, those who have registered with the Small Business Development Council, Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, SCORE or other approved business advisor, and those who have an established business plan.

Funds may be used to pay for program operational needs, direct services, capital or equipment costs, city officials said.

Payroll or other employee-associated costs, however, are not covered under this grant.

Certain businesses are not eligible for this grant, including: franchises; national chains; any businesses owned or partially owned by an individual or immediate family member who is a member, manager or director of the chamber’s executive committee, and those businesses owned by a Sequim city councilor or employee.

“Chamber membership is not required to be eligible for this grant, though we continue to offer a courtesy membership to all free of charge to support collaboration and connection among all the hard working entrepreneurs, merchants and small businesses in our region,” said Anji Scalf, Executive Director of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“Our mission is to support, inform and advocate for you.”

Application process

Following the application period, a committee comprised of the Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee and one member from the Sequim City Council will review the applications and score them with established criteria.

Applicant interviews, decisions and awards will be made within two weeks after the application window has closed.

The Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce is streamlining the application process and will require a new, simplified application for this round of funding, program representatives said.

For more information or those needing assistance with applying for this grant are encouraged to contact Scalf at director@sequimchamber.com.

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