Yes, eligible applicants need to be a nonprofit, although WSMA has funded Chambers (501c6) and Main Street partners in the past. As long as the organization is providing comprehensive business training, technical assistance and/or access to financing. For Profit businesses, small businesses owners, LLCs are NOT eligible. Unfortunately, academic institutions are not eligible for funding at this time.
You can use a 501c3 fiscal sponsor, but a 501c6 can also apply and would not need a fiscal sponsor.
If the Chamber is a non-profit (501c3 or 501c6) and the project provides business training, technical assistance and/or access to financing for businesses or entrepreneurs, and microenterprises with 5 or fewer employees, as a primary client group, then your organization would be eligible.
If the applicant is a 501c3 and registered in the State of WA, it will be eligible to apply for WSMA funding.
Your organization should be a WA registered nonprofit and working towards becoming a 501(c)3. If your nonprofit is in formation or has not yet received its 501(c)3 designation and your organization has a documented relationship with a fiscal sponsor, you may apply through your Fiscal Sponsor. A fiscal sponsor is a nonprofit organization that provides fiduciary oversight, financial management, and other administrative services to help build the capacity of a nonprofit organization that hasn’t yet received their federal 501(c)3 designation. Roles and responsibilities of each entity are negotiated and documented in a written agreement and this document needs to be uploaded with their fiscal sponsor’s IRS documentation.
Yes, the nonprofit would need to apply for the grant. If the nonprofit organization seeks to consult with your company or a business to assist them with accomplishing the goals of their grant to provide business technical assistance, training other business services, and to help reach and serve small businesses, that would be their decision and details of that work would be included in their application.
No, if your non-profit has experience working with and supporting businesses and wants to grow your business programs, training or technical assistance services to businesses with 5 or fewer employees, your organization is eligible. Make sure you have realistic goals and objectives based on your expertise/connections to reach the businesses you intend to serve within the grant period.
There is no requirement to have a profile on Evergreen BizLink if you have never received grant funds from WSMA or if you are not funded. If you are funded you will have an opportunity to apply before grant funds are disbursed. If you have received grant funds from WSMA in the past and are not currently a Resource Partner on Evergreen BizLink or have not yet applied by Dec 1, 2023, you will not be eligible for funding in this grant cycle.
Yes and it will be posted on the WSMA YouTube Channel. In addition, frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs) will be posted to our website after the sessions once we review, clarify any questions we have and respond to all the questions/answers.
The projects that focus on the sectors listed in those sections, including cross sector collaboration and innovation within and among the sectors, will be prioritized.
It depends on the number of qualified applications and the amount requested. It’s important to ask for the amount that reflects your organizational capacity and reach to businesses and the completion of the work on or before June 16, 2024. If you ask for the maximum of $125,000 our reviewers will want to see how the support is reflected in the depth and reach of the services provided.
We have $2M in funding available for this round of grants.
In 2022, WSMA distributed $2.3M in grant funds. Grants ranged in size from $7,500 to $70,000 with an average $33,800.
It is our hope that this support from the state will continue, but we can not guarantee annual funding. In the last legislative session our current level of funding was approved by the state legislature for both this fiscal year and the next.
Funding decisions will be made on or before December 31 and Scopes of Work will be negotiated with funded grantees and contracts signed thereafter.
If it is just networking events and those networking events are not tied to training, technical assistance, financing support or skill building then the networking events may not be as compelling or ranked high by the reviewers. If that networking event is about drawing more businesses into your network and engaging them into the training program or adding value through training technical assistance or financing then it may have greater value to the businesses and therefore be more compelling.
All awarded grantees will submit a Final Report on or before June 16, 2024. A report template will be delivered to each funded organization and will request a short summary, key lessons, successes, challenges, business testimonials, and economic impact outcome data.
These are state funds.
No. However, WSMA staff are available to answer questions and to assist with the grant portal. It’s important to submit your proposal early so that there is plenty of time to answer your questions or to troubleshoot should there be difficulty in uploading your documents, submitting your application, etc.
In line with WSMA’s commitment to conduct an equitable and accessible application process, technical assistance will be offered to support organizations with determining their eligibility and in completing their application.
Technical assistance can take many forms. These services can be provided to a group or as one-on-one business coaching, specialized assistance in a particular industry, or business counseling in areas of business support like business planning, cash flow projections, marketing, operations, etc. and much more.
Correct. Applicants may not use these dollars to lend, grant or provide any direct financial assistance to businesses or entrepreneurs. They can be used to help businesses apply for money from another source. From the Guidelines: “Grants approved under this contract may be used to pay project related expenses, including but not limited to rent and utilities, staff wages (Note: Applicants can charge wages only. Payroll taxes, unemployment contributions, insurance, benefits, etc. shall be the sole responsibility of the grantee), technical assistance, training, outreach and education materials, translation and interpretive services that strengthen businesses and their likelihood of success. However, funds may not be used for equipment (tangible property including but not limited to copiers, vehicles, furniture, software and technology infrastructure). In addition, funds may not be delivered directly to businesses, entrepreneurs and/or employees. Further restrictions will be highlighted in the contract for services once grants are awarded.”
No, your organization can not provide funds in the form of cash payments, loans incentives directly to entrepreneurs or businesses. You can offer technical assistance to these businesses in support of accessing a business license, but not for the license itself.
You can contract with skilled internal or outside specialists and consultants. You must identify them, their role and the cost on the Fund Request Form.
Yes, it is our understanding that these funds can be used to provide business support services for immigrants and refugees.
In past funding rounds we have fully funded some projects and partially funded others–depending on the strength of the proposal and availability of funds. If the grant award made to a project is less than the original proposal we expect to make adjustments in the proposed Scope of Work and anticipated results.
Be as realistic as you can when you are setting your program goals based on your experience, past track record and outreach efforts. Put in a 0 if you are not providing that specific specific service with your project.
You will need to track the types of programs you provide, who and how many people attend these programs or receive your technical assistance. After the project is over, you will describe the type of services you provided and general information about the businesses served (e.g., a compiled total of businesses assisted, number of employees, etc.). We will not ask for any names of participants or sign in sheets, we are mainly looking for the impact of the businesses assisted/trained.
Training is for an ongoing cohort (for example: 10 week, 3 hours/week program with curriculum, homework, etc.) while technical assistance is more individualized (one-on-one mentoring or individual/group coaching) or focused on specific consulting with a business or small group of businesses.
No. No funds can go directly to entrepreneurs, workers or businesses. WSMA funds can not be provided directly to any businesses. We recommend finding another revenue source if you want to provide stipends or incentives.
Yes, but not as employee wages. You will need to include them on the Consultants line of the Fund Request Form (which should include the name, rate and activities of the contractor/consultant).
Proposals that have well thought through plans for engaging with researchers, consultants, and other contractors for business services that they are describing in their grants with a description of the costs of these services, what services consultants, etc. will be delivering and the timeline for service delivery will be ranked higher than those are proposals that offer vague descriptions or those that don’t have the kinds of details that allow for reviewers to understand specifically what the nonprofit is proposing, who will be doing the work and how much it will cost.
No, as those costs are incurred before the grant start date.
Yes, because you are providing technical assistance and support in helping that business get access to financing.
Yes, translation and interpretive services are an eligible grant expense and it is listed on the Fund Request Form as an eligible cost.
From Section 4 of the Guidelines:“However, funds may not be used for equipment (tangible property including but not limited to copiers, vehicles, furniture, software and technology infrastructure). In addition, funds may not be delivered directly to business, employees or entrepreneurs. Further restrictions will be highlighted in the contract for services once grants are awarded.” But if you have a question as you prepare your Fund Request form, please reach out.
WANs usually consist of broadband internet services and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), which is a form of data-forwarding technology used to control traffic flow and speed up connection, while wireless WANs normally include 4G/5G and Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks. WANs can be connected together using the Internet, leased lines or satellite links. We believe that these expenses can be covered but grant funds can not be used for any of the equipment costs and can only be applied to the contract period and not past June 16, 2024.
Yes, a small percent of these expenses are eligible if they are specifically related to the project you are proposing and you can demonstrate impact on the businesses you are serving. Be sure in the proposal to spell out the role(s) played in the project by those personnel.
As these funds need to be expended by June 16, 2024, we need your current (which includes 2023) organizational budget. A P&L (Profit & Loss) statement is also required.
From the Fund Request Form: “Applicants can charge wages only. All payments accrued on account of payroll taxes, unemployment contributions, any other taxes, insurance, benefits or expenses for its staff shall be the sole responsibility of the grantee.”
The work must be completed, all funds expended and your report submitted by June 16, 2024.
Yes, these grants can be used to help fund a staff person to do the work under this project, but all funding must be expended by June 16, 2024. Any WSMA funding received in this grant cycle can not be used for wages/salaries after June 16, 2024.
The decision to become a microlender (SBA microlender, USDA microlender, or microlender using private funds, etc.) is a significant one and takes time to establish the program, formalize the underwriting and lending services, obtain the funds to be effective, but it is doable. If you are interested in becoming a micro lender, please reach out and connect with WSMA and we will help you develop a plan that works best for your organization. There are several micro lenders in Washington state where your organization can send the entrepreneurs for microloans. WSMA grant funds can be spent by your organization to help these entrepreneurs prepare for financing and a meeting with a lender.
You can read how to do this in Sections 11 & 12 of the Program Guidelines and we will post a grant portal walk through video on the WSMA YouTube Channel.
This document is also known as a Statement of Activities, shows how much your organization has spent and earned over a 12-month period. The components of a non-profit Income Statement include revenue, expenses, gains, and losses.
The portal link is on our website, but you can also access it directly here (external link).
On your Dashboard, you will see “In Progress” under Applications. You should find your active application here. Click open to update your application. Do NOT open a new application under the “Funding Opportunities” as this will create a new duplicate application.
Try to use only the EIN or the Name, not both when searching. Still not finding it? Try using one word of your organization’s name then sorting by state (use Washington). Sometimes older organization names show up. Still not finding it? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the Portal Walkthrough we recommended 1.) Questions answered on a Word document so you can copy & paste, 2.) Completed Funding Request Form, 3.) Anticipated outcomes ready to copy & paste into the portal, 4.) Organization Budget for the most recent fiscal year, 5.) Organization P&L or Income Statement or Statement of Activities and 6.) Organization (or fiscal sponsor) IRS 501c3 Letter of Determination. If you use a Fiscal Sponsor, you will also need to upload a written agreement to the relationship.
Unfortunately, once an applicant submits their application, you can NOT make changes. However, If you accidentally submit before completion of the application, please contact email@example.com ASAP.