Snohomish County Awards Innovation Assistance Grants to 50 Local Small Businesses

Executive Dave Somers today announced that Snohomish County is awarding a total of $350,000 in grants to 50 local small businesses as part of the Small Business Innovation Assistance (SBIA) program. SBIA provides technical assistance services coupled with access to grants to help local small businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic as well as incentivize new, innovative ideas from start-ups and entrepreneurs. The program is funded by the County’s federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation, in partnership with the Snohomish County Council.

Supporting jobs, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and tourism is crucial to Snohomish County’s recovery. In the county, 90 percent of businesses have fewer than 20 employees, and these small businesses account for the highest percentage of employment among all businesses by size.

“Our small business community is the backbone of our main streets and local economy. They provide the goods and services that make our communities thrive,” said Executive Somers. “These Small Business Innovation Assistance grants will boost economic growth and innovation across our county and help business owners build long-term resiliency.”

“I am elated to see American Rescue Plan funding continue to support our small business community. These investments have been awarded to critical needs throughout our region, including child care and manufacturing,” said Congresswoman Kim Schrier. “In every corner of my district – we hear about how important access to child care is. This funding for child care facilities in Snohomish County will help ensure families in our community have the ability to return to the workforce. Programs like these support the recovery and expansion of our local economy. That is exactly why I was so proud to pass the American Rescue Plan.”

SBIA is administered by Ventures, which is a regional nonprofit organization that has been supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs for nearly 30 years. The program focuses on small businesses and start-ups in Qualified Census Tracts and/or small businesses in industries highly impacted by COVID-19, including manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, and child care. In Snohomish County, manufacturing saw a 19 percent decrease in jobs between 2020 and 2021. Additionally, over the course of the pandemic, Snohomish County lost an estimated 25 percent of its child care/early learning workforce.

The 50 awarded small businesses break down as follows:

  • 44 percent child care
  • 33 percent manufacturing and retail
  • 23 percent food production and food services

The average grant amount awarded was $7,300 per small business.

“Our small, locally owned businesses are the backbone of our communities. They were also some of the hardest hit during the pandemic economic shutdowns. These assistance programs will help ensure our small business continue to thrive and keep our communities strong,” said County Council Vice Chair Nate Nehring (District 1).

“There’s no question that the pandemic had devastating impacts on local small businesses across the county,” said Councilmember Megan Dunn (District 2) who also provided welcoming remarks at the grant celebration event. “This is the first program of its kind for Snohomish County, and I look forward to the long lasting and positive impacts this program will have in our communities.”

“For 27 years, Ventures has been a cornerstone for underserved entrepreneurs, and this collaboration and partnership with Snohomish County is a testament to our enduring commitment. Getting this funding in the hands of COVID impacted small business owners is crucial to not only survive but thrive. We are honored to be a trusted partner in fostering economic resilience in our community,” said Monique Valenzuela, Executive Director, Ventures.

Executive Somers established the Office of Recovery and Resilience to guide the County’s recovery work by ensuring federal pandemic relief is administered quickly, effectively, and equitably. Information on the County’s recovery work can be found at

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