Oregon will receive $83.5 million from the federal government to help small business owners, the U.S. Treasury and Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday.
The influx in federal funds comes from the U.S. Treasury’s Small Business Loan Initiative, a competitive program that provides seed money with the hope that private investors will invest $10 for every $1 in federal spending. Colorado, Montana and New York also received funding on Friday.
Brown said during a press conference that Oregon will use the new federal money to “address systemic barriers to economic opportunity.”
Oregon plans to split its $83.5 million between innovative early-stage companies and small local retail and manufacturing businesses that need help with start-up or expansion costs, Btown said. It includes two venture capital programs, according to a Treasury press release.
“What’s most important is that these programs will focus on reducing economic wealth gaps and that they will also be self-sustaining and revolving to continue to support our small businesses into the future,” Brown said. .
U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Oregon, said during the news conference that the new funding will “spur” a new wave of entrepreneurship.
“Millennials and people across the country are starting small businesses in record numbers,” she said. “It’s exciting to hear their stories. Just yesterday, I sat down with local small business owners who told me that the federal aid they received during this pandemic kept their doors open and kept 58 people employed, and now they are planning to expand and open another location .”
Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon, also joined the event and said small businesses were hit hardest by the Covid pandemic. Federal aid, including Wage Protection Program loans, helped many small businesses survive, he said, and now they are ready to innovate.
The American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion Covid relief package passed early in President Joe Biden’s term, is the first economic stimulus package that Schrader said specifically targets underrepresented and tribal communities to ensure equal access to help
“The job market is very open, yet people are waiting to figure out what they really want to do with their lives moving forward,” Schrader said. “Small business entrepreneurship thrives in that environment. We’re going to see a whole wave of people being able to access capital for the first time.”
Oregon, which is home to 15% of the nation’s semiconductor workforce, also stands to benefit from billions more in federal and private investment as a result of the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act that Biden signed into law earlier this month. At the state level, the Legislature passed a $200 million jobs bill this year to train women and racial and ethnic minorities in construction, health care and manufacturing.