Last April, the Washington State Department of Commerce established the Small Business Resiliency Network to ensure that community business owners could stay up to date on available resources and funding as they weathered COVID-19-related challenges.

According to Commerce, a new partnership with the BECU Foundation has enabled the network to grow by 31 organizations and serve communities in nearly 40 languages. (A map of the network can be found here.)

According to a Commerce release, the state contracted with BECU Foundation to serve as the financial agent for an additional $2 million CARES Act funding that allowed the Small Business Resiliency Network to widen its reach.

“As immigrant and refugee communities, members are challenged by many cultural barriers such as language, fear of asking for help, which prevents them from accessing information needed for their small businesses to succeed. The idea of trusted messengers really resonated with us as well as those we helped,” said former state representative Velma Veloria in a prepared statement.

Solynn McCurdy, who serves as the executive director of the BECU Foundation, highlighted the foundation’s assistance in the release.

“Many rural organizations and small businesses owned by women and people of color have been deeply and disproportionally impacted by the pandemic,” said McCurdy. “We recognize the important role that local organizations play in the financial health of our communities. The BECU Foundation was honored to help these businesses receive this critical funding so they can continue serving individuals and families in the Puget Sound area.”