Funding assistance for business start-ups is rare. There is a misconception that grant monies are widely available for this purpose. There might be some, if you look long and hard enough, and they all require a good business plan. The nature of grants is that they come and go, and may not be available in every state. Many that are available are made to agencies, not to individuals. Many of these ‘agency grants’ go to support low-interest rate loans for low-income and/or disabled entrepreneurs.
The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) are two of the few agencies that provide some funding for their customers. If you are a DVR or DSB client, talk to them about your self-employment options.
The following list will help you get going on research for finding any available funds – most of them are loan funds, not grants. Many of these resources will turn out to be dead ends. Finding cash resources is usually a needle-in-a-haystack proposition, so approach it as a research project, and start saving for business investment now.
You could also try one of the web-based funding sites for projects, such as

Accion USA
ACCION USA is a microfinance organization that lends with the mission of empowering business owners with access to working capital and financial education. ACCION USA offers business loans up to $50,000 and financial education throughout the United States.
Apply online at:

Artist Trust
Artist Trust supports artists in Washington by providing information to tens of thousands of artists each year, and they have granted more than $2.5 million in direct support to 1,213 of Washington State’s most promising musicians, writers, visual and craft artists, playwrights, choreographers, composers, performers and filmmakers.

Business Impact Northwest
Create a business plan, research potential markets and marketing ideas, discuss management issues with experienced counselors and business assistance providers, and apply for a small business loan
Washington State
P.O. Box 22283
Seattle, WA 98122
Greater Metropolitan Area (King County++)
1437 South Jackson, Suite 201
Seattle, WA 98144
Phone: (206) 324-4330 ext.100

Craft3 (formerly Shore Bank Cascadia and Enterprise Cascadia)
Craft 3 is a non-profit that makes investments throughout coastal Oregon and Washington. They lend to individuals, farms, businesses, public entities, and non-profits. Most of their investments are in the form of loans that banks cannot make. They also are able to combine with bank loans to get people the capital they need to succeed.

Ilwaco WA

PO Box 826
203 Howerton Way,SE
Ilwaco WA 98624
Phone: 360-642-4265
Fax: 360-642-4078
Astoria OR

100 39th Street, Suite 501
Astoria, OR 97103
Phone: 503-325-4476
Portland, OR

1101 SW Washington Street
Portland, OR 97205
Phone: 503-916-1552, ext. 129

Seattle, WA

401 Second Ave S., Suite 301
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: (206) 447-9226 phone
Fax: (206) 682-4804 fax

Port Angeles, WA

905 West 9th Street, Suite 221
Port Angeles, WA 98363
Phone/Fax: 360-565-2063

Enterprise for Equity
Enterprise for Equity is a community supported nonprofit that helps low income people turn their ideas and talents into businesses.
PO Box 1291
Olympia, WA 98507
Phone: (360) 704-3375

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)
Ask your local community non-profit agency or microenterprise agency if they have an IDA program for business investment. This program allows you to save money over time, and matches your savings amount (within limits) in order to purchase business assets. Financial management training is a required part of the program.

MercyCorps Northwest
Loans and business training for low-income populations in Oregon and Washington.
509 Fairview Ave. N, Ste. 200
Seattle, WA 98109

Metropolitan Development Council
MDC provides low-income persons in Tacoma Pierce County with technical assistance and loans in support of micro enterprise development.
15 North Broadway.
Tacoma WA 98043
Phone: (253) 591-7026
Fax: (253) 593-2744

PASS Plans
Meant to help you get items, services, or skills you need to reach your goals.
Mailing Address for Washington State:
Social Security Administration
915 2nd Ave. Suite 901
Seattle WA, 98174
Call 866-235-8109 for information

Social Security Administration
Office of Public Inquiries
Windsor Park Building
6401 Security Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21235
Toll Free: 1-800-772-1213
TTY: 1-800-325-0778

Rural Community Development Resources
Their mission is to create wealth and empower individuals and disadvantaged entrepreneurs through job creation by providing access to capital, business assistance training and leadership development in rural counties throughout Washington State.
24 South 3rd Ave.
Yakima, WA 98902

Spokane Neighborhood Action Program (SNAP)
This program combines training, business counseling, and access to capital to give hard-working people business opportunities not otherwise available to them.
Administrative Office
3102 W. Fort George Wright
Spokane, WA 99224
509-456-7111 ext. 200
Fax: 509-534-5874

Spokane Neighborhood Economic Development Alliance (SNEDA)
SNEDA is a neighborhood-based, nonprofit organization that aims to help businesses improve their profitability and create jobs. They do this by connecting businesses to existing resources and providing financing to entrepreneurs who have been unable to access it through traditional means.
715 E. Sprague
Spokane, WA 99202

Tri-County Economic Development District
The Tri-County Economic Development District (TEDD) is a non-profit organization providing financing and technical assistance to small businesses.
347 West Second, Suite A
Colville, WA 99114
Phone: (509) 684-4571
Toll Free (800) 776-7318
Fax: (509) 684-4788

USDA Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan Program – Rural areas
USDA Rural Development works in partnership with the private sector and the community-based organizations to help fund businesses that create or preserve quality jobs and/or promote a clean rural environment. The financial resources of USDA Rural Development are often leveraged with those of other public and private credit source lenders to meet business and credit needs in under-served areas.
USDA Rural Development
Washington State Office
1835 Black Lake Blvd. SW, Suite B
Olympia, WA 98501-5715
Phone: (360) 704-7740
Fax: (360) 704-7742

Provides a business training course, microcredit lending services, technical business assistance and peer support to enable low-income women, people with disabilities and new immigrants/refugees to start or expand self-employment ventures.
2100 – 24th Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98144
Phone 1: (206) 352-1945
Phone 2: (360) 698-4088
Fax: (206) 352-1899

Northwest Access Fund
WAF offers low interest loans and matched savings for assistive technology, business equipment, and Telework equipment for employees and entrepreneurs with disabilities.
100 South King Street, Ste. 280
Seattle, WA 98104
Voice: 206.328.5116
Toll Free: 877.428.5116
TTY: 888.494.4775
Fax: 206.328.5126

Washington State Microenterpise Association
To find current microenterprise programs and other resources in your area, go to: (the national Association for Enterprise Opportunity – AEO)