The City of Portland is diligently pursuing grants to ensure that eligible individuals receive assistance by the end of 2024. Microenterprise grants are now accessible in the city, courtesy of the federal COVID relief funds that have been allocated.
According to Nancy Martin, the Business Programs Manager for the City of Portland, small businesses play a crucial role in the city’s economy. “The grants aim to assist them in tackling the enduring consequences of the COVID pandemic,” Martin stated.
Factory 3 in Portland operates as a makerspace, offering individuals the opportunity to access a wide range of equipment in exchange for a membership fee. They offer a wide range of facilities, including a fully equipped wood shop, a metal shop, and dedicated sewing areas. Spaces are available for rent, allowing individuals to utilize the equipment for their own craft or conduct trade classes.
“The abundance of creative individuals in this city has been a driving force for me, leading me to relocate here 15 years ago.” Patrick Russell, owner of Factory 3, expressed concern over the rising rents in the city. Having lived here for 15 years, he has witnessed the increasing costs pushing many makers to relocate outside the city.
The scarcity of industrial workspace has made it extremely difficult for entrepreneurs to find suitable locations for their businesses. Russell emphasized that the high costs associated with starting a small business, including purchasing equipment and renting a commercial building, have become prohibitive for many aspiring entrepreneurs.
Approximately $100,000 of the $400,000 allocated for the latest round of microenterprise grants is still up for grabs by businesses and nonprofits in Portland.
Businesses can receive awards of up to $5,000 to cover essential expenses like rent, payroll, and professional services such as advertising, marketing, and accounting. These awards are provided on a reimbursable basis.
The eligibility requirements for the microenterprise grants are as follows:
- According to the requirements, the business should have a maximum of seven employees, which includes the owner.
- Located in Portland
- For eligibility, the owner’s household income should fall within 80% of the local median income.
- Nonprofit organizations with annual operating budgets of $150,000 or less, which cater to low-income populations, are also eligible to apply.
In order to apply, the business is required to submit an application along with a number of supporting documents. “During my time in high school, there was a strong emphasis on pursuing higher education and office jobs. While these paths are commendable, it is crucial to have individuals equipped with the necessary skills to construct and repair the world we live in. Fortunately, a makerspace offers ample opportunities to acquire such knowledge.” “We offer training classes on all of our equipment, making it a great place to get started in the trades,” Russell stated when asked about his motivation to open his small business in Portland.