SEF Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the Small Enterprise Fund? 

The Small Enterprise Fund is an initiative of Oregon Worker Relief with support from the State of Oregon to provide grants up to $25,000 to eligible micro, very small, and small Oregon businesses who were impacted by COVID-19 or the related health and safety restrictions and who are generally unable to access federal relief due to owners’ immigration status.

Q. How can I apply for a grant from the fund? 

Eligible business owners can apply by calling 1 (888) 274-7292. Information on how to apply will be available at starting March 8, 2021 until funds run out. A trained, community-based navigator will support the applicant in the process. All applications are processed through a universal online statewide system. 

Q. Do I have to submit documentation to verify business ownership? Do multi-owner businesses have to submit for one owner or for all? 

Every applicant must prove that they are the majority owner who owns more than  50% of the business and who is an ITIN-holder or holds a similar status. If the business is owned by more than one person, proof of ownership for all owners must be provided. Only one business owner can apply. Only one grant is available per business. An applicant cannot apply for more than one business. 

Q. What if I don’t have an ITIN? 

The eligible business must be more than  50% owned by an ITIN-holder or similar individual. Immigrants who have a restricted Social Security Number (for example, for purposes of Work Authorization or under DACA) may also be eligible so long as the individual did not receive  federal relief from programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program in or prior to 2020. 

Q. How will applications be decided? 

Every application will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Interested applicants will register to apply through the statewide call-center or participating navigating community-based organization. After registration (called “queuing”), the applicant will be interviewed by a navigator from a participating community-based organization. The navigator will collect information and documentation and then submit the application. After submission, the application will be reviewed by an expert committee who will make recommendations for awards. Applicants will be notified of the status of their applications and, if found eligible, they will be required to submit bank verification information, a W-9 tax form, and a signed grant agreement.  Priority will be given to businesses that have suffered a significant decline in sales or revenue from the COVID pandemic and to micro and very small businesses. 

Q. What are the key dates for applications? 

Applications are processed on a rolling basis starting March 8, 2021 until funds run out. Additional details will be made available at Oregon Worker Relief’s website  at 

Q. What businesses are eligible? 

The fund will prioritize Oregon-based micro-enterprises, very small businesses, and small businesses who were unable to access federal relief. Award categories will be based on your business size. This fund is intended to provide support to Oregon business owners or operators who contribute to our collective prosperity and yet have been unable to access other forms of relief because of federal immigration classification. The OWRF Coalition defines eligibility for enterprises based on their annual revenue. For eligibility purposes, we define business as: 

● A micro enterprise is an Oregon business with annual revenues of less than $50,000. 

● A very small business is an Oregon business with annual revenues between $50,000 and $100,000. 

● A small business is an Oregon business with annual revenue between $100,000 and $1 million. 

An eligible business must be (a) registered with the Oregon Secretary of State, if required to do so, (b) based in Oregon and doing business in Oregon and owned, at least 50%, by an ITIN-holder or similar individual. 

A business is ineligible if it is primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities, is a passive or investment business, a financial business primarily engaged in the business of lending, a business engaged in any activity that is illegal under federal, state, or local law, or a business engaged in activity that is against public policy.

Q. Is a sole proprietor eligible? 

Yes. A sole pr​oprietorship is the simplest form of business in which one individual conducts the business. The business owner is personally liable for the obligations of the business. Sole proprietors don’t have to be registered with Business Registry unless they are using an assumed business name. 

Q. What if my business is closed due to COVID? 

If your business is temporarily closed due to Oregon  or local health and safety mandates (example: gyms or spas), but you are financially viable and plan to re-open, you may qualify. If your business has permanently closed without plans to reopen, you do not qualify. 

Q. What can the grant be used for? 

The grant may only  be used to assist the business in recovery from impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or  the health and safety public health orders, provided that those costs have not already been covered through other grants, loans, or relief. The grant may not be used for personal expenses or expenses unrelated to business recovery from COVID-19 impacts.

Q. What kind of documentation will be required? 

Each applicant must submit evidence demonstrating ownership and principal operation of an Oregon business, status as an ITIN-holder or similar status, identity, and evidence of financial impact based on the pandemic. Evidence may include the following (this is not an exhaustive list, eligible applicants will be provided with instructions on the type of information required and how to prepare a strong application): 

– Proof of an Oregon business

– The business must be in compliance with the State of Oregon 

registration requirements or; 

– Be registered with the respective County or City in which the 

business operates or; 

– Have evidence of a business lease or; 

– Have proof of business operations in Oregon

– Note: Sole proprietors operating under the owner’s name are not required to register with the State of Oregon and do not have to submit additional Registration. If the name of the business doesn’t include the full legal name of the business owner, the business name must be registered as an assumed business name wi​th the Secretary of State’s Business Registry. See for more information. 

– Proof of COVID impacts: 

Loss or decrease in revenues or income and/or; 

– Loss of clients or customers and/or; 

– Loss of employee(s) critical to business operations;

– Loss of a planned business opportunity or expansion that would benefit the community;

– Loss of suppliers:

– Ability to get sufficient supplies

Increase in costs (for example increased expenses from purchasing Protective Personal Equipment, cleaning supplies, additional costs for meeting social distancing requirements, etc.) and/or; 

Required closure of your business due to COVID restrictions that have impacted revenues 

Q. What is meant by “annual revenues”? 

Annual revenues only include sales, receipts and/or income from the applicant’s business. Annual revenues do not include applicants personal income. For example, if the applicant has income from a different job or source, this is not included in annual revenues. 

Q. How much can my business apply for? 

An eligible business owner can apply for a grant based on the size of their enterprise to recover from  the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related health and safety orders. Grants are  from $7,000 up to a maximum $25,000. 

Q. Do I have to pay taxes on the grant proceeds? 

Yes, generally. Generally, the grants are income for the business. We recommend that you consult with your tax preparer. The SEF cannot provide you with tax advice. A W-9 will be required for all approved applications prior to funding.

Q. How will funds be distributed? 

All grants will be distributed through direct deposit using Oregon Worker Relief’s payment platform. All applicants must have a verified email address, a mobile phone, ITIN number, and an associated bank account. The bank account must be in the name of the business or, if a sole proprietor, must be in the name of the applicant. All bank account information, including account holder, will be verified before funding.  

Q. What are the grant categories? 

The grant categories are as follows: a Micro-enterprise is an Oregon business with annual revenue less than $50,000. A Very small business is an Oregon business with annual revenue between $50,000 and $100,000. A Small business is an Oregon business with annual revenue between $100,000 and $1 million. The priorities of the fund include street vendors, sole proprietors, independent contractors, 1099 workers, food establishments and similar businesses in Oregon, owned or operated by eligible ITIN-holders or similar individuals who have been unable to access traditional forms of relief because of federal immigration classification. 

Q. Can I apply for a second grant?

No. Only one grant is available per business. An applicant can only apply for one business. If you submitted an application that was later denied, you may submit a second application for review. You must disclose all prior applications each time you apply. 

Q. If I received or could reasonably receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) benefits am I eligible for this fund? 

Probably not, however each application is considered on a case-by-case basis. The fund is intended to serve Oregon small business owners who are excluded from other relief because of federal immigration classification. A business is not eligible if they received any funding or award from the federal Paycheck Protection Program. You may be eligible for the SEF if you applied for PPP funding but did not receive it

Q.  Am I eligible if I received other grants such as grants from a local non-profit? 

Yes. A business is eligible even if it received relief from state, regional, local or nonprofit funds. A business is eligible so long as you did not receive funds from PPP, however priority will be given to businesses who have not received significant sources of other relief. A business may not use a grant to cover recovery costs for which they have already received a grant from federal, state or local programs.

Q. What businesses are eligible for relief?

An Oregon business operating before January 8, 2021 whose majority owner is an ITIN-holder or similar individual may apply. All business owners must demonstrate that their business was negatively impacted by the pandemic or a related public health order.

If you are unsure of your eligibility, we encourage you to please call 1-888-274-7292 to confirm your eligibility. Depending on your business’s unique circumstances you may be eligible.