BOOST deadline extended

Small businesses have until Jan. 13 to apply for free legal, marketing, bookkeeping services

PORT ANGELES — Small businesses and nonprofits that missed the first deadline for Olympic Peninsula Small Business Boost have been given another opportunity to apply for the program’s free legal, marketing and bookkeeping services.

They now have until Jan. 13 to submit an application to be considered for the program at tinyurl.com/28serjse. The previous deadline was Dec. 31.

The purpose of the program is to help spur business recovery, startup and growth in low-income and rural areas. It is a project of the Clallam County Economic Development Council, the Grays Harbor Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council and the Economic Development Council of Jefferson County. Support will run through June 1.

Colleen McAleer, executive director of Clallam County EDC, said extending the deadline would help them to connect with businesses that might not have heard about the program due to language barriers, lack of internet service or other challenges.

“This was established for the underserved business groups that haven’t received funding from the different programs that are already out there,” McAleer said. “Those are typically really hard to reach groups, so we want to make another concerted effort to reach out to them.”

Legal and marketing assistance will be provided by local professionals; the deadline for submitting proposals to provide legal services for the program closed Wednesday, while the deadline to submit proposals for marketing services is Jan. 13. That request for proposals can be found at tinyurl.com/m3b4pahh.

Bookkeeping assistance, such as setting up a business with QuickBooks or having QuickBooks accounts reviewed, will come from individuals who receive certification through the Olympic Peninsula Small Business Boost bookkeeper training program taught through Peninsula and Grays Harbor colleges.

That program, whose deadline was Dec. 15, received 383 applications for 21 slots, McAleer said.

“We used the metrics that we put together and made sure we had some representation from different areas of each of the counties,” McAleer said.

Ten of the students are from Grays Harbor County, nine from Clallam County and two from Jefferson County.

The overwhelming interest in the bookkeeping program has led to discussions about expanding it.

“We’re working with Peninsula College, who would like to offer this again,” McAleer said. “We recognize there’s a huge demand from our local businesses and there’s obviously a lot of interest in it from people who are interested in being bookkeepers.”

The Olympic Peninsula Small Business Boost program is supported by a $1.3 million Small Business Innovation Fund grant from the state Department of Commerce and comes out of $34.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

Questions about the Olympic Peninsula Small Business Boost Program should be directed to program manager Ted Hennessy at thennessy@clallam.org.

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Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at paula.hunt@soundpublishing.com.

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