Grant funds open to companies that have lost domestic profit

Grant funds open to companies that have lost domestic profit
By April Ehrlich — Independent-Enterprise Oct 7, 2015

Payette County companies who have lost business to foreign competitors might be able to get some extra money to make up the loss.

Eligible companies can receive up to $75,000 in matching grant funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to pay for improvement projects of their choice. The companies must show the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center that they have been impacted by low-priced import competition.

“Basically, if you’re a manufacturing or agricultural producer or fishery or service firm, if you could show that you have lost business because of imports, you qualify for funding assistance through this program,” Patrick Meuleman, the center’s director of marketing, said.

The funds apply to all types of businesses, though it’s typically easier to prove a manufacturer’s eligibility for the program, Meuleman said. For this reason, most of the program’s clients are manufacturing companies.

“Generally speaking, it’s a lot easier to help a manufacturing company because we can tie a specific product to the activity,” he said. “If you’re a software company and you’re like, ‘This customer decided to use me and went overseas,’ that’s harder to quantify.”

Meuleman’s job is to help a company determine its eligibility. He assesses the company’s situation, and walks through all the steps of the program. He finds out how the company plans to use the funds, since they need to go to a specific improvement project as opposed to everyday financing.

This is not a competitive grant, Meuleman said. That means it does not apply to a certain number of companies. All eligible and interested companies will participate.

“It’s a program where if you’re eligible, you’re in,” he said.

Meuleman has worked with several Payette County businesses in the last few years. One is based in Fruitland and just recently received its final payment. That company chose not to disclose its name publicly.

Although the program has helped mostly manufacturers in the past, Snake River Economic Development executive director Kit Kamo said anyone who is interested might as well call the center.

“The manufacturing term they use very loosely,” she said. “If I were to say anything to employers in the Payette County area, it would be to go ahead and check into it to see if their company might qualify.”

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