Funding from new sources continues and strengthens the business-education programming for the Walla Walla Micro-Business Assistance Program.

Mercy Corps Northwest and the city of Walla Walla have entered the second year on the program that provides grants, loans and education to new and existing businesses that may not qualify for traditional lending.

Participants go through educational programming and simultaneously work to save $500, which is matched with a $4,000 grant upon competition of the program requirements.

Three new grants have come forward to help support the program. One is $167,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act. The Wildhorse Foundation is provided $5,880 in funding. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided $47,083 to expand education and financing offerings.

The city’s support also includes $6,000 in recently announced funds from the Donald & Ruth Roff Fund administered through the Blue Mountain Community Foundation

The education arm of the program has been bolstered with the funds and have added a six-week “Business Foundations” course that helps participants with skills in finance, marketing, business strategy, credit-building and creation of a formal business plan.

According to the announcement, the funding also will facilitate accounting classes, credit counseling and mentorship for participants and those who are interested in the community.

Services are all offered in English and Spanish.

For more information on Walla Walla’s Micro-Business Assistance Program, contact Cinthya Montero at or Jennifer Beckmeyer at

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at 509-526-8321, or on Twitter at

Vicki covers business and economic development, including tourism, the Port of Walla Walla and the Strictly Business column, as well as features. She has been reporting for the Union-Bulletin since late 2001.