Earn a Small Business Grant (IDA)


Ready to start or grow your business with limited resources? An Individual Development Account may be right for you.


An Individual Development Account (IDA) is a special savings vehicle that helps families and individuals with limited financial resources build assets, gain valuable training, and enter the financial mainstream.

At Mercy Corps Northwest, our small business IDAs invest in the personal and financial growth of entrepreneurs to build strong small business communities throughout Oregon.  The Mercy Corps NW IDA match savings program operates on a 5:1 match ratio. This means that every dollar an IDA Program participants saves, will be matched with $5 in grant money. The savings goal for all participants is $1000, matched with $5000 in grant money, for a total of $6000. The length of time you save and participate in the program is determined by both your budget (how much you can afford to save) as well as how much time you need to be ready to launch your business plans. The minimum participation period is 13 months. Graduating participants will also be pre-approved for a $1,000 credit building loan.

Clients who participate in our IDA program come from a wide-ranging background, from food carts to contractors, lawn maintenance technicians to janitorial ventures. IDAs empower any individual in our state with the desire to become an entrepreneur–regardless of race, ethnicity, involvement with the criminal justice system, sexual orientation, age, disability, national origin, or citizenship status–to realize their dreams and not only grow the assets of themselves and/or their family but also contribute to the economic strength of our state as a whole.

Sorry, but the IDA general application period is now closed.  However, we are having a special application period opening now for people who live or have a storefront or office in one of the following zip codes 97034, 97035, 97219, 97223, 97224, 97239. To learn about this special Individual Development Account enrollment session sponsored by Metro’s Southwest Corridor Equitable Development Strategy (SWEDS), click here.

TO PREPARE FOR THE NEXT APPLICATION SESSION: Applicants must have completed one of following business classes within a year of applying and submit proof of attendance (if the class was taken outside of MCNW).

1) Mercy Corps NW Understand Your Credit Seminar To register, click here.

2) Mercy Corps NW Business Foundations I: To view upcoming classes, click here.

3) Mercy Corps NW Business Foundations II: To view upcoming classes, click here.

4) Mercy Corps NW Business Plan Workshop: To view upcoming classes, click here.

5) Portland State University Business Development Classes: To view upcoming classes, click here.
(Other classes can be considered for credit towards the requirements. If you have taken a class that comprises at least 18 hours, feel free to run it by us).

Other business workshops may qualify. If you would like to find out if they do, please contact the IDA staff.


إذا كنت ترغب بأن يتصل بك شخص من فريق المنح للمشاريع الصغيرة للتكلم باللغة العربية – إضغط هنا

Если Вы заинтересованы в прохождении программы на русском языке и хотите быть в курсе мероприятий на русском языке, пожалуйста, заполните данную форму.


The Application Process and Timeline:

We  consider the first 30 complete applications received in each enrollment session and the online application will close once those 30 complete applications have been received. Any applications received by mail after that time will be returned to the applicant. If you aren’t able to have your application considered in this round, never fear! As you can see from the schedule below, we will have another application period coming up.

  1. June, 2018: Application Period Now closed.
  2. Upcoming Application Periods: November, February

Because the federal government terminated Assets for Independence, the grant program that we depended upon to support our IDA program, we are now asking for a $50 processing fee for each application to help support our operations. Applications without the processing fee will not be considered complete.

Next: How Does an IDA Work?

or, visit our FAQs page for more information