Han Ly Hwang is one of almost 1,000 Oregon restaurant owners who shared a total of $138 million from a Small Business Administration program spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Oregon restaurateurs.
He owns Kim Jong Grillin, a Korean barbecue restaurant in Southeast Portland.
He was among the 960 Oregon owners — of 38,000 nationwide — that got shares in the first round of the program totaling $6 billion. SBA got more than 300,000 applications for the $28.6 billion that Congress set aside for the program in President Joe Biden’s pandemic recovery plan. The applications totaled $69 billion.
Still, after Blumenauer spent nearly a year crafting the program with help from Portland restaurateurs — and barely 60 days after Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law — Hwang got help from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The average grant was $143,000.
“This is a complete game changer. For someone like myself, being a Korean American, this money gives me more of an opportunity to put my culture first and to really share it through the food,” Hwang said Monday, May 17, during a conference call sponsored by Blumenauer.