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Mayor Durkan Creates Small Business Stabilization Pilot Program to Help Vulnerable Micro-Businesses

Pilot Program Awards $25,000 to Eight Local Micro-Businesses Who Have Recently Faced a Destabilizing Event That Jeopardizes Their Operations

Seattle (January 7, 2020) – The City of Seattle launched the new Small Business Stabilization Pilot Program to help vulnerable micro-businesses remain in business after a destabilizing event. In 2019, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan directed the Office of Economic Development (OED) to develop a strategy to help micro-businesses better navigate the impacts of rising commercial rents, displacement, and destabilizing events. All eight Small Business Stabilization Pilot Program grantees are women and minority-owned businesses.

Small businesses make up 95 percent of Seattle establishments and provide nearly 200,000 jobs. During a time of unprecedented economic growth in Seattle, the City recognizes that many small businesses experience unique challenges that put the health of their business at risk, particularly Seattle’s low-income microenterprises. These challenges are particularly acute for women and minority-owned businesses, and businesses owned by immigrants and refugees.

“Seattle has been the fastest-growing city in the country over the last several years. That growth has brought incredible opportunities, but it has undoubtedly brought challenges. As rents rise, communities who have long called Seattle home are being pushed out of their neighborhoods, and that’s true for our small businesses as well,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our small businesses are part of the fabric of our city, and they make Seattle a better, more vibrant place. With this Pilot Program, we’re telling our small businesses that their City will support them in moments of uncertainty, and they can count on Seattle as a reliable partner and ally.”

“With this small business stabilization program, the City is financially stepping up, confirming small businesses are valuable and hold an important place in Seattle’s collective identity,” said Councilmember Tammy J. Morales (District 2 – South Seattle). “I’m especially grateful three of the eight businesses awarded grants are in my district. Time and again I’ve seen my district’s small businesses threatened by displacement and lack of accessible financing, causing some local businesses to close. I’m hopeful this program will provide the bridge these businesses need to stay open. They not only provide jobs and important services, but are essential to the strength of our community.”

The Mayor’s Small Business Stabilization Pilot Program awards $25,000 to eight local businesses who meet the following criteria:

  • Business consists of five employees or less;
  • Business owner is at or below 50 percent of the Area Median Income;
  • Business suffered a loss of income due to a destabilizing event, like property destruction, construction impacts, or potential displacement;
  • Business can feasibly be stabilized; and
  • Business is preferably located in a neighborhood experiencing high rates of displacement.

“The Office of Economic Development is grateful to support our small businesses in a way that puts real money towards offsetting costs that would otherwise debilitate a business completely,” said Office of Economic Development Director, Bobby Lee. “We are excited for the opportunity to continue to create programming that helps support the backbone of our great city: small business.”

Grants may be used to cover the day-to-day operating expenses of the business, such as payroll or losses due to destabilizing events. In addition to funding, grantees will be provided with stabilization coaching from an OED Small Business Advocate and financial coaching from an expert. Advocates will support business owners in determining the best use of grant funds and will act as liaisons to connect businesses with additional resources, such as lease education, marketing and branding support, City permit navigation, and credit counseling.

“Every day, we work to help Seattle families deal with the loss of a loved one by remembering and honoring the incredible lives they have lived. We are so proud to be a family-owned and operated small business that is embedded in the community we serve, but we have felt increasing financial pressure as rents rise and Seattle grows less and less affordable. This grant from the City will help us continue to call Rainier Valley home and continue to be part of the fabric of Seattle,” said W. Victor Fitch, President of the Dayspring & Fitch Family Funeral Home.

The eight awardees of the 2020 Small Business Stabilization Pilot Program funding are:

  • Dayspring & Fitch Funeral Home, 4200 S Othello St., Unit 123, Seattle, WA 98118
  • Dora’s Daycare, 906 23rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144
  • El Buen Sabor, 8456 Dallas Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108
  • iConcept Signs, 700 S Orchard St., Seattle, WA 98108
  • Muy Macho Taco Truck, 8515 14th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108
  • Seattle’s Best BBQ, 450 Third Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Villa Escondida, 2203 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
  • Yearby’s Hair and Nail Design, 4501 S Lucile St., Seattle, WA 98118

The Office of Economic Development’s team of Small Business Advocates works every day to connect business owners with the resources they need to thrive in Seattle. Visit this website for more information on the City’s Small Business Advocates.

These grants are awarded through one-time funding secured for 2019; the City’s 2020 Budget invests $300,000 to sustain this program through 2020. OED will evaluate the Pilot Program later in 2020 to determine potential future operations.