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PortGEN Accelerator Cohort Gears Up for Graduation Showcase

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August 4, 2021

Accelerator Fosters Growth and Innovation for Minority-Owned Businesses 

The Port of Seattle is a big supporter of small business growth and works hard to utilize women and minority owned businesses (WMBE) as it constructs and operates its facilities.  To get the word out about Port procurement opportunities, we offer a variety of resources and workshops that help business owners learn how to do business with the Port. 

Recently the Port created a new PortGen Accelerator program to help a cohort of 10 promising WMBE businesses scale their operations and pursue contracting opportunities at the Port and other public agencies.  Piloted over the last two months, the PortGen Accelerator is one of the first business accelerators in the region to focus on women- and minority-owned firms. It was specifically designed to help small businesses with underrepresented leadership expand and grow. 

The PortGen Accelerator’s innovative programming matches the Seattle entrepreneurship community with the Port's support by providing access to demonstrations, mentorships, funding, and commercialization opportunities.  

Throughout the two-month program, WMBE  businesses have been introduced to the Port and gained the resources, information, and support to land future business opportunities with the Port. Participants explored topics like understanding market opportunities, identifying target customers, branding, doing business with the government, and gaining visibility. Besides the Port, other mentor companies included Skanska, Sound Transit, Shrewsberry Consulting, Clarke Construction and PTAC.   

The intensive eight-week business development program is wrapping up with a virtual graduation showcase, highlighting the efforts of the 10 small business participants from 1:00-3:00 p.m. on August 12. 

Participating companies are benefiting from the new PortGen Accelerator:

“The program has provided me with valuable guidance and tools in how to thrive as a small woman-owned business, not only because of the opportunity to work with the Port of Seattle, but how to  succeed as a small business in general,” said Patricia Cleary, president of Crux Diving, a program participant. “I found the layout of the program to be very thoughtful and the speakers knowledgeable in their field. The program has fostered my vision for the work I need to do to make Crux Diving a successful small woman-owned business.” 

“I have learned so much that will absolutely make a difference in our ability to be successful in doing business with the Port. The information is invaluable. I have participated in other mentoring programs in the past and the PortGen Accelerator program is one of the best,” said Sherry Harris of Ergosynch Engineering. 

Susan Basher of SASH Painting and Color Consultation, LLC said “The PortGen Accelerator has enabled me to see new possibilities for my company. Most importantly, I am learning how to position my company to attract partnerships with larger companies and obtain contracts with the Port. The best part for me has been an assigned personal mentor  to help assimilate this information and show exciting possibilities for future work that uses my creative potential.”

Watch the Diversity in Contracting Events page for notification of the next Accelerator Program in 2022. Learn more about the PortGen Accelerator Program and its criteria.  

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