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Connectors Will Help Ensure Equitable Economic Recovery

October 10, 2022

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Port of Seattle, and King County announced today that seven community organizations will serve local small businesses through the Community Business Connector (CBC) program.

These organizations, identified as Connectors, will serve small businesses in five geographic hubs in King County through a targeted outreach program. Connectors will provide access to available business resources to help them sustain and grow their enterprises. A review panel selected the Connector finalists following a competitive application process.

Seven connectors in the first phase of this pilot program will ease the way for small businesses across King County to connect with advisors and access resources for business recovery. Connectors will receive a one-time funding award from $30,000 to $40,000 over 12 months as part of the pilot program.

Those selected include the following:

  1. Lake City Collective
  2. OneEastside Spark
  3. Growing Contigo, LLC
  4. International Rescue Committee
  5. Indian American Community Services
  6. Kent Chamber of Commerce
  7. SnoValley Chamber

“The pandemic highlighted ongoing challenges faced by small business owners and operators, especially those in our BIPOC communities. As we emerge and recover, helping these enterprises navigate a rapidly changing business and public health landscape is critical for our long-term economic health," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We are pleased to support our Community Business Connectors as they provide small businesses with a network of resources to ensure they can sustain and grow their operations in the years ahead."

The Chamber's team of Connectors will utilize an online ticket system to connect with business owners directly. Connectors provide referral options to lenders, small business development centers, and other helpful resources.

“The Port of Seattle invested $650,000 in community-based partnerships to open doors for ethnic businesses that anchor our communities and neighborhoods,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Hamdi Mohamed. “Helping small companies tap resources is vital as the region grows amid uncertain economic conditions locally and globally.”

Connectors will make the region's small business support ecosystem more accommodating and inclusive by building relationships with businesses facing challenges due to linguistic, cultural, and geographic barriers, including economic impacts because of COVID-19.

“Small businesses owned by people of color and those based in rural communities have faced higher barriers to accessing capital, receiving state and local relief funding, and pivoting to online sales,” said Seattle Metro Chamber CEO Rachel Smith. She added, “As part of our work toward an equitable and inclusive economy, we are committing $500,000 from King County COVID-19 Local Recovery Funds to ensure that small businesses throughout King County can get the direct support and resources they need not just to keep from falling behind, but so they can get ahead. Our seven connectors in the first phase of this pilot program will make it simpler for small businesses throughout King County to connect with trusted advisors and access resources for business recovery.”

Community Business Connector is led by the Chamber and REACH King County, funded in partnership with King County, the Port of Seattle, and participating cities.

Visit Community Business Connector page for more information.

Program Contact

Vaughn Taylor | VP, Economic Development
Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
(206) 558-3440 |

Media Contact

KD Hall | KD Hall Communications
(206) 966-2198

Perry Cooper | Port of Seattle Senior Media Officer
(206) 787-4923 |

Authored by KD Hall

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