Seattle is one of the top cities for small business growth and development. Recently, reports say that Seattle is making small business development a priority as is creating an environment that is small business friendly.
Last Tuesday, the National League of Cities cited Seattle’s Office of Economic Development’s Business Retention and Expansion Program in their efforts to revitalize the growing startup culture in Seattle, along with the continued development of their already situated businesses. Business Retention and Expansion Program staffers expect to meet with 500 businesses a year to help them expand and improve their businesses.
Small businesses are an integral part of every community and are responsible for nearly half of the US economy. This program in Seattle allows for these small business leaders to connect with city resources to obtain funding, staff and technical support, as well as influence their cities regulations.
Seattle’s Office of Economic Development appointed Rebecca Lovell as the startup liaison to the city. This is a brand new role created to try and turn Seattle into a real startup destination. Lovell’s montra is that “it’s not small businesses that improve the economy, it’s new businesses.” Her role is to track the growth of Seattle’s startup community to see what changes need to be made to help foster startup prosperity. Lovell worked as a mentor for startups in the TechStars accelerator program. She was a professor at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, and ran multiple local nonprofits. She was a program director for an angle-investing network called Alliance of Angles as well as the business manager for the tech news site, GeekWire.
Lovell says it is important that the startup community in Seattle focus on the underrepresented communities in the startup environment such as, woman, minorities, and the underprivileged. Lovell has been a major piece in woman advocacy in technology and as entrepreneurs. Her budget is not big; however, one of her main goals will be to connect up nonprofits with public schools to help prepare students for jobs in the tech world when they graduate.