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Mayor Jenny Durkan Announces Initial 250 Grantees of the Small Business Stabilization Fund

Locations of businesses receiving Stabilization Awards

The Office of Economic Development received nearly 9,000 applications for the fund

“At the City, we’re doing everything we can locally to support our small businesses and workers during this unprecedented moment in history. Working together in the early days of this crisis, we quickly created this $2.5 million Small Business Stabilization Fund, which has become a model for cities across our country.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced the initial 250 grantees of the City’s $2.5 million Small Business Stabilization Fund today. The fund provides $10,000 grants to small businesses financially impacted by COVID-19. Nearly 9,000 small businesses applied for the first round of the City’s Small Business Stabilization Fund, demonstrating that the need goes far beyond what the City can provide without further support from the private sector, philanthropic partners and economic relief from the federal government.

With loans and grants available at the state and federal level, OED has also created a comprehensive resource page for workers and small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and is providing technical assistance to support our small businesses.

Cities across
the country, including San Francisco, Atlanta, and New York City, have reached
out to learn more about the Stabilization Fund and try to replicate this model
in their own communities. On April 1, Mayor Durkan signed into
law her legislation
to ensure the City of Seattle can accept
donations, including for initiatives like supporting small businesses through
stabilization funding and for families via food vouchers.

Comcast donates $50,000 to support next round of small business stabilization fund

“I am grateful to Comcast for their commitment to help fund further rounds of the Stabilization Fund and support the small businesses that make Seattle the best city in the country.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan

Comcast has donated $50,000 to address the urgent need
for future rounds of the Stabilization Fund. This investment will help ensure
the Office of Economic Development (OED) can continue providing direct capital
assistance to small business owners struggling to support their employees and
stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interested individuals and
organizations can donate to the Stabilization Fund by emailing [email protected].

Rodrigo Lopez, Regional Senior Vice President of the Comcast Washington region, said “We recognize the important role that small businesses play in our economy and our community. Now more than ever they need our support and we are pleased to do our part. We also know that internet service is essential and are working hard every day to ensure that our network is helping both businesses and residents across of our community keep connected.”

The Mayor explained, “With nearly 9,000 small businesses applying to the first round of the Stabilization Fund, it’s clear that the need far outweighs what the City can provide to our small businesses.

“I urge all those who are able to support future rounds of this fund, and also support our small businesses by ordering pickup, delivery, or shopping online during this unprecedented time. While we to do everything we can at the City level to support small businesses, I will continue to advocate at the state and federal level to ensure our region receives the economic relief we need, both now and as we recover.”

Funding Details and Grant Eligibility Criteria

The $2.5 million expanded Small Business Stabilization Fund is funded by federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). The federal government requires eligible CDBG small business awardees to have five employees or less and for the business owner to be at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income. In addition, the Mayor directed OED to focus outreach on historically underserved small businesses, and nearly 80 percent of the 250 grantees identify as small business owners of color.

After screening for eligibility, businesses were categorized as being from high or low-displacement areas of the City, and then awardees from each displacement category were selected by lottery. Weighting the investments towards high-displacement risk areas allowed the City to target businesses that are more likely to experience economic shocks. OED received around 80 applications when the department launched the first Stabilization Fund back in January 2020.

Seattle City Councilmembers Express Support

“The city’s
initial investment in the Small Business Stabilization Fund is being used by
micro-businesses to support their employees and to ensure they can stay in
business during this crisis. We hope these grants give Seattle’s small
businesses a lifeline, so they can re-open quickly once the immediate crisis is
over and be part of the city’s recovery,” said Councilmember Andrew
J. Lewis
, and member of
the Small Business Recovery Task Force. 

“The city’s grants to micro-businesses will help buffer
the crisis, but the city must do more to ensure local businesses can remain in
their storefronts and are not pushed out during this crisis. When we keep local
businesses in place, it means we can keep dollars and jobs in the local
economy, which in turn builds community wealth,” said Councilmember Tammy J. Morales, a member
of the Small Business Recovery Task Force. “I want to thank the Office of
Economic Development for moving quickly to distribute these grants, and am
hopeful the next round of grants, including those provided by our private
partners, will focus on micro-businesses owned by minorities and immigrants and
refugees.”

The OED team worked long hours to facilitate the grant award process

“Villa Escondida is a family-owned restaurant, and we are proud to support our local community and economy here in Belltown. Our small business was hit hard when many downtown workers began to work from home. This grant from the City will help us keep our staff on payroll and will help us increase our marketing to get more takeout and delivery orders.”

Jose Perez, Owner of Villa Escondida and a Stabilization Fund Grant awardee

OED Small Business Development director Pedro Gomez explained, “I am incredibly proud of my OED team, including those from other departments who lent their time and energy towards this effort. What normally takes months, sometimes years, to develop and perfect, our team dedicated themselves to complete in a matter of weeks. This dedication comes from a sense of community and solidarity with business owners who are working people just like us. Though our funds were limited, we saw firsthand the kind of impact these grants can make – from being able to pay staff to simply keeping families afloat who relied on their business for household income. This would not have been possible without the small business development team who boldly paved the way towards a new way of thinking about how we support our communities.”

Find a complete list of grantees for the initial round of the Small Business Stabilization Fund here.

Other Actions the City is Taking

The City also recently launched the #SupportSeattleSmallBiz map, which helps
residents find small businesses providing takeout or delivery in their
neighborhood. The map allows users to search for open small businesses in their
neighborhood and navigate directly to a business’ website or third-party
delivery service page. As of April 8, 1,198 small businesses are included in
the map, which has been viewed 185,000 times. If you’re a business owner
interested in adding your information to the #SupportSeattleSmallBiz map,
please contact the City at [email protected].  

Mayor Durkan and the City of Seattle have worked to
implement a series of actions that support artists, nonprofits, small businesses,
and workers, including: