New initiative aims to increase revenue for businesses owned by Seattle's underrepresented communities, especially Black-owned businesses.
Seattle – Seattle small businesses can apply to the Liberty Project, a new innovative business growth program launched by Mayor Harrell, the Consulting and Business Development Center (CBDC) at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, and Seattle's Albers Business Foundry (ABF) Now it looks like this. the university's Albers School of Business and Economics, and Taber 100; The Liberty Project is named for the legacy of Liberty Bank, the first Black-owned bank in the Pacific Northwest, which served individuals and businesses previously excluded from financial services and investment opportunities. We are currently accepting applications from local small businesses for our first business cohort.
“Liberty Project is committed to the many concrete investments we are making to advance economic empowerment and build pathways to increased intergenerational wealth, especially for businesses owned by Black people, women, and other minorities.” “Liberty Bank has always stood for resilience, empowerment and opportunity, and now The Liberty Project will build on that rich heritage.” Mayor Bruce Harrell said: “We are making intentional and proactive efforts to address the economic disparities faced by communities that have endured disinvestment. By aligning our values, resources, and actions, we are , we are excited about the possibilities this collaboration brings, creating tangible opportunities for business growth and success.”
The Liberty Project leverages the successful M3 business model to provide participating companies with services aimed at (1) business improvement; management Increased capacity and access to (2) money Through financing and investment, it leads to increased access to (3). market Through corporate and government contracting opportunities and access to new consumers in downtown Seattle and throughout the region.
The program offers business consulting, financial accounting services (including loan application assistance), marketing services, technology services (such as website development and equipment evaluation/upgrades), contract bid preparation, and limited legal services offered through the community. We provide a range of support, including physical support. Rise and the local Minority Lawyers Association.
The initiative will serve businesses in six priority industries: retail, personal services, commercial construction, food and beverage manufacturing, restaurants, and utility contracting. These six industries are prioritized due to their high concentration of Black-owned businesses and strong market demand for their services.
Applications for the Liberty Project will be accepted in the following ways: online portal Managed by Tabor 100. Interested companies must meet the following criteria:
- Operate in one of six priority industries.
- Have at least three paid employees, including the business owner, and demonstrate a history of success in growing employee numbers.
- Provide financial statements showing profitability for the past two years.
- Prove your track record of success in increasing revenue with financial statements.
Black/African Americans currently make up approximately 7.9% of Seattle's population, but their incomes are significantly lower than their share of Seattle's population. Black-owned businesses across the state make up less than 1% of total business revenue, and on average, they earn 2.3 times less revenue than white-owned businesses.
The project's initial focus will be on Black-owned businesses that meet the prescribed criteria, but applications from businesses owned by other demographic groups, industries, sizes or earned income will also be considered. Selected companies will participate in his one-year program and upon completion become part of an alumni network that provides ongoing technical assistance and support for continued business and revenue growth.
Companies interested in applying to the Liberty Project can Learn more here.
For nearly 30 years, CBDC, Tabor 100, and ABF have worked together and independently to support the growth of Black-owned businesses and other underserved businesses in Seattle and the Puget Sound region. I've been working on it. Building on these existing partnerships, The Liberty Project is partnering with the Economic Development Authority's Restoring Seattle Program as part of Mayor Harrell's Downtown Revitalization Plan to develop restaurants, personal services, and retail in downtown Seattle. support the business.
Ollie Garrett, Tabor 100 President and CEO
“At Tabor100, we are committed to economic empowerment, educational excellence, and social equity for African Americans and our entire community. Through The Liberty Project, we are putting that mission into practice and becoming one of America's most successful 2 We are deepening our collaboration with three small business assistance programs to help Black-owned and other underserved businesses grow. Together, we leverage our resources and expertise to help local We support our businesses and our communities. We're ready to get to work.
Michael Verchot, Director, Center for Consulting and Business Development, Foster School of Business, University of Washington
“The Liberty Project’s M3 model of improvement developed from research by Dean Emeritus William Bradford and others. MIncreased control and access MThis will lead to increased access to Markets provides access to business and government contracting opportunities and new consumers in downtown Seattle. We have already proven that this model is successful in growing Black-owned businesses and other underserved businesses in Seattle and across the country. Last year alone, he helped companies increase their sales by more than $38 million using this model. The Liberty Project allows us to work on a deeper level with our long-term partners at Tabor 100 and the Albers School of Business and Economics to jointly grow businesses that build even more wealth in Seattle while contributing to downtown Seattle. To go. ”
Joseph M. Phillips, Dean of the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University
“The Albers School and Seattle University are excited to launch the first phase of the Liberty Project. Many underserved businesses in our community will benefit from the services our three partner organizations provide. There is a great need for these services, and we all want to get started on this important work.”
Markham McIntyre, Seattle Economic Development Director
“The Liberty Project is an innovative approach to an organizational need. We are excited to work with our leading academic partners to help Black-owned businesses grow and thrive in Seattle. We have a moral and economic obligation to end systemic racism, including closing the racial wealth gap. That's why it's the future of our Seattle economy. It is a key pillar of the framework and why we work on the Liberty Project.”