Business Impact NW – Then, Now, and in the Future

Throughout our 24-year history, Business Impact NW has taken many forms–but despite changes to names, mergers, and moves our commitment to championing entrepreneurs has remained constant. Back in 2016, under one shared vision of supporting entrepreneurs from historically disadvantaged backgrounds, Seattle Economic Development Fund (dba Community Capital Development) and Northwest Business Community Development Center merged to become Business Impact NW. As a merged organization, Business Impact NW has a 24-year history in Seattle and beyond.  

Where We Have Been

Monica Wachira, Owner of Monique's Hot Kitchen with her Daughter Angel. She went through coaching and resources found at the Food Business Resource Center (FBRC).

In recent years our organization has grown immensely. In 2017, we expanded our lending program into Oregon – providing small business loans to countless entrepreneurs on the other side of the Columbia River. With plans to begin lending in Alaska in 2022 our efforts to finance and support entrepreneurs throughout the Pacific Northwest continues to expand.  

As we have continued to grow–we have maintained our commitment to serving the needs of entrepreneurs facing the greatest barriers. At the start of 2020, we launched the Food Business Resource Center (FBRC) which provides free business coaching and classes tailored to the unique needs and challenges facing small scale farms, restaurants, catering companies, packaged food businesses, and grocers – who represent the most critical and fragile small business sectors.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented immense challenges for us all – and the entrepreneurs we work with were among those hardest hit. To support entrepreneurs during this uncertain time, since the start of the pandemic Business Impact NW has been on the front lines providing over 700 PPP loans and thousands of hours of one-on-one coaching and business support services.  

Business Impact NW CEO Joe Sky-Tucker conversing with Impact Pitch 2021 participant, Makeida Hart of SGT. Hart's BBQ Sauce.

Where We Are

Still, while the end of the pandemic is not yet in sight - 2021 has brought remarkable resilience and accomplishments for our organization, and most importantly the small business owners we work with. In 2021 our clients started 102 new businesses and created 2,177 jobs in their communities.  

Throughout the course of 2021, our staff has dedicated themselves to ensuring our programs were accessible and inclusive. Central to this effort was our increased engagement in public policy, in 2021 we hired a Community Development and Policy Manager and have become involved in policy issues impacting small businesses. Back at our home offices, in the past twelve months, our staff have provided 2,636 hours of one-on-one coaching, served 3,448 clients, and 688 loans–including 491 PPP loans–for $25.6 million dollars.  

Where We Are Going

As an organization, we have ambitious plans to continue growing in 2022 and the coming years. We are charting new territory and will begin offering microloans to entrepreneurs in the state of Alaska, becoming the first SBA microlender in the state. In addition, with the launch of our new Loan Readiness Center in the spring of 2022, we will provide accessible credit counseling and loan application support so that those most in need of a small business loan are supported to succeed.  

Gloria and Daniel Man, Co-Founders of Half Moon Bouldering, northwest Seattle's first climbing gym. They emigrated to the U.S. in the early 2000s.

Central to our vision is for all entrepreneurs to have an equal opportunity to thrive, and in next year we aim to ensure that citizenship and religion are not barriers to funding your dream. In the spring of 2022, Business Impact NW will be launching an ITIN loan which will provide entrepreneurs without a Social Security Number the ability to take out a small business loan. Through our work with our partners in the Muslim Community Finance Coalition, we are developing and launching a sharia-compliant no interest (riba) loan–providing small business funding opportunities to Muslim communities with limited access to growth capital.  

Yet, none of this growth would have been possible without the inspiring commitment of our staff in 2021 and years prior. Thank you to all of our partners, volunteers, donors, funders, Board members – and most importantly our clients for your perseverance and support. This year would not have been possible without all of you–it is our community that defines Business Impact NW. 

 

About the author

Director of Marketing and Communications

Carolina is responsible for leading the Marketing and Communications department. She has a vast professional experience in marketing, market research and consulting, working with clients and organizations across many industries and in multiple Latin American countries. She earned her B.A. in Business Administration from Universidad Austral de Chile, a Master of Finance from Universidad de Chile, and a Certificate in Marketing from UC Berkeley. Outside of work she enjoys hiking, watching documentaries and volunteering.

Posted in Business Impact NW

Carolina Guzman View posts by Carolina Guzman

Carolina is responsible for leading the Marketing and Communications department. She has a vast professional experience in marketing, market research and consulting, working with clients and organizations across many industries and in multiple Latin American countries. She earned her B.A. in Business Administration from Universidad Austral de Chile, a Master of Finance from Universidad de Chile, and a Certificate in Marketing from UC Berkeley. Outside of work she enjoys hiking, watching documentaries and volunteering.
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