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small business week 2019

Small Business Week

National Small Business Week is a time to recognize “the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.” This year Business Impact NW would like to acknowledge two dedicated members of our team, Senior TA Coordinator and Instructor, Adra Waits, and Loan Portfolio Manager,  Christopher Stone. Through their enthusiasm and diligence, they elevate the work of the small business owners we serve who make our communities vibrant places to call home. Hear from Adra and Christopher about what it means to them to serve small business owners.

Adra Waits

Business Impact NW: How do you serve small businesses through the work you do?

Adra: “As the Program Coordinator between our womxn’s and our veteran’s programs, I am the first point of contact into our systems, making sure people can get signed up and into our workshops, with a business coach following those trainings. I also have the privilege of introducing clients to Business Impact NW through our Square One Orientations online and as the host of some of our Business Expert Sessions, as well as other webinars we offer.”

Business Impact NW: What about small businesses do you love most?

I love small business for one huge reason – it’s folks out here trying to make it doing the thing that they love! No one is starting a business to do something just ‘okay’, you know… they want to have that ownership over what they do, what they offer, and those who really have the drive, will work hard to make that dream a reality. That can lead to such awesome accomplishments!”

Business Impact NW:  Why is the work we do so vital to entrepreneurs?

“I am a small business, and I was not good at realizing that and acting like it until I started working here. As an entertainer here in Seattle, trying to be taken seriously, trying to build a name for myself, it’s great to have organizations like ours that can help you to realize that when you are starting, or even already ARE a business, there’s things you gotta do to stay on top and keep the focus. There’s things you need to know to be able to market yourself, to show folks that you are not here to play games – you are here to make the magic happen, and thank goodness for these free services. Our coaches are not just here to tell you how to get to a place, but they are also here to cheer you on, to be your safety net, to keep you accountable if you need, and a lot of us need that! And if you have not taken advantage of our free services yet, what are you waiting for?”

Christopher Stone

Business Impact NW: Tell us about the work you do for Business Impact NW’s lending department?

“As Loan Portfolio Manager, my job touches many aspects of the business lending cycle. The first – and most important – is working with prospective borrowers at the beginning of the lending process. While “the numbers” are an important part of any loan application, equally as important are the stories behind them. In working with borrowers, I get the opportunity to see how their business fits into their lives and gives them the ability to impact their communities. Explaining how the different components of a loan application help paint the picture of their business’s past, present, and future is one of the more rewarding aspects of my job, especially when prospective borrowers are able to leverage that new understanding to secure the funding that they need. Once funding is secured, I also work with borrowers throughout the life of the loan, providing as much support as needed to allow businesses to focus on the aspects that make them successful.”

Business Impact NW: What do you love most about working with small business owners?

“My love for working with small businesses can be summed up in a single word: Impact. I never cease to be amazed at seeing the impact that small businesses have on the communities they are located in, the communities they build around them, and the communities they foster for others. Small businesses play an outsized role in how we view our neighborhoods, how we socialize with friends and family, and how we connect the small roles we play to the larger world around us. This much can be seen at all stages of the business, from a celebrated opening to a lamented closing: the successes and challenges that small businesses face act as a mirror for those of us who support and interact with those businesses as a normal course of living our lives.”


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