We are honored to have such an accomplished group of business leaders judge the live IMPACT Pitch competition this year, including the 2017 Best Established Business Winner and Founder of Repair Revolution Eli Alilson, the Founder and CEO of Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream, Molly Moon Neitzel, and Michael Powell, returning judge and Senior Vice President at Harborstone Credit Union! From a 40 year legacy of helping local entrepreneurs turn their dreams into realities, to founding Seattle's iconic ice cream establishment, to revolutionizing the auto repair industry, our panelists have an immense range of expertise and a serious dedication to making their communities better through business.
Lorri Wallace, a recent graduate of the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business joined Business Impact NW’s board two years ago through UW’s Board Fellows Program which enables MBA students to serve as non-voting board members at a nonprofits. “Through my entire UW experience, I unexpectedly got attracted to entrepreneurship,” Lorri recalled. “Business Impact NW gave me an opportunity to look at entrepreneurship from a slightly different angle, so it seemed like a really good fit.” Lorri is driven by community and finds joy in connecting people, fostering resiliency through entrepreneurship and believes that “all individuals regardless of gender, race, veteran status or sexual orientation should have the possibility of pursuing their dream of starting a business.”
This time last year Positive Spin Pole Dance Fitness was operating out of a home studio and at capacity. On the hunt for a commercial space, founder Alyssa Taubin kept running into road blocks as many landlords were weary of renting to a pole dance business. Small business ownership comes with a unique set of challenges, but it’s proven to Alyssa what she’s capable of. Thanks to her persistence and the help of a trusted friend and commercial real estate agent for small businesses, Alyssa signed the lease on a studio space in Greenwood, four days before the live IMPACT Pitch competition she was set to compete in.
Seattle, Wash. – August 7, 2019 – Business Impact NW, the nonprofit providing financial and technical support to underserved entrepreneurs throughout the Pacific Northwest, is excited to announce a new program, Empower by GoDaddy in partnership with AEO. Engaging a curriculum created by GoDaddy and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), the social impact program offers entrepreneurs free training, tools and coaching in an effort to accelerate their small businesses in the digital sphere. Facilitated by the Washington Women’s Business Center housed at Business Impact NW, courses are offered both online and in-person and will explore website creation, e-commerce, social media and email marketing.
Prior to the civil rights era, over half the country had ordinances prohibiting women from working as bartenders (Supercall). Today over 60% of bartenders are women and while the number of women owning and running bars is still marginal, they are out there and they are making a difference. Sophie Thompson is one such owner whose cocktail lounge, Hey Love, harkens back to the culture and history of the mid- 1960s. The dream of opening Hey Love started six years ago when Sophie was camping with a group of friends along the Oregon Coast. Her friend Aaron Hall, who she met at the dorms in college and worked alongside at Aaron’s bar Dig a Pony in Portland, initially pitched Sophie on the idea.
Derek Voelker learned to dive in the Marine Corps who honored him with a Medal for Combat Valor for his service during the Battle of Fallujah. Since his time in the Marines, Derek graduated from one of the most renowned underwater welding and commercial diving schools in the country, the Diver’s Institute of Technology, obtained a Bachelor’s from the University of Washington and collected twelve diving certifications. This June marks another noteworthy achievement for the Seattle native as he celebrates the two year anniversary of his burgeoning business, Seattle Dive Company (SDC).
Business Impact NW and the Ethnic Chambers of Commerce Coalition (ECCC) are now providing free outreach, education, and technical assistance to business owners on the Seattle Labor Standards ordinances through a partnership with the City of Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS) under the Business Outreach and Education Fund (BOEF).