Interest in starting small businesses is rising across Washington state. In 2022, 25% more business applications were filed than in 2019, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — with King County specifically having had the most applications (at over 33,200). All of which begs the question…
What’s led to the increase in business filings in Seattle?
Here are some of the ways in which 2023 is different from 2022 for small businesses in Seattle:
- The economy is recovering from COVID-19:
This is leading to an increase in demand for goods and services, which is good for small businesses. In addition, inflation is higher in 2023 than 2022 meaning the cost of goods and supplies are more expensive, so any assistance from government programs — or state-specific benefits (such as no income tax — has been fostering growth.
- The city is investing in small businesses
The city of Seattle has a number of programs and initiatives in place to support small businesses, such as the Small Business Stabilization Fund and the Tenant Improvement Fund.
- The city is becoming more diverse
As the population grows, Seattle’s diversity has as well, which is good for small businesses that cater to a diverse clientele.
Here are some specific examples of how the city of Seattle is supporting small businesses in 2023:
- The Small Business Stabilization Fund provides grants to small businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic. These grants can be used for a variety of purposes, such as covering payroll costs, rent payments, and utility bills.
- The Tenant Improvement Fund provides grants to small businesses that are looking to improve their storefronts or make other physical improvements to their businesses. These grants can be used to cover a variety of costs, such as construction costs, permits, and design fees.
- The city is also investing in programs and initiatives that are designed to help small businesses succeed. These programs include the Seattle Small Business Development Center, which provides free and confidential business consulting services to small businesses, and the Seattle Office of Economic Development, which provides a variety of resources and support services to small businesses.
Overall, the city of Seattle is committed to supporting small businesses. This is evident in the number of programs and initiatives that the city has in place to help small businesses succeed. Nowhere is this more evident than with the recent growth in U-District.
The $5 Million Investment in Seattle’s U-District
In 2023, the U District Partnership and the Washington State Department of Commerce invested $5 million in these small businesses. This investment is helping businesses make improvements to their storefronts, purchase equipment, and create outdoor dining areas.
The investment is also helping to create a more vibrant and welcoming community. The new storefronts and outdoor dining areas are making the U District a more attractive place to live, work, and visit. The investment is also having a positive impact on the local economy. The businesses that are receiving the grants are able to create more jobs and generate more revenue.
The U District is a thriving community, and the investment in small businesses is helping to ensure that it continues to thrive for many years to come.
Here are some specific examples of how the investment is helping small businesses in the U District:
- Sweet Alchemy, a coffee shop, was able to add an awning, doubling its coffee business.
- Over 20 businesses have used the grant funding to create outdoor dining areas, increasing seating capacity by over 450 seats.
- The U District Partnership hosted its Third Annual U District Food Walk to showcase the new storefront improvements.
The investment in small businesses in the U District is a smart and strategic investment. It is helping to create a more vibrant, welcoming, and economically prosperous community.