The GSBA Blog

Mayor Durkan Announces $1.4 Million to Support Seattle’s Small Businesses

by Kamaria Hightower
| Jan 23, 2018

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced the award of $1.4 million in funding to support small businesses owned by historically disenfranchised communities in Seattle, including immigrants and refugees, people of color, women, veterans, people with disabilities, and the LGTBQ community.

“Our small businesses are an economic engine in Seattle, and they create the rich texture and culture of our neighborhoods and our entire City,” said Mayor Durkan. “These investments from the City of Seattle are focused on making sure our small businesses have the tools they need to thrive, to create good-paying jobs, and to keep building economic opportunity.”

Awarded through the City’s Office of Labor Standards’ (OLS) Business Outreach and Education Fund, the funding supports local organizations’ outreach, education and compliance assistance efforts to Seattle’s small businesses in those communities, helping ensure they have the tools they need to fulfill their responsibilities under Seattle’s labor laws. This includes City laws such as: Minimum Wage, Wage Theft, Paid Sick and Safe Time, Fair Chance Employment, Secure Scheduling and the Hotel Employees Health and Safety ordinance.

Recipients of the funding will emphasize outreach to employers not typically served by traditional methods: businesses owned by low-income and historically disenfranchised communities, including immigrants and refugees and people of color, as well as women, veterans, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community. Grant recipients will engage and build relationships with local small businesses through a range of activities, including holding workshops, direct outreach, providing linguistically appropriate information, and offering ongoing support to business owners in neighborhoods across the City on issues like recordkeeping compliance and economic development.

The City has selected five organizations and partnerships to receive funding for a two-year (24 month) period estimated to begin the first quarter of 2018 and end in the first quarter of 2020.

Recipients include the Seattle Business Education HUB ($164,050), founded by Felix Ngoussou, who also owns Lake Chad Cafe, both in the Central District; the Latino Community Fund ($282,966); the Ethnic Chambers of Commerce Coalition ($565,960), which includes a number of chambers representing Asian-owned businesses, as well as the Greater Seattle Business Association; the Ethnic Business Coalition ($275,590), and Ventures ($111,434).

Seattle has approximately 36,500 businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and small businesses account for more than half of all jobs in Washington State. Seattle’s small businesses employ nearly 200,000 people in the City.

For more information about the Office of Labor Standards or the Business Outreach and Education Fund, contact Business Liaison Darius Foster at 206-386-1238, email or visit


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