The Seattle Metro Chamber urged Governor Jay Inslee to establish a Washington State Recovery Fund that would provide businesses with access to capital to keep the lights on and weather the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as proposed by his Safe Work and Economic Recovery Advisory Group. In our letter
to the Governor, we also urged him to use $35 million of federal CARES Act funding as the initial seed money for the fund.
Building out Washington’s lending infrastructure to help small businesses, especially for those most impacted by COVID and those historically under-resourced, is critical to rebuilding our economy so that it is more competitive, more equitable, and more resilient.
Businesses throughout our region are hurting: We have seen over 130 businesses permanently close in downtown Seattle alone, and as King County's Associate Development Organization, the Chamber received over 9.600 applications for the two rounds of grant funding that we have done over the past eight months. From national data, we also know that Black-owned businesses have closed at nearly twice the rate of other businesses - an alarming statistic that has serious consequences for economic competitiveness, equity, and resiliency,
In our letter, the Chamber notes that a Washington State Recovery Fund would come at a critical time, and would offer small businesses additional short-term assistance, as well as new tools to access capital longer term. Under the state's direction, the fund could also prioritize especially impacted industry sectors, as well as businesses in communities of color, women-owned businesses, and businesses in rural and underserved community. Read the full letter here.