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Revolutionizing Business in Seattle: How CAC’s community-controlled fund is Empowering BIPOC-Owned Businesses

Clickbait Title:
“Transforming the Business Landscape in Seattle: Amazing Initiative Bringing Justice to BIPOC Business Owners!”

As Seattle’s Generational Wealth Initiative continues to work to find community-centered solutions to the City’s longstanding racial wealth gap, one local organization is taking the lead in developing a revolutionary program to bolster economic equity for BIPOC-owned businesses.

Introducing Central Area Collaborative

Dennis Comer, executive director of Central Area Collaborative (CAC), is calling on the city’s elected leaders and policymakers, imploring them to recognize that the current system supporting small BIPOC-owned businesses isn’t working and to recognize and support the programs that are succeeding.

CAC’s Community-Controlled Fund: A Revolution in Small Business Support

CAC has created a pioneering new program: a community-controlled fund that provides emergency financial support to small BIPOC business owners. The fund is made possible by grant funding from the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods (DON) as part of the Generational Wealth Initiative, and it’s set to launch in 2023.

Lifesaver for Struggling Businesses

Imagine you’re a BIPOC business owner, and you need financial backing in a time of emergency. Such emergencies could be anything from a power outage to a broken window, an equipment breakdown, or an unexpected employee call-out. In such scenarios, gaining access to a quick loan from a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) can be nearly impossible – like traditional financial institutions, CDFIs too have a set of rigorous hurdles and restrictions.

Enter CAC’s community-controlled fund, which is an alternative solution. Business owners in the Central District can come to the fund’s advisory body – comprised of their BIPOC peers – and make their case for financial assistance. These advisors are equipped to respond immediately, granting loans which, if necessary, can be paid back in goods, services, volunteer hours, or other goodwill options instead of cash.

CAC & Denkyem Co-Op: Partners in Revitalizing Business

CAC is partnering with Denkyem Co-Op to administer loan and grant funds during the pilot project period. This revolutionary initiative is one of nine community wealth-building strategies set to launch in 2023 as part of DON’s Generational Wealth Initiative. This is a crucial step in closing the racial wealth gap in Seattle, and CAC is taking great care to ensure the fund’s sustainability past the initial pilot period.People’s Economy Lab is delighted to be consulting with CAC and Central Area Collaborative throughout this process, and we look forward to seeing the amazing impact this program will have.