Small businesses play a critical role in Seattle’s economy. They provide jobs and serve our community. Small business owners need our continued support to meet new economic challenges, and we want to help them. That is why GSBA – Washington’s LGBTQ+ and allied chamber of commerce – and Comcast are renewing the Ready for Business Fund relief effort this year. Starting June 13, Small businesses in Seattle may apply for more than $200,000 in grants available in Washington. More information and the application for Ready for Business Fund grants is available at theGSBA.org/ready-for-business.
According to a 2022 survey, almost all small businesses (97%) are concerned about inflation, and rising costs are the most significant threats small businesses currently face. Boosting revenue from online sales has now become the No.1 priority for small businesses. To offer some relief and help small businesses continue to grow and adapt, the Ready for Business Fund will provide $2,500 cash grants to more than 80 small businesses throughout Washington. Emphasis will be placed on small business owners at greater risk, including people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“Runaway inflation and increased expenses are hitting our small businesses hard in Washington,” said Ilona Lohrey, GSBA Deputy Director. “Providing a cash grant with wrap-around services to promote visibility and support is critical as more small businesses use more digital technology to drive online revenue. $2,500 may not seem like much, but for these small business owners, a microgrant may be what is needed to invest in a website, help build online sales tools, launch a social media effort, or purchase new technology.”
“Small businesses play a critical role in our local economies. They provide jobs and serve our communities throughout Washington. They need our continued support to meet new economic challenges, and we want to help them,” said Diem Ly, Community Impact Director, Comcast Washington. “That is why we believe the Ready for Business Fund is so important. Small businesses across the state need the relief.”
The Ready for Business Fund was founded in the summer of 2020 with a $100,000 investment from Comcast and GSBA as the fund manager. Over the past two years, the fund has distributed $2,500 cash grants to more than 130 small businesses in Washington. The Ready for Business Fund was renewed this year with $75,000 in funding from Comcast and GSBA, reprising its role as the program and fund manager. Grants from the Ready for Business Fund will be made possible by more than $150,000 in additional donations from Pepsi, T-Mobile, US Bank, Meta, and Verity Credit Union and a $100,00 grant from King County.
Established in 1981, GSBA is Washington State’s LGBTQ+ and allied chamber of commerce and is the largest of its kind in North America. The chamber represents over 1,400 small business, corporate, and nonprofit members who share the values of promoting diversity, equity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace. GSBA proudly serves as a connector across the region, bringing communities together through business while advocating for civil rights and small business. GSBA also promotes LGBTQ+ tourism through Travel Out Seattle, advocates for small businesses in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood through the Capitol Hill Business Alliance (CHBA) and invests in the next generation of LGBTQ+ and allied leaders through the GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund.