Innovative Incubator to Help Grow Manufacturing Businesses
Mayor Ed Murray has announced a $100,000 Request for Proposals (RFP) for a partner to help develop a manufacturing incubator that will benefit multiple emerging or expanding manufacturing businesses.
“Seattle is known for innovation and we see creativity happening in every sector of our economy,” said Murray. “This incubator will help local manufacturers find new ways of doing business, foster new ideas, and develop new partnerships.”
Seattle’s manufacturing sector is a vital contributor to the city’s economy and in itself, represents a wide range of sub sectors, including maritime, industrial machinery and fabricated metal, aerospace, printing and publishing, stone, clay, glass and concrete products, home and office furnishings, food and beverage production, construction, and transportation and wholesale distribution.
Unlike other sectors, manufacturing businesses have more complex, and often more expensive space, infrastructure and equipment needs, making it difficult for small businesses in this sector to take root. These funds will help emerging and expanding manufacturing businesses overcome these cost barriers, establish themselves, and contribute to job growth.
“A manufacturing incubator will build essential connections between emerging entrepreneurs and support new collaboration in the manufacturing sector,” said Mark Morel, vice president/co-owner of Morel Industries, a Seattle-based foundry. “When our partners, suppliers, and customers are stronger, we are stronger.”
Additionally the incubator space can be critical for cultivating a collaborative environment for entrepreneurial development. A key outcome of this RFP is the creation of an incubator that consists of co-located, intentionally selected tenants with the goal of encouraging the manufacturing of complimentary goods, networking, sharing of information, and mentoring.
The objectives of this partnership are to:
- identify, catalyze, or provide incentives for incubator projects that will benefit manufacturing businesses;
- utilize shared equipment to reduce costs and create affordable space for new and existing small manufacturers, allowing them to grow and collaborate;
- retain and create new employment in the manufacturing sector; and
- expand the number and diversity of successful businesses in Seattle’s manufacturing sector.
This manufacturing incubator is funded by fees generated by the City’s New Markets Tax Credits (“NMTCs”) program, a federal tax credit financing tool. NMTCs attract private investment to important development and business projects benefitting low-income neighborhoods.
The City’s Office of Economic Development created the Seattle Investment Fund LLC (SIF) in 2008 to participate in the NMTCs program with the goal of attracting financing for catalytic business and real estate projects in Seattle’s under invested communities. The SIF earns program fees through the NMTCs program. A portion of these fees is set aside to invest in small businesses in Seattle.
Examples of commercial and business projects using these tax credits are: Stadium Place, Retail Lockbox, Bullitt Center, INSCAPE building, and the Pike Place Market renovation. Fees on these investment projects have allowed the City and SIF to support small business growth, including: façade improvements for businesses in the Chinatown/International District, the Central Area, Columbia City, and Othello Business District, and also additional small business lending activity through the Office of Economic Development and the National Development Council’s Grow Seattle Fund.
“Investing in emerging local businesses that create products right here in Seattle is smart business for the City,” said Seattle City Councilmember John Okamoto, Investment Committee member of the Seattle Investment Fund LLC. “Our local manufacturers range from food and beverage makers to metal fabricators, and it’s great that the City and the Seattle Investment Fund LLC are using the fees from our New Markets Tax Credits in an innovative way to support them.”
Information Sessions and Application Deadline:
The Office of Economic Development will provide two information sessions to assist potential applicants in preparing their submissions. This will provide the opportunity for applicants to ask any questions regarding project criteria and the RFP process. Sessions will be July 22, 2015 and August 19, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development’s office at 700 Fifth Avenue, Ste 5752.
Deadline for submission of proposals is no later than 5:00 p.m. on September 4, 2015.
A total of $100,000 of funds is available to recipients that meet the qualifications of this RFP.
For more information about this RFP, please contact AJ Cari, Business Finance Specialist at the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development, (206) 684-0133, or firstname.lastname@example.org.