Four local businesses launched loan campaigns aimed to help them grow this week as part of a new partnership between local finance company Community Sourced Capital (CSC) and the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development (OED).
Businesses use the CSC lending platform to borrow 0% interest money directly from people in their community.
“Businesses borrowing from their community have high repayment rates. They want to pay back people they know. It’s relationship lending, not anonymous lending, and it changes the way people think about their money in their community,” says Rachel Maxwell, CEO of Community Sourced Capital.
OED’s Only in Seattle Initiative works with businesses, property owners and other community leaders to organize around a common vision for a business district and attract investment.
This partnership to help local businesses launch funding campaigns in Seattle’s neighborhood business districts aligns perfectly with Only in Seattle. CSC, with the input of OED and Only in Seattle partners, selects businesses that fit with neighborhood business district goals.
In this first cohort in the CSC-OED partnership is former Capitol Hill establishment B&O Espresso, which closed in 2012, and is looking to reopen in the Belltown neighborhood.
Lottie’s Lounge, Columbia City’s neighborhood bar, is planning to open a new sister establishment, Jude’s, in “old town” Rainier Beach.
The owner of Plum Bistro and its sister ventures on Capitol Hill wants to open the first v
egan sweet shop in Capitol Hill, to be named Sugarplum.
Local Black Eye Pea Hummus producer That Brown Girl Cooks is raising money to revamp their kitchen in the Central District and expand product distribution.
Some of these businesses may stand to further benefit from matching loan funds from local nonprofit lender Craft3, who partners with CSC on deploying capital to businesses which meet certain criteria.
“It’s a vote of confidence in Seattle’s neighborhood-minded sensibilities that the City is promoting community lending models in this way” says Maxwell. “It’s a totally new concept that everyone can participate in. We live in an amazing city filled with people who are excited about new ideas and models of commerce. And it’s about time that our dedication to progress and innovation made its way to finance.”
OED is pleased to cover the set up costs for each funding campaign in this pilot program, and plans to assess the success of the pilot and determine if an ongoing program would be beneficial as part of its ongoing support of local businesses and neighborhood business districts.
“Our office partners with neighborhood business district organizations year-round to support local businesses,” said Steve Johnson, Director of the Seattle Office of Economic Development. “We’re pleased to work with Community Sourced Capital in helping local businesses to grow, which adds to the unique and vibrant nature of our neighborhood business districts.”
The ongoing Only in Seattle Initiative elements include yearly investments in neighborhood business districts, peer network events, and other resources to help neighborhood business districts and their businesses thrive.
Find out more about these four business campaigns at the OED Community Sourced Capital website.