Seattle Working to Expand Green Business Program

Seattle’s Green Business Program has teamed up with King County, the City of Bellevue, the City of Kirkland, Puget Sound Energy and others to better coordinate existing green business programs to deliver simplified, technology-friendly, cost-effective access to “green” services for businesses.

The regional program is based on the California Green Business Network (CAGBN), and aims to be a one-stop-shop of online resource of best practices and a customized service referral system for businesses.

Businesses will access a web portal, input basic information about their business, and receive a tailored menu of green actions. Services such as technical assistance, rebates, and recognition will be available from participating government and private/non-profit partners, and through a public-facing directory on the website.

“A regional collaboration to support business access to environmental services will be a great win,” said Matt Galvin, CEO and Co-owner Pagliacci Pizza. “It is often confusing and challenging to navigate what is available for our locations throughout the Puget Sound region.”

Key features will also include coordinated business outreach and public relations under a common brand. The program will make it easier for businesses and building owners to engage with existing city, county, and utility programs to implement green practices and receive technical support. The partnership will also help consumers connect with participating green businesses.

As part of Seattle’s overall commitment to sustainability, the Green Business Program has been helping local businesses install hundreds of sink aerators and efficient toilets, provided hundreds of spill kits and free waste audits and assisted with energy efficient improvements. These utility savings reduce businesses costs and gain a competitive edge, while contributing to a clean and healthy community.

To keep updated on the progress of this effort, visit Seattle’s Green Business Program.

Resources for Businesses, Business District Org Structures, and more — Only in Seattle Peer Network Gatherings

On May 28, 2015, the Office of Economic Development (OED) hosted the second Business Retention and Expansion Partnership Peer Network Gathering. The first gathering in February focused on access to capital, and each of OED’s financing partners described how they are able to meet the various needs of business owners. While most of us agree that access to capital is one of, if not, the most important aspect to launching and growing a small business, technical assistance, resources, and support increase a business’ chances of long-term success. The good news is that OED’s experts are available to provide that technical assistance directly to businesses. Three experts from OED presented at the March Peer Network Gathering and shared how they are able to help.

IMG_0709Stephanie Gowing, Green Business Advocate, shared conservation services to help your business reduce utility bills, meet regulatory obligations, and lower operating costs. Also, Get on the Map is a unique opportunity for businesses to go green and receive free positive media attention at the same time. Coming soon is the Regional Green Business Program, a partnership with regional agencies to centralize resources, coordinate outreach and marketing, increase utilization for existing programs, and reward business’ environmental accomplishments. For more information, please contact Stephanie Gowing at stephanie.gowing@seattle.gov or 206-684-3698.

James Kelly, Small Business Advocate, discussed the perils of construction for a small business. James’ responsibility is to establish a direct line of communication with business and property owners impacted by construction, provide businesses with connections to training and capacity building, and manage marketing and promotional campaigns for business districts impacted by construction. Given Seattle’s construction boom right now, James is in demand and always willing to help. As an example, James finds unique ways to partner with developers and private parking lots for additional parking for construction workers during times when construction reduces the amount of parking for local businesses. For inquires related to construction impacts to businesses, please contact James Kelly at james.kelly2@seattle.gov or 206-684-8612.

Jennifer Tam, Restaurant Advocate, is the City’s main point of contact if you have any questions regarding your food business. Jennifer is here to help whether you are a restaurant, food cart, commercial kitchen, home-based food business, or anything in between. The Restaurant Success online portal is a good place to start if you have questions about starting or growing your food business. Jennifer can help with permitting, site-selection assistance, navigating the regulatory landscape, and more. Feel free to contact Jennifer for any questions you have at jennifer.tam@seattle.gov or 206-684-3436.

Through the Business Retention and Expansion partnership with local chambers of commerce, businesses can access support from these experts to help start, grow, or green their businesses. Check out the full presentation below.

 

Business District Organization Structures and Small Business Support

On April 30, business district leaders met over lunch at Big Chickie in Hillman City to talk shop. On the agenda was a topic that some business districts struggle with: What organizational structure is most successful and sustainable? While there is no right and easy answer for that, leaders stepped up to share successes and challenges of their own organizational structures, and how daily operations function. Rob Mohn of the Columbia City Business Association (CCBA) shared an overview of CCBA’s all-volunteer model and the evolution of the version that exists today. CCBA’s organizational structure relies heavily on volunteer hours from folks on four main committees: Goodwill, Marketing, Membership, and Business Development, and the public safety and cleanliness work is supported by the Business Improvement Area (BIA). A few keys to success from CCBA are: defining a reasonable geography, focusing on business district concerns and not overall neighborhood issues, and cultivating partnerships. Georgetown and Beacon Hill are similar in that they have paid staff, a 501(c)(3) designation, and rely on grants, sponsorship, and membership revenue to support events and existing programs. Challenges with both models seem to be sustainability and the amount of donated time by volunteers and board members in order to produce effective results. Continue reading the meeting notes for more information.

While a siesta was in order after the “pollo a la brasa,” folks were energized to talk about small business retention amidst all the growth and development pressures in Seattle. What can the City do to support small businesses better? What tools can OED offer and are there innovative tools that the City can adopt to support small businesses? While the concern was real, there were also potential solutions that were presented: Better access to technical assistance providers to support small business retention, and a handbook or resource guide to learn about what the City can do to help and how communities can access these resources were two ideas thrown out there. With that in mind, check out the following:

Some existing resources for communities to access:

  • Engage with the Design Review Board; DRB can convey community priorities to developers
  • Be an organized and proactive community, engage in local Land Use Review Committees
  • Explore Historic Districts and Landmark Preservation models
  • Find out if you are eligible for financing through Section 108 or New Markets Tax Credits
  • Access business technical assistance resources through the Business Retention and Expansion Partnership

Here are areas where the City can provide more assistance:

  • A guidebook for Department of Planning and Development to focus on the policy and review process
  • Engage in round table discussions with businesses and neighborhood planning
  • Retain affordable commercial space
  • Coordinate permitting processes to mitigate construction impacts on small businesses

Check out the meeting notes for more information. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to OED and we will be happy to help.

Seattle Businesses: Join the Mayor’s Youth Employment Initiative

Mayor Murray is calling on Seattle employers to participate in the Mayor’s Youth Employment Initiative, which aims to improve connections between Seattle’s youth and employers, and increase employment opportunities for Seattle youth.SYEP Partner Button

You can become a Proud Employer Partner in one of two ways:

  1. Hire a youth intern at $11.00/hr to work part-time for 7-weeks in the Seattle Youth Employment Program, or
  2. Make a contribution of $2,600 to support a youth internship slot.

 Make your pledge today!

 

Seattle Youth Employment Program – Summer Internships

  • 7-week internship for youth ages, 16 to 24
  • Internships start on July 1 and end on August 19
  • Internship hours are up to 25 hours per week; for a total of 175 hours
  • All interns participate in job training preparation prior to internship and are supported by a youth staff member throughout the internship.

 

What can employers expect from the program?

  • A youth intern recruited and prepared by youth staff members for success in the workplace.
  • A single point of contact with a youth staff member who will work with the employer and the intern during the 7 week internship.
  • A match with a youth intern who best fits the skills requirements outlined by the employer.
  • Support for the young person on meeting employer expectations.
  • Support for the employer supervisor on how to best support the youth on the job.
  • Guidance and help with questions about hosting a youth intern.

 

Employers agree to:

  • Provide a structured work environment with clear tasks.
  • Provide supervision for a young person for 25 hours per week for 7 weeks this summer.
  • Participate in an employer supervisor orientation – in person or online.
  • Complete a background check.
  • Obtain a youth work permit for interns ages 16 and 17; (a 10-minute online application; permit is free).
  • Communicate with youth staff member weekly regarding intern’s engagement.

 Make your pledge today!

 

Questions? Contact Nancy Yamamoto in the Office of Economic Development:

nancy.yamamoto@seattle.gov or 206-684-8189

2015 Mayor’s Film Award Recipient Announced: Megan Griffiths

HEADSHOT2015_hayleyyoung_CROPPEDMayor Ed Murray has announced the 2015 recipient of the 10th Annual Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film, Megan Griffiths. The award recognizes an individual or entity for exceptional work that has significantly contributed to the growth, advancement, and reputation of Seattle as a filmmaking city.

“Megan’s passion for filming locally and attracting new business and talent has raised the profile of Seattle and the region’s film community,” said Murray. “Her award-winning career in directing and producing speaks for itself. I am pleased to present this award to her, and thank her for her championship of Seattle as a thriving place to make movies.”

Megan Griffiths has been a director, writer, and producer in the Seattle film community for over a decade. Her most recent film Lucky Them was filmed in Seattle and premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Her previous film, Eden, was set in the southwest but filmed entirely in Washington, and premiered at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival in Austin where it won the narrative Audience Award and the Emergent Female Director Award.

“I am honored to receive the Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film,” said Griffiths. “I feel very privileged to live in a city where the Mayor and the community celebrate the film industry. Seattle is home to many great craftsmen and women who also happen to be outstanding humans and phenomenal collaborators, and I am proud to be able to call this ‘crewtopia’ my home and base of operations.”

The five Seattle film industry representatives on the Nomination and Selection Committee considered many deserving people before reaching a unanimous decision on the 2015 recipient Megan Griffiths. Griffiths will receive Silvered Piccolo Venetian with Emerald Handles created by artist Dale Chihuly. Griffiths received the award at Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)’s Opening Night Gala on Tuesday, May 14, 2015 at the Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall.

Only in Seattle Newsletter – April 2015

The Only in Seattle newsletter is designed to share resources and information with leaders in Seattle’s neighborhood business districts.

In this edition:

  • Only in Seattle Peer Network;
  • $15 Minimum Wage;
  • Parklet Handbook;
  • Neighborhood Matching Fund;
  • Calendar of Neighborhood Events;
  • and more!

 

View this newsletter in your browser

 

Minimum Wage and Labor Standards

As Seattle’s new minimum wage ordinance takes effect, the Office of Economic Development would like to provide a set of resources for employers and workers to learn about the protections that the City of Seattle provides to workers in Seattle.

Office of Labor Standards

The City of Seattle created the Office of Labor Standards (OLS) within the Office for Civil Rights to increase equity and establish a fair and healthy economy for workers, businesses and residents. OLS enforces Seattle’s labor standards ordinances to protect workers and educate employers on their responsibilities. The OLS site provides resources for employers and workers to submit question or violations. [Read more…]

Special Events in Neighborhood Business Districts: Only in Seattle’s Peer Network Gathering

This month, the Only in Seattle Peer Network gathering dove deep into the world of special events in Seattle and neighborhood business districts. The Special Events Committee, chaired by Chris Swenson, walked through the current process for permitting a special event, talked about the benefits of special events in Seattle, and touched a bit on upcoming policy reform. Also, representatives from three neighborhood business districts presented brief case studies on the positive impacts of specific events in their neighborhood.

Special Events in Seattle

IMG_0458Kicking things off, Chris Swenson shared that in 2014 there were nearly 400 permitted special events compared to 20 in 1991 (that’s when the special events ordinance was adopted into what it is today). The City recognizes that special events build a sense of pride and place, support our creative culture, strengthen community engagement, and produce a positive economic impact for our city.  In other words, that level of growth over the last 24 years is a good thing. The different types of special events include: free public and community events (e.g. Lunar New Year), free speech events (e.g. MLK March), public commercial events (e.g. Red Bull Soapbox Derby), ticketed sporting and cultural events (e.g. Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon), and promotional events. Chris also shared key information on when one needs a special events permit and teed up presentations from the following representatives of the Special Events Committee:

  • Kyle Griggs, Seattle Parks Department
  • Kate Leitch, Seattle Department of Transportation
  • Tom Heun, Seattle Fire Department
  • Henry Doan and Angelo Marfa, King County Public Health
  • Susan Blaker, Washington State Liquor Control Board
  • Karen Ko, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

Chris wrapped things up with a word about the special events reform process that is currently underway. The 1991 ordinance did a good job at attracting special events, and now needs a closer look at a cost recovery system, appropriate fee levels, process improvements and the City’s vision for special events. Neighborhood business districts were pleased to hear this information early on in the process, and Chris shared that the timeline for reaching out to organizations will be summer 2015, with potential reform ordained in early 2016.

Check out the full PowerPoint presentation below and contact information for representatives from the Special Events Committee.   [Read more…]

OED’s Financing Partners: Only in Seattle’s Peer Network Gathering Recap

IMG_0357The February 27, 2015 Peer Network Gathering began with a simple question: How important is access to capital for small businesses? As neighborhood business district leaders and small business owners introduced themselves, the response was clear that access to capital is one of, if not the, most important resources for small businesses to start and grow.

The City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development’s (OED) convened neighborhood business district organizations and OED’s financing partners to share resources and build relationships. OED’s financing partners that attended were:

Business District leaders representing 15 different neighborhoods were in attendance to discuss the unique benefits of each resource and how best to communicate or refer businesses to these resources. Lance Randall, Business Retention and Expansion Manager at OED, described the intent of the Grow Seattle partnership between the City and business organizations – to position the local organizations as “go to” experts for business technical assistance in the neighborhood. For more information on this program, please contact Lance Randall at lance.randall@seattle.gov and 206.733.9743.     [Read more…]