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City Invests $8 Million in Economic Recovery Funding to Connect Small Businesses to Operating Capital

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New partnership with Community Development Financial Institutions will allow small businesses to borrow up to $150,000 in operating capital to support economic stabilization and long-term recovery

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and the Seattle Office of Economic Development (OED) announced the launch of the Capital Access Program — a new partnership with local community development financial institutions (CDFI) that will connect small businesses to flexible working capital loans. OED is investing $3 million in Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CLFR) and $5 million in funding from the Equitable Communities Taskforce (ECI) to finance the Capital Access Program.

The new Capital Access Program will leverage city funding to lower the cost of Washington State Small Business Flex Fund loans for eligible small businesses by paying down 25% of the loan principal. Small businesses can borrow up to $150,000 with 4% interest to use on business expenses such as payroll, utilities and rent, supplies, marketing and advertising, building improvements or repairs, and other business expenses.

To apply for flexible working capital loans through the City’s Capital Access Program, eligible small businesses must first submit a Flex Fund application online at Applications open on March 8, 2022, and must be submitted by April 8, 2022, at 5 p.m.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the Small Business Capital Access Program, small businesses must:

  • Be a for-profit small business located within the Seattle city limits.
  • Have experienced direct economic disruption due to COVID-19.
  • Meet at least two of the following three factors:
    • No more than $5 million in annual revenue in 2019 or 2020.
    • No more than 50 full-time equivalent employees.
    • No more than two locations.

Required Documentation and Application Process

Applicants will need to provide the following documentation during the application process:

  • Most recent tax returns.
  • Bank statements and financial statements.
  • Information regarding all business owner(s) with more than 20% ownership interest.
  • Brief description of COVID-19 impacts on the business.
  • Evidence of legal formation of business entity (for example, articles of incorporation and bylaws).
  • Other documentation required by the lender at or after the time of the application.

Community Development Financial Institutions will review Flex Fund loan applications and directly notify small businesses of their application status as they are received. The community lenders will determine if small businesses qualify for a loan and the amount of the loan based on financing need and ability to repay the loan. The City’s funding support will be determined according to 25% of each businesses approved loan amount.

Eligible businesses that submit a Flex Fund loan application will also be eligible for additional resources provided through the Capital Access Program including financial counseling, technical assistance and connection to other community-based resources.   

Virtual information sessions

To assist businesses in successfully applying for the flexible capital loans, OED and Business Impact NW will host virtual information sessions to explain financing details, eligibility, how to apply, resources to assist with the process and answer individual questions. Information and application assistance will be available in multiple languages, including Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese. Businesses who need bilingual interpretation support for virtual sessions should register two weeks in advance.

Information sessions will be held:

  • March 3, 2:30-3:30 p.m. This virtual session is available in English and Spanish. To register, please visit this registration link.
  • March 17, 2:30-3:30 p.m. To register, please visit this registration link.
  • March 28, 2:30-3:30 p.m. To register, please visit this registration link.


For questions and application support, small businesses can contact Business Impact NW at (206) 339-6588.

Businesses can request support from OED such as language access services, disability accommodations, materials in alternate formats and accessibility information by calling (206) 684-8090 or emailing

Transparent image of business owner standing and using laptop and cellphone in pottery studio with ceramics and plants in background. OED logo on top right corner. Text says: Capital Access Program.