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Shaping the Future of Seattle Economy: Investing in our City’s Future

Executive Summary

In 2022, the Seattle Office of Economic Development (OED) facilitated a robust stakeholder engagement process to develop a community-driven investment agenda –the Future of Seattle Economy (FSE). Over 80 organizations and government offices helped create the FSE investment agenda, to promote inclusive economic growth especially for communities systemically excluded from such opportunities.  

The FSE report identifies investments needed to make Seattle a desirable place to live, work, and visit. It presents a detailed strategy that identifies investments needed to address the impacts of COVID19 in the near term and those needed to create an economically diverse, just, and resilient city over the long term. These investment recommendations will guide the City of Seattle in directing a portion of payroll expense tax revenue, also known as Jump Start funds, allocated for economic revitalization. Further, this will serve as a guiding document for OED, the City, and aligned partners who will make further investments in pursuit of the vision developed by community stakeholders. 

FSE identified five strategic pillars that represent the highest priorities, and correspond directly to active workgroups: 

  1. Investing in Talent and Building our Workforce, including diversifying talent pipelines and creating internships and apprenticeships for early career workers.  
  1. Supporting Small Business and Women- and Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (SBE and WMBE, respectively), by increasing access to early-stage capital, creating contracting opportunities with large employers, providing training and support, and improving neighborhood facilities where small businesses operate.  
  1. Building BIPOC Community Wealth, including enabling BIPOC business owners to purchase leased property. 
  1. Investing in Neighborhood Business Districts, including investing in Downtown revitalization and neighborhood commercial corridors. 
  1. Growing Businesses and Key Industries, including identifying business locations and building innovative industry clusters. 

As the lead department for carrying out the City’s economic development agenda, OED will lead in implementing this strong vision for inclusive economic growth and structure itself to fill three distinct economic development roles: convener, strategic investor, and visionary. OED is working in partnership and coordination with other departments within the City and with community stakeholders and investors outside of the City Government to implement the proposed investments. OED presented the FSE to the Economic Development, Technology & City Light Committee on July 26, video here.

The Future of Seattle Economy is an opportunity for the City to organize itself, strengthen partnerships with community organizations and industry, and proactively work together to address the systemic barriers that have inhibited economic prosperity for all communities and neighborhoods.