For the Soundside’s existing companies and growing ranks of entrepreneurs, there are a variety of business resources available that provide networking opportunities, in-depth information and advice, training and research.
In today’s competitive marketplace, businesses need a highly trained and flexible workforce. Highline College offers an extensive array of academic, career-related and personal development programs for individuals and companies of the Soundside. Highline College’s Community Education and Training Services (CETS) Department offers job skills programs and customized training programs to workers interested in opportunities for professional growth. With a variety of course offerings and certificate programs, Highline provides companies and their employees with first-rate training programs resulting in broad new skill sets. The CETS also has qualified staff to engage with those companies and organizations interested in relocating to the Soundside and accessing important employee programs. For more information: www.highline.edu.
Small Business Development Center
The Soundside is a place of deep potential for small and growing companies. With a mission to strengthen the local business community and stimulate regional economic growth, the Southwest King County Small Business Development Center at Highline College (SBDC) supports local business owners in their efforts to build profitable businesses. The SBDC Business Development Specialists provide small and medium-sized businesses with professional, no-fee, confidential, one-to-one counseling. The SBDC also offers research services, training classes and seminars to help companies in the Soundside thrive and grow. In 2011, even in the depths of the recession, the SBDC worked with 82 businesses from the Soundside communities on investments of over $294,000 and also helped to create 17 new jobs and saved 5 additional jobs.
If you are a start-up entrepreneur who lives or works in the communities of Southwest King County, StartZone can help you start and/or grow your business. StartZone services are provided at no cost to its members and include:
• Referral Services
• Business Consulting
• Loan Packaging
• Peer Support
Whether your business is already established, just starting out, or still a dream, StartZone can make all the difference. For more information on how to become a StartZone member, please visit the StartZone website at: http://startzone.highline.edu.
Washington CASH was founded in 1995 to transform people’s lives and communities by creating a pathway out of poverty using small loans and business training to build individuals’ businesses, credit, knowledge and confidence. Since the program began, Washington CASH has helped develop over 1,600 businesses in the Puget Sound area, and in 2011, clients reported over $5,000,000 in gross annual sales. Washington CASH builds “social collateral” among its members through networking events, trainings and peer groups, and thus currently maintains a 96% loan repayment rate. In addition, 89 individuals have built assets through Washington CASH’s Individual Development Account (IDA) program. For more information, visit www.washingtoncash.org.
The Prosperity Agenda (formerly the Burst for Prosperity)
The Prosperity Agenda seeks to help low-income families thrive economically by researching innovative solutions, then demonstrating successful ways to deliver career advancement, self-employment, and financial planning opportunities. The Prosperity Agenda serves as an intermediary connecting the community and its resources to generate prosperity for low-income residents in Burien, Renton, SeaTac, Skyway, and Tukwila. The Burst community has identified three strategies to reduce poverty for low-income residents that will design, lead and implement lasting community change, including building community capacity, removing barriers to creating wealth, and overcoming generational poverty through education. For more information, visit www.thepropsperityagenda.org.
Community Capital Development
Community Capital Development (CCD) is a non-profit community development organization and a certified community development financial institution that provides access to capital and business assistance to low-income, women and minority entrepreneurs, and small businesses in distressed and underserved communities in Washington State. CCD’s approach to alleviating poverty is through self-sufficiency achieved through entrepreneurialism. To find a CCD office, visit www.seattleccd.com.