$1.2 million grant to elevate, invest in underserved small businesses

$1.2 million grant to elevate, invest in underserved small businesses Main Photo

9 Feb 2023

Economic Development, RAIN, Small Business

The Economic Development Council for Island County (EDC/Island) has received a nearly $1.2 million grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce to fund a six-month comprehensive business incubator program. “Elevating & Investing in Underserved Small Businesses in Rural Island County + Skagit County” will be implemented in concert with the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC) and Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network (RAIN).

With this project, EDC/Island, EDASC, and RAIN will help build a regional rural entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports small business recovery through an eight-month program connecting rural, BIPOC, women, and low-income entrepreneurs to tools and capital needed to boost the regional economy. 

“EDASC is delighted to collaborate on this grant led by our friends in Island County,” noted CEO John Sternlicht. “Our many commonalities and our parallel work with RAIN to support local entrepreneurs made it a natural fit.”

The project includes hosting entrepreneurial bootcamps, creating a mentor network, and providing software and laptops to select small businesses. Part of the grant will establish the $500,000 Boost Your Business Fund to provide grant funding to small businesses run by low-income, underserved/BIPOC, and rural entrepreneurs. The grant will also establish the Amplify Small Business Fund with $210,000 going to chambers of commerce, downtown associations, and tourism organizations.

EDC/Island, EDASC, and RAIN are collaborating with 25+ entrepreneurial ecosystem partners throughout the two counties who will promote events to the businesses they serve, provide space, speak at accelerators/bootcamps, and more.

To find out more about the program, contact EDASC’s Jorge Estefan at jorge@skagit.org.