Jackie Bayne, Office of Equal Opportunity, 360-705-7084
OLYMPIA – A unique partnership between the Washington State Department of Transportation, Sound Transit and Washington state-based credit unions will help underserved businesses participating in WSDOT’s Capacity Building Mentorship program with alternative financing options.
The mentorship program has been operating successfully since July 2018; however, access to capital continues to be a primary barrier to small businesses and those owned by minorities, veterans and women. Verity Credit Union, BECU and Harborstone Credit Union are making a total of $750,000 in loans available in support of Washington’s diverse business community. Business Impact NW will administer the loans to firms participating in the mentorship program.
“Washington state continues to lead the nation in support of its underserved entrepreneurs,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “Ensuring these small businesses have contracting opportunities gives Washington government access to a wider array of business solutions and helps drive innovation. State partnerships with programs such as the Capacity Building Mentorship program supports these initiatives and strengthens our economy.”
“For many small, start-up businesses, getting financing for things such as equipment and other business needs can be a big hurdle, especially for new diverse firms,” said Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar. “We’re pleased that our local credit unions are stepping up to help these protégé businesses as they work to grow their capacity and experience.”
The Capacity Building Mentorship program pairs small, minority-, veteran- and women-owned businesses with successful prime contractors and consultants. These mentors provide technical assistance and business advice to strengthen the protégés’ capacity to work with WSDOT and Sound Transit. The mentorship program is part of WSDOT’s State Funded Contracts – Diversity Roadmap and one of the highlighted efforts of the Governor’s subcabinet on Business Diversity.