What would Seattle’s economy look like if we put people and place at the center?
For the last nine months, Ventures Executive Director Beto Yarce, has been working with local leaders to answer this question as part of the Local Leaders Lab. On June 5th, the Local Leaders Lab presented their values-based framework to local economy advocates, advisors, civic leaders, and candidates at the People’s Economy Project event at the . These community leaders discussed how to use the framework to overcome inequalities in Seattle’s current economy and create a more equitable, democratic, diverse, and resilient economy.
Seattle’s economic prosperity is not shared by all of the city’s residents. Some of our neighborhoods are experiencing the benefits of the current economic boom while others are being destabilized and displaced by this growth. Wages are not keeping up with the rising cost of living. Income and wealth disparity are at record highs. Those at the most vulnerable end of the economic spectrum are disproportionately people of color, immigrants, and other marginalized communities.
To address these challenges, the Local Leaders Lab drafted ten initiatives to create a local economy that works for everyone. The initiatives are:
- Build Minority Business Accelerators
- Directly Fund Local Business
- Create a Community Development Authority
- Use Anchor Power
- Support Community Benefits Commissions
- Harness the Silver Tsunami of Local Businesses
- Establish a Community Loan Fund
- Create a Good Business Certification
- Support Direct Investment in Real Estate Projects
- Expand the Commercial Tenant Ownership Model
The Good News
Ventures is already working on initiative 1 and the enthusiasm generated by the Leaders Lab will help us generate support for our work. The Leaders Lab would like to work toward initiative 1 by tripling the number of minority-owned businesses in the Seattle area. Ventures is furthering this goal by offering access to culturally appropriate training, market development, capital, mentoring, and support.
The Local Economy Leaders Lab represents a diverse group of influences in the economic development sector. Members include:
Shevanthi Daniel-Rabkin and Tim Palmer, ; Sam Farrazaino, ; Christine Hanna and Erin Nelson, ; Jill Mangaliman and Mo! Avery, ; Rachel Maxwell, ; Kristin Pula and Sarah Valenta, ; Ryan Quigtar, ; Patrice Thomas, ; Debbie Wege, ; Beto Yarce,