Renton– in partnership with the Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond and Issaquah– today launched (re)STARTUP425, a collaborative effort to connect Eastside small business owners, nonprofit leaders and sole proprietors with available business support resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through its website, (re)STARTUP425 will provide one-on-one technical consultations on business financial assistance programs, a calendar of relevant webinars and other resources and a restaurant map that identifies Eastside restaurants and cafés open for carry out.
The cities have contracted with Business Impact NW to staff (re)STARTUP425’s Business Response Team. This team will provide free, one-on-one, technical consultations to:
- Help businesses understand resources available to them
- Prepare businesses to qualify for and access eligible grants and loans, and;
- Help businesses complete grant and loan applications
Business assistance programs can be confusing and difficult to navigate, particularly for those businesses without an existing relationship with a commercial bank or similar financial services. The Business Response Team aims to fill that need by advising business owners to help them understand and apply for city, state, federal and private economic relief programs related to COVID-19. Recognizing that business owners may experience language barriers in the existing processes, the Business Response Team is available to assist in multiple languages through a phone interpretation service. The services provided by the Business Response Team will be free to Eastside businesses.
Businesses owners who are not certain what relief programs they are eligible for, where they need to apply, and what documentation they may need for each program are able to submit their questions online to be answered by dedicated Business Response Team members. Once business owners understand what programs will best support their survival and recovery, a Business Response Team member can assist in gathering required documents, filling out applications, and submitting forms.
The Business Response Team program is geared toward small businesses and nonprofits of all industries and verticals, including arts and cultural nonprofits, microbusinesses (like hairdressers, nail salons and home cleaning services), and contractors within the five cities.
The (re)STARTUP425 effort refocuses the cities’ Startup425 partnership – which began in 2016 and supports small businesses and entrepreneurs – on helping small businesses and nonprofits navigate the dynamic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The (re)STARTUP425 program is accessible at re.startup425.org.