An online directory launched this week that features BIPOC-, women-, and veteran-owned small businesses started by graduates of the Pierce County Business Accelerator program.
The directory, featuring 200 businesses, is searchable by business location and category, and it includes an interactive map. The map shows businesses that have physical locations, not in-home businesses.
The directory features myriad companies, including restaurants, caterers, retail stores, salons, and spas.
The business accelerator is a program of Pierce County Economic Development, administered by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce. The accelerator serves entrepreneurs and business owners throughout the county to help foster innovation and create wealth-building opportunities, with a focus on BIPOC, women, and veterans, according to a news release. Of the 200 businesses, 93 percent are minority-owned, 70 percent are women-owned, and 14 percent are veteran-owned.
The Pierce County Economic Development Department leveraged $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act money to establish the accelerator program in October 2021. The City of Lakewood is a municipal partner.
Business accelerator participants receive six weeks of traditional business training by instructors, trainers, and coaches who reflect BIPOC communities and offer instruction in multiple languages. Business owners can access grants to match capital raised for their business (up to $10,000), assist with costs related to commercial rent or lease payments (up to $6,000), and professional services (up to $5,000), the release said. The program helps create jobs for early-stage businesses and retain jobs for small businesses, it added.
The business accelerator — which is currently at capacity and not accepting applications but has a waiting list for interested people to be contacted if funds become available for new applicants — is managed in partnership with Next Consulting, Asia Pacific Cultural Center, The Black Collective, Mi Centro, Tacoma Urban League and Korean Women’s Association.
To learn more about the business accelerator, visit its website.