NCWEDD announces Priority Project Rankings for 2015

For immediate release: June 24, 2015

For more information, please contact: Craig Larsen, Port of Chelan County, Business Development Director at 509-663-5159 or craig@ccpd.com

North Central Washington Economic Development District announces priority project rankings

Wenatchee, WA. - The North Central Washington Economic Development District has announced its annual ranking of regional projects of economic significance. The rankings were approved by the NCWEDD on June 10, 2015 after receiving a recommendation from a regional NCWEDD Committee of individuals representing organizations, City and County officials from Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan Counties and the Colville Confederated Tribes who reviewed and evaluated the submitted applications.

Sixteen projects from throughout North Central Washington submitted Letters of Inquiry to the NCWEDD for the ranking process. After committee review, eight of the applicants were invited to submit a full proposal. After careful review of the proposals, the committee ranked the projects based on a number of established criteria, including measurable regional economic benefits, measurable community benefits, fully developed plan and strategy, alignment with NCWEDD goals and objectives, and local and regional support.

Committee Chair Craig Larsen, Business Development Director for the Port of Chelan County thanked the Committee for their hard work and noted that “while different, all were strong economic development projects making it hard to rank the top three”.

The project rankings for 2015 are as follows:
1.   Pateros Water System Project – City of Pateros
2.   Failing Water Reservoir – City of Brewster
3.   Washington State Department of Transportation headquarters relocation project – City of Wenatchee

NCWEDD resources including letters of support, fund sourcing, and project facilitation have been allocated by the membership. 

To date, the North Central Washington Economic Development District has secured $765,000 in grant and low-interest loan funding for a variety of projects in Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan Counties as well as the Colville Tribe through this process. 

The North Central Washington Economic Development District (NCWEDD) is the federally designated economic development district for the region covering Okanogan, Douglas, and Chelan counties and the Colville Confederate Tribes.

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Fund Local program connects local investors with local businesses

The Washington State Department of Commerce has partnered with Community Sourced Capital to connect local businesses with local investors. The result: businesses can raise up to $50,000 to grow and expand, add new products or services or invest in new equipment through microloans provided by members of their community.

Called Fund Local, the program allows residents to become “squareholders” in community businesses. Participating businesses do all their own marketing and make their pitches for the money, which is invested in $50 increments called ”squares.” When a business succeeds in raising enough money, they get a 0% loan on the money and have three years to pay the loan back.

Pretty exciting stuff, since small businesses can find it difficult to access capital through traditional bank loans. The brainchild of the Department of Commerce’s Business Retention & Expansion team and Community Sourced Capital, this program is the first of its kind in the nation and is part of the Startup 365 strategy to grow communities organically by supporting local businesses.

Want more information? Visit the Fund Local page on the Startup 365 Washington website or read the Department of Commerce’s press release. Questions, contact Maury Forman at maury.forman@commerce.wa.gov

What's Up at the Regional Airport?

A lot, actually. Pangborn Memorial Airport (EAT), located just outside of East Wenatchee, is entering year two of a three year, $30 million runway expansion project (90% paid by the FAA with fees collected from airline passengers) which should be completed by the fall of 2016. This project will allow safer, more reliable year round service from Alaska Airlines and corporate jets currently using Pangborn and allow additional air service to and from new destinations. 

2014 was a record year for the number of passengers flying through Pangborn, up 8.7% over 2013. The strong passenger usage has continued into 2015 and, in response, Alaska has added a 4th daily flight in our peak month of August. 2014 also saw increased rental car and parking activity showing Pangborn is being used by residents from throughout the region and visitors, whether for business or pleasure, from all over the world. Marketing efforts will expand in 2015 with the goal of enticing people in Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago and Sacramento to fly to our region. You can go to Pangborn Memorial Airport's YouTube channel to see the marketing videos and construction and other Pangborn videos of interest.

The internet is great at connecting people from all over the world, but nothing can replace shaking a person's hand as a deal is consummated or giving that special someone a hug as they get off the airplane. To stay abreast of developments at Pangborn, please go to flywenatchee.com and follow Pangborn Memorial Airport on Facebook. 

Submitted by Craig Larsen, Port of Chelan County

State Launches New Loan Assistance Program for Small Businesses

Olympia, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced a new revolving loan fund that will help increase access to credit through the Washington Small Business Credit Initiative. Small businesses are a key engine of growth in our state economy, accounting for more than 40 percent of all private-sector jobs and over $200 billion in gross revenue last year, yet they often struggle getting conventional loans to help them expand.

Using funds received from the U.S. Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), Washington’s new Collateral Support Program, a new self-sustaining loan program for the state, will support efforts by local banks to lend funds to small businesses.

SSBCI funds will reduce banks’ credit risks and help programs developed by the state to use U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to finance more businesses. Since 2011, the Washington State Small Business Credit Initiative programs have deployed over $14 million in SSBCI funds to lenders and small businesses throughout the state.

Finding ways to increase the flow of capital to credit-worthy enterprises is crucial to growing our state economy,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “I congratulate the Department of Commerce for its creativity and collaborative work with federal and private sector partners to launch this important new program.”

 “The U.S. Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative allows each state to design its own small business support programs in response to local economic conditions and capital needs,” said State Small Business Credit Initiative Director Cliff Kellogg. “These federal funds have helped support small businesses in Washington State, and now they will give way to a new state initiative to provide even more resources to small businesses.”

“Small businesses are crucial to economic growth on Main Streets across our country,” said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chairwoman of the Senate Small Business Committee. “This expansion of the Washington Small Business Credit Initiative will help more small business owners get access to the capital they need to expand and create jobs.  By helping Main Street secure financing, we can ensure that Washington state’s economy continues to grow.”

“We are excited to roll out the Collateral Support Program because it offers another financing resource to help the small businesses in our state that are so critical to our economic vitality and job growth,” said Brian Bonlender, Commerce Director. “This program is a self-sustaining solution, and will build upon the success of the existing State Small Business Credit Initiative finance programs to incentivize private lending which to date has been in excess of $54 million.”

The new Collateral Support Program will allow businesses to continue working with their current bank to access funding available through the SBA 504 loan program. SSBCI provides financing by providing cash collateral for small businesses that lack the necessary collateral to qualify for bridge loan. The new program will mitigate a lender’s risk during the interim period before an SBA-guaranteed loan is in place. For example, it may cover a construction loan while an SBA 504 loan provides permanent takeout financing.

“The Collateral Support Program offered through the Washington State Department of Commerce is exciting to SBA for a variety of reasons, including how it will make our job creation-focused 504 Loan Program even more accessible to our lending partners and the small business community,” said Mark Costello, SBA Seattle District Office supervisory lender relations specialist. “Additionally, this innovative, customer-focused tool gives SBA a unique opportunity to partner with this key state agency and the private sector lending community to further drive economic growth throughout the state of Washington.”

Most small businesses can qualify for the new Collateral Support Program, and most SBA 504 loan purposes qualify. Examples of qualifying business loans include: heavy equipment, acquisition of a place of business, and construction, or renovation of a place of business.

Commerce is working to quickly enroll and approve more banks, credit unions, savings associations, and other business lenders in the program. Benefits to lenders include minimal reporting requirements, expanded small business customer base and higher lending limits.

Lenders and businesses interested in learning more about the Washington Small Business Credit Initiative and the new Collateral Support Program, may contact Jane Swanson, Commerce Program Manager, 206-256-6155, or email WSBCI@commerce.wa.gov, or visit www.commerce.wa.gov.

New Options for Accessing Business Capital

The federal Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 directed $1.5 billion to state programs that improve access to capital for small businesses so they can grow and create new jobs.

Washington state received $19.7 million which it manages through four new Small Business Credit Initiative programs. Working with private partners, the state expects to leverage these funds and by 2016 drive up to $300 million in new capital to Washington small businesses.

Collateral Support Program

The Collateral Support Program (CSP) can help small businesses secure SBA 504 financing with their lenders when collateral support is a concern.  CSP will place cash deposits with the lending institution as additional collateral support to help lenders approve the necessary bridge loan required to achieve SBA 504 approval.  Participating lenders listed below can be contacted for program details and qualifications.  SBA 504 loans can provide financing for real estate as well as heavy equipment.  Lenders can visit the CSP website for more information on how to participate.

Capital Access Program

The Capital Access Program (CAP) can help small businesses secure financing in the difficult post-recession credit environment. The CAP encourages lenders to make small business loans that fall just short of conventional business loan approval. The program will mitigate the risk by providing additional funds that lenders can use to cover losses from loan defaults. Participating CAP lenders are listed below.  Businesses interested in a CAP loan can learn more about the program and apply directly by contacting the lender below.

Pacific Continental Bank: Name: Thomas Kuljam  
Email: thomas.kuljam@therightbank.com

Fortune Bank: Name: Ruth Ann Halford
Email: rhalford@fortunebankwa.com
Phone: (206) 254-7284

Coastal Community Bank: Name: Greg Starup
Phone: (425) 258-5299

 Regal Financial Bank: Name: Antoinette Marasigan
Email: amarasigan@regalfinancialbank.com
Phone: (206) 621-8717

Craft3 Fund

Craft3 is a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that lends to small businesses in underserved communities across the state and partnering with other small business lenders. Through its SBCI partnership, Craft3 will generally make loans from $250,000 to $5 million.

W Fund

The W Fund, an $18.5 million venture fund, will invest in early-stage life science, biotech, medical device, alternative energy, and information technology companies emerging from universities, research centers and individual start-ups across Washington. The objective is to spur company formation and job creation from Washington’s significant research and development base. Fund recipients will be located in the state, providing vital capital and creating economic opportunity in key growth sectors.  Investment maximums are $500,000 per investee.

11 Lessons I Learned at Startups That Keep Me Up at Night

By Danny Wong, www.entrepreneur.com; April 16, 2014

Being an entrepreneur is a frightening experience. You’re constantly faced with challenges that frequently put you on edge.

Over the past six years, I’ve been involved in three different startups. Each offered unforgettable experiences -- most good, depending on your outlook. It certainly hasn’t been easy to co-found, lead or grow any of these businesses, and I’m lucky I’ve worked with excellent teams throughout my career. Though I haven’t yet seen it all, I’ve seen enough to realize the hard reality that is starting a business.

Here is a (relatively) short list of things that easily kept me up at night:

1. You’re replaceable. Your customers, strategic partners, suppliers and teammates will always appreciate your contributions, but there is always going to be someone that’s better, smarter and nicer than you are. You have no time to be complacent because the bar is set higher and higher each day for individuals in your field. Also, no one has the patience to deal with jerks. So stay hungry and never stop treating people well. Do these things and you’ll be irreplaceable.

2. Reputation matters. Don’t become the person everyone loves to hate. Instead, be the most outstanding person you can be. Do nothing that compromises your integrity. Stay honorable. People will like you more.

3. You’re responsible (even when it’s not your fault). It’s true what they say. There’s absolutely no “I” in team. If something breaks, it’s everyone’s job to fix it.  It’s unproductive to point fingers and no one benefits from pettiness. Fix it, prevent the problem from recurring and move on.

4. Others depend on you. It’s a scary thought that you’re responsible to more people than just yourself. Your customers trust you to keep them happy, your team members turn to you for their livelihood and your investors expect return on investment, so remember to do what’s best for everyone -- not just you.

5. You’ll eventually have to disappoint people. Some of your professional relationships will have to end. Some of your customers may not always get what they want. You can no longer grow if you’re carrying deadweight employees or fail to fire abusive customers, so trim the fat, but beware of leaving a bitter taste in their mouths.

6. Too much of a good thing is actually truly terrible. One day, you can be peddling your wares to local shop owners, a dozen at a time. The next day, all of the major news networks want to promote your product -- for free. You gladly accept and receive more sales in 12 hours then you’ve received in the lifetime of your business. Hooray! But wait, this gift has turned into a curse. As a startup, you have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

7. You’re forgettable. Despite your accomplishments and the noteworthy mentions of you garnered in the press, within weeks, your business can feel like yesterday’s news. To be competitive and relevant, you must continue to innovate.

8. Building a business costs more than just money. There’s also a price you pay when you make a habit of pulling the graveyard shift evening after evening after evening. Your relationships suffer and your happiness may decline. It’s easy for your work to consume you -- just know that you don’t have to let that happen.

9. Failure happens. It's difficult to stomach, but failure is natural. What makes matters worse is that your family and friends watch your every move anxiously hoping you’ll succeed. You’re allowed to fail and should fold a campaign or project if it no longer makes sense to continue on. When you’re ready to start a new adventure, you’ll be more prepared than ever.

10. Equity is messy. Fortunately, I’ve worked with honest people who’ve sought to compensate me fairly. At the same time, I’ve witnessed many not-so-lucky startup folk get taken advantage of. Be sure to negotiate.

11. You’ll face rejection -- a lot of it. Be prepared to hear 100 -- perhaps 300 -- “no’s” before you ever get a resounding “yes” from someone. You may think it’s a numbers game: the more people you ask, the closer you get to finding your first customer. The real secret isn’t trying to sell more people though. It’s selling your idea, product or service to the right people, improving your pitch, story and salesmanship each time.

I’m only six years and three startups into my career and I, most certainly, have many more lessons I need to learn. Ultimately, it’s these lessons that help you become a better entrepreneur.

What are some surprising things you’ve learned?

April is Mentor Month

Taken in part from www.SBA.gov

Are you over 50 and looking for your next career?  New research shows that one in four people age 44 to 70 are interested in starting their own business or nonprofit in the next five to ten years. 

Did you know that you are not alone? There are 76 million people over the age of 50 in the United States.  That’s why this April the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and AARP are teaming up to host National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month. 

Throughout April, SBA district offices, state AARP offices and SBA resource partners will host events around the country.  Events include speed mentoring, which allows mentors with small business experience and entrepreneurs to share information during one-on-one counseling sessions, and workshops for entrepreneurs to learn best practices from successful small business owners.  To find a local event near you go to www.sba.gov/mentormonth

And, SBA has free online courses targeted at helping encore entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses.  Go online to www.sba.gov/encore to access the online training and other resources available for entrepreneurs over the age of 50. 

There’s no better time to start a business than today.  For Americans, especially those over 50, why not make April the start of the next chapter of your career?

If you'd like to be paired with a mentor from North Central Washington, we'd love to help make that connection. Visit the Mentor Database page of this site to get started. Or, if you'd like to participate as a mentor, feel free to let us know so that we can get you started guiding other entrepreneurs down their path to success.

Self-Employed? Sign Up for Health Care Coverage by March 31st

From the Small Business Administration

With only a couple weeks to go during the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period, now is the time for self-employed business owners to sign up for a plan.

With new Health Insurance Marketplaces (also referred to as Exchanges) open, self-employed business owners and other consumers can purchase private insurance coverage from a range of options and depending on income and residency, potentially qualify for additional subsidies like Medicaid or tax credits.

Coming up, there are some important dates self-employed business owners need to know if they want to sign up for coverage for this year.

Open enrollment for 2014 coverage ends March 31, 2014.  An exception would include a qualifying life event that provides you with a special enrollment period such as marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child, or loss of a job.

If you don’t have health coverage in 2014, you may have to pay a penalty. 

The next Open Enrollment period is proposed to begin on November 15, 2014 for health insurance coverage that begins January 1, 2015.

To browse coverage options, assess potential subsidies, and purchase your plan online through the individual marketplace, simply go to www.healthcare.gov.

You Won't Find What Makes a Hire 'Special' on Their Resume

By Gene Marks, March 5, 2014

Taken from www.entrepreneur.com

Most startups aren’t so special, I recently wrote, because every startup needs customers to survive. But it doesn’t end there. Most companies aren’t special either. Not even your company, no matter how long you’ve been around. But for a different reason.

What? You say that you’re developing an incredible new technology for mobile payments that no other company has thought of? Or that you’ve come up with unique content that media companies will be clamoring for? Maybe your pharmaceutical company has discovered a bona fide cure for the common cold. Or your vending machines deliver both hot and cold food and cannot be matched by anyone. Perhaps you’re the most brilliant patent lawyer with the most successful patent law firm in town. Or you’ve designed a manufacturing process so unique that you’re able to keep your costs more than 20 percent lower than your competition. OK, that’s all pretty special. And that’s why you’re doing so well.

But everything else? Nah, you’re not that special. You’re just running a business. And that business has the same issues that every other business has: finding customers, buying materials, shipping things on time, solving problems, paying people, investing in new things, taking risks, office parties, employee of the month, jammed printers, conference rooms.

So the next time you look for an employee to work for you, or even a service to hire, consider this: What if she doesn’t have experience in your industry, or doesn’t have a clue how your topical cream is made? What if she can’t identify what’s so unique about your manufacturing process, or never had any experience in the patent law field or media industry? What if she has no "special" experience in your "special" industry?

It should make no difference at all.

When you’re looking for that new employee, instead of asking her what experience she has in your field, find out what her work ethic is. Let’s assume if she’s an accountant she knows accounting, or if she’s a sales manager she knows how to manage a sales force. Instead, evaluate her attitude, capability to solve problems, ability to get along with people, manage projects and get things done.

Is she smart? Did she get good grades in school? Did she get good references from the places she previously worked from other smart people? Can you trust her to do what she says she’s going to do? This is what you need to know.

Because once you peel away a very thin layer of "being special," your company is just like any other business. And if that prospective employee is smart enough, she can quickly learn what’s so "special" about your company and apply that to her own skill set in sales, finance, marketing, engineering or management.

Businesses struggle with the decision to buy that "vertical" software package designed for businesses such as theirs or hire that "expert" who has 20 years of experience in their industry. And what I and most of my clients have learned is that none of this is as important as just finding that capable person who can be taught, or that proven product or service that can be customized to meet their needs.

No business is special. Underneath, we’re all the same.

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