There’s a new directory in Pierce County to help people find and support BIPOC-, women- and veteran-owned businesses.
PCBAmap.biz was created by the Pierce County Businesses Accelerator program. It launched this week with a focus on serving entrepreneurs and businesses throughout Pierce County to help foster innovation and create wealth-building opportunities. The program is administered by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber.
Chamber president and CEO Andrea Reay said the accelerator program was created to respond to the negative effects the COVID-19 pandemic had on businesses. She said women-owned and BIPOC-owned businesses were not as well-equipped as other businesses to handle pandemic impacts, and the program’s goal is to level the playing field.
The Pierce County Economic Development Department established the accelerator program in October 2021. The City of Lakewood is a municipal partner.
Pierce County Council allocated $5 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding. Reay said future funding is uncertain but the chamber is hopeful for a public-private partnership.
The directory includes businesses that have completed the program. The directory is searchable, and businesses can be looked up by category and by city. The directory lists the businesses’ phone, email, location and website. It also includes an interactive map.
Reay said the directory assists businesses with e-commerce and helps them connect and stay connected with customers.
The PCBA program is six weeks with two two-hour classes per week and teaches business owners the importance of brand identity, building capacity within their organization and how to access capital to accelerate their businesses. Each cohort will include 25 entrepreneurs and two instructors. The program is in-person.
To apply, the business needs to be physically located in Pierce County and be a start-up or micro-stage business with an annual revenue in 2019 under $325,000. Pre-revenue businesses can also apply.
The application requires a business plan or business description that includes stage of business, business goals, target market and growth steps, along with a owner/founder bio describing business experience and three professional letters of reference supporting business experience. People with a business in operation need to provide a prepared profit-and-loss statement or financial statement for 2019 and 2020.
The program is currently at capacity, but people interested can join a wait list.
Participants receive access to potential funding options, matching grant resources up to $10,000, a commercial rent stipend for one year up to $500 a month and coaching/mentorship for one year. Participants also receive a chamber membership for a year.
The program has served 200 BIPOC, veteran and women business owners, with 93 percent of the businesses being minority-owned, 70% women-owned and 14% veteran-owned.
The PCBA partners with Next Consulting, Asia Pacific Cultural Center, The Black Collective, Mi Centro, Tacoma Urban League and Korean Women’s Association.
This story was originally published December 16, 2022 5:00 AM.