National Development Council and Trade Receive Award for Small Business Loan Scheme

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National Development Council and Commerce Receive Award for Washington Small Business FlexFund Loan Program

SEATTLE, Wash. – The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has awarded Washington’s Small Business Flex Fund an industry award for its positive contributions to the state’s economic recovery. Earlier this week at the IEDC Economic Development Excellence Awards, the National Development Council (NDC) and the Washington State Department of Commerce shared a Gold Award in Economic Equity & Inclusion for their work with the Flex Fund.

IEDC’s Economic Equity & Inclusion Award recognizes programs dedicated to improving the quality of life within a community through targeted, innovative and inclusive initiatives that incorporate the unique experiences and insights of underserved members of the community. These programs promote economic equity and inclusion and/or provide increased access to government and community resources to an underserved population.

“In the early stages of developing the Small Business Flex Fund, we knew this program would be a game-changer for Washington State, especially for business owners in communities that have historically not had access to a working capital,” says Daniel Marsh. , President and CEO of NDC. “It is an honor to receive this prestigious award from our peers at IEDC, and it validates the work we have believed in from the start.”

Photo of officials accepting the International Council for Economic Development award for the Small Business FlexFund

Pictured: Todd Greene, Chairman of the Board of IEDC (far left), Dan Marsh (center left), President and CEO of NDC, Keith Swenson (center right) , deputy deputy director of the Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness, WA State Department of Commerce and Nathan Ohle (far right), CEO and President of IEDC.

“Hearing the inspiring stories of business owners who have benefited from Flex Fund loans is its own kind of reward, and this honor from IEDC is even more of an affirmation of our work,” said Lisa Brown, Director of the Department of Washington State Commerce. “We are grateful for our continued collaboration with the NDC and this recognition from the IEDC voting body for the tremendous impact the Flex Fund has had on so many of our state’s small businesses.”

The Flex Fund was launched last year as a partnership between the NDC and the Department of Commerce as an equitable pandemic recovery program for Washington’s smaller businesses, primarily in historically underbanked communities. The Fund currently has nearly $45 million in loans available to eligible small businesses, and application deadlines have been extended through March 2023 so that more business owners can take advantage of this public-private partnership. unique.

Since its inception, the Fund has distributed $57 million in low-interest loans to nearly 700 businesses, 80% of which are owned by immigrants, women, and people of color. Financial commitments from Heritage Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Umpqua Bank, WaFd Bank, KeyBank and Wells Fargo recently brought the Fund’s total to $105 million, surpassing its initial target of $100 million. Similar structured loan programs have also been successful in California, New York, Connecticut and several southern states.

“We created this flexible fund to help more small businesses access affordable capital, especially small businesses in underbanked communities,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “As the state’s economy continues to recover from this unprecedented economic challenge, the Small Business Flex Fund continues to ensure that disproportionately impacted communities are not left behind.”

The International Council for Economic Development is the world’s largest not-for-profit trade association for economic developers. The Excellence in Economic Development Awards were judged by an international panel of economic and community developers, and winners were recognized September 18-21 at IEDC’s annual industry conference in Oklahoma City.

“Communities need our profession more than ever. This year’s winners exemplify the ingenuity, leadership and determination needed to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. The recipients of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards represent the best in economic development and demonstrate the level of leadership that our profession strives to achieve every day,” said the President and CEO of the IEDC. ‘IEDC, Nathan Ohle.

IEDC received over 500 award submissions from five countries.

For more information about the Small Business Flex Fund and to hear testimonials from loan recipients, visit SmallBusinessFlexFund.org.

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