The Seattle Economic Development Fund (SEDF), part of Community Capital Development, is a community development loan fund and economic development organization committed to creating, sustaining, and increasing entrepreneurial opportunities and livable-wage jobs in Seattle and the state of Washington. SEDF targets disadvantaged populations that have historically experienced difficulties in accessing business financing and economic development services. SEDF successfully provides services to small business owners, with a focus on women, minority, and low-income entrepreneurs at all levels of business development.
SEDF's loan programs focus on providing capital for start-up businesses, businesses that have been in operation 0-6 months, businesses under 2 years in operation, not yet "bankable" businesses, and established businesses, operating for 2+ years, but facing new challenges.
SEDF offers loans in the following major lending areas:
- Working Capital - Funds to be used
for business operations.
Commercial or Mixed-Use Real Estate - Funds to be used to purchase, renovate, or build real estate projects.
Franchises - Funds to be used for the start-up or purchase of an existing franchise.
Contract Financing - Funds to be used for payroll or to purchase equipment or supplies needed to complete or partially complete a contract.
Construction Contractor Receivables - These loans provide accounts receivable financing for businesses that have contracts as Prime or Sub-Contractors with public sector agencies or with large, private, financially sound companies.
Cash Flow Restructuring - These loans, available to existing businesses only, help restructure debt to manageable levels that will provide the internal capacity to expand.
In addition to these loan products and services, SEDF also provides its customers with business technical assistance and counseling to help them remain successful. Investments by individuals, as well as institutions such as Calvert Foundation, provide lending capital to SEDF.
SEDF services several counties in the state of Washington and targets the most marginalized sectors of the population. The majority, 93% of SEDF's clients, live in semi-urban areas, while 7% reside in rural areas. Forty-three percent of SEDF's clients are Caucasian while 40% are African-American, 12% are Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 5% are Latino. Moreover, more than half (63%) of SEDF's clients are women and a growing number (46.9%) have a household income at or below 80% of the area median income.
Since inception, SEDF has made 388 loans, totaling over $15.3 million, to small businesses and microenterprises. In 2005 alone, SEDF has made 46 microenterprise loans totaling over $794,000 and 71 small business loans totaling over $3.0 million. Of the microenterprise and business loans provided during the past year, 29% have been to minority-controlled or owned institutions, 76% have been to women-owned or controlled enterprises, and 15% have been to low income-owned or controlled institutions, indicating the broad impact achieved through targeting traditionally marginalized groups.
When Kay Hirai founded Studio 904 in 1982, a contemporary hair salon in Pioneer Square, she aimed to develop a minority business that was both successful and positive for everyone her business touched. This may seem like a stretch for a hair salon, but Kay has proved success can be achieved―even reinforced―by focusing on a double bottom line: a business that provides financial returns and also generates social returns for its employees and the greater community. Full Story