Atomic Threads Boutique and Stage Left Theater Association in Spokane have been selected to receive a $2,500 microgrant from the Ready for Business Fund. Atomic Threads Boutique is the PNW’s first pin-up & alternative clothing and more store that is both size and gender inclusive, and a non-profit performing arts center in Spokane.
Last year, Inter-Tribal Beauty, a skin care specialist small business, and A Clear View, a window cleaning business, both located in Spokane, also received $2,500 microgrants from the Ready for Business fund, which was founded in 2020 to support small businesses in Washington, especially those owned by LGBTQ people, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), and women, who are at greater risk in today’s uncertain economy.
The Ready for Business Fund was founded in the summer of 2020 with an initial $100,000 investment from Comcast and the designation of GSBA as the fund manager. To date, the fund has supported more than 200 small businesses in Washington with nearly $1 million in financial support and wraparound services.
The Ready for Business Fund was renewed this year with an additional $75,000 in funding from Comcast and GSBA, reprising its role as the program and fund manager. Grants from the Ready for Business Fund will be made possible by more than $150,000 in additional donations from Pepsi, T-Mobile, US Bank, Meta, and Verity Credit Union and a $100,000 grant from King County. These funds will now support small business owners across all industries, including local restaurants, bookstores, bistros, shops and stores, which are an important part of the social fabric in our communities.
“GSBA recognizes the importance of investing in the small businesses that are critical to a thriving community and economy,” said Ilona Lohrey, GSBA president and CEO. “We are proud to once again partner with Comcast to grow our Ready for Business Fund to support a diverse group of business owners who need our help now more than ever.”
“We’re grateful for our continued partnership with the GSBA to recognize so many resilient small businesses through the Ready for Business Fund,” said Diem Ly, Community Impact Director, Comcast Washington. “We at Comcast believe and act on our shared value that ensuring equitable access to resources for BIPOC and LGBTQ-owned businesses means all of our communities and neighborhoods benefit in the long run.”
“Between recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns over inflation, our small businesses have faced some of the most difficult struggles over the last few years, and it is up to our community to step up and support them. That’s why partnerships like the one between King County, GSBA and Comcast are so imperative right now,” shared King County Councilmember, Joe McDermott.
GSBA assembled a selection committee consisting of diverse community and business leaders to evaluate the applications received. Notifications to grant applicants about the status of their application have begun and awards will be delivered beginning this week. All grant recipients will also receive wrap-around services, including GSBA membership and consulting.