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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
10/16/2009  4:31:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jennifer Samuels, Legislative Assistant,
CM Harrell’s Office, (206) 684-8804 Dana Robinson Slote, (206) 615-0061

Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Councilmember Harrell and PSRC Launch “Performance First”
Program boosts regional business organizations, minority-owned businesses

SEATTLE – On Oct. 15, Councilmember Bruce Harrell and the Puget Sound Regional Council’s (PSRC) Prosperity Partnership launched the “Performance First” program and website. Performance First was developed in response to the Prosperity Partnership’s regional economic strategy, and its focus on supporting small business and entrepreneurship in creating jobs and ensuring long-term economic prosperity. This innovative new program helps large employers in the region – including current participants like Swedish Hospital, Puget Sound Energy and Starbucks – implement best practices that include minority-owned businesses in their procurement and purchasing efforts.

“Our quality of life, as we know it in this region, is at stake,” said Councilmember Harrell, chair of Performance First. “The PSRC and the Prosperity Partnership are committed to protecting it, and this program helps companies boost the bottom line and better connect to their customers by more effectively partnering with minority-owned businesses.” Harrell also emphasizes the importance of companies learning to use changing demographics to their strategic advantage.

The Prosperity Partnership is a coalition of more than 300 business, labor, government, education and nonprofit organizations from King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. Partners include the Port of Seattle, Boeing, City of Seattle, City Light, King County, Seattle Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, University of Washington, and Eli Lilly. Together, the coalition works as a powerful team to develop and implement strategies to increase economic prosperity in this region.

“I have been working with the PSRC for over 12 years and I am pleased to see components of our work translated into specific tools that help create jobs and sustainability,” said Councilmember Richard McIver.

The Prosperity Partnership’s regional economic strategy focuses on specific industries with the highest job growth potential – including aerospace, tourism, international trade, clean technology, life sciences, and information technology – as well as the foundations of our economy that allow these industries to be successful – transportation, education, small business ownership, technology commercialization, and quality of life.

An increasingly important part of supporting businesses in those leading industry clusters is helping them improve their procurement systems, particularly with regard to minority-owned businesses.

To address this opportunity, the Prosperity Partnership formed the Minority Economic Development Working Group – currently chaired by Councilmember Harrell. The Working Group pinpointed a number of inefficiencies in the minority-owned business ecosystem and, in collaboration with the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, G3 & Associates and Chen Communications, developed a program to share a best practices approach for the region.

“Performance First is really a tool to help all businesses working our region’s leading industry clusters succeed,” said Eric Schinfeld, Senior Economic Policy Analyst for PSRC. “By better connecting large cluster businesses with the small and minority-owned businesses that can provide them affordable, innovative and high quality products and services, we are building a stronger ecosystem for regional prosperity.”

To learn more, go to http://www.performance1st.org.

Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21 and Webcast live on the City Council’s website at http://www.seattle.gov/council/. Copies of legislation, archives of previous meetings, and news releases are available on http://www.seattle.gov/council/. Follow the Council on Twitter at twitter.com and on Facebook at Seattle City Council.

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