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Newsletter for November 30, 2009

Tell Your Colleagues About Our Newsletter and Daily Digest!

Sign up for our newsletter! Are your friends signed up for OED's monthly newsletter and our Daily Digest? Compiled daily from over 50 news sources, the OED Daily Digest is the best way to keep up with the latest in business, technology, workforce, real estate, and economic development news in Seattle. Feel free to forward this e-mail to a friend!


OED to distribute $40 million in financing to help local businesses

Seattle's Office of Economic Development accepted an allocation of $40 million in federal New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs) this month. These NMTCs will be an important resource to help Seattle businesses and real estate projects access capital; their distribution will help five to ten business and real estate projects attract outside investors to obtain financing which would otherwise not be available. Investors will be encouraged to invest in these projects because they will receive a credit against federal income taxes for making equity investments in low-income areas For more information about the New Markets Tax Credits, the Grow Seattle Fund or the CDBG small business loan funds, please contact OED's Ken Takahashi at 206-684-8378 or

New study visualizes Seattle's global health impact

A study unveiled last week by the Washington Global Health Alliance shows the breadth and depth of the state's role in global health, mapping out nearly 500 projects of global health organizations in Washington in 92 countries with 587 unique partners. The two maps are based on data from nine local organizations and will be expanded in the future to include others. Both maps are designed to help local health organizations discover potential collaborations and share facilities, and showcase global health as a powerful and emerging sector in the Puget Sound region.

Mayor-elect McGinn launches transition website, solicits ideas for the city

Seattle's Mayor-elect Mike McGinn launched his transition website last week: New.Seattle.Gov. The page includes an essay on McGinn's vision for the city and an open-source "Ideas for Seattle" page to solicit opinions on transportation, business, nightlife, social justice, the economy, and more. McGinn writes on the site: "We are blessed with incredible creative, intellectual and social capital here in Seattle. We think it's clear that the city will run best when we source ideas from all of Seattle's citizens. So we're putting our transition questions out to you, not just to the usual insiders. And we're still asking for your best ideas for Seattle."

Washington FilmWorks reflects on its 36 productions, $42.9 million in economic impact

WashingtonFilmWorks recently approved funding assistance for two new feature films, "Late Autumn" and "The Big Bang," as well as two commercials from the production company Digital Kitchen. These projects mark a total of 36 productions approved through the WashingtonFilmWorks' incentive program since inception in 2007, adding an estimated $42.9 million of economic impact in the state. Other recent projects include Lynn Shelton's "$5 Cover," a musical series that invites viewers to tag along with the hottest up-and-coming bands for a wild weekend in Seattle; and "The Details," a black comedy starring Toby Maguire, about a married couple on the verge of a breakup who are tormented by a family of savage raccoons.

Workshop explores how "Buy Local" campaigns help businesses

On November 10th, Seattle's Office of Economic Development hosted a "Buy Local" marketing strategies workshop with presenter Jeff Milchen, a leading advocate for community-based businesses and co-founder of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA). City Council President Richard Conlin, an avid supporter of buy local business campaigns, delivered opening remarks. Milchen discussed how a carefully implemented "Buy Local" campaign can drive traffic into neighborhood business districts and support the city's best local vendors by creating an educated and invested community of shoppers. OED will continue to work with Jeff Milchen and the workshop participants to develop buy local marketing campaigns in Seattle business districts.

Forbes: Seattle is America's fourth-safest city impact

According to a November report by Forbes, Seattle is tied for the nation's fourth-safest city, considering factors such as violent crime, workplace fatality rates, traffic death rates and natural disaster risk. Moreover, Seattle tied for lowest ranked for workplace deaths, largely due to the number of relatively low-risk jobs in high tech as opposed to construction and manufacturing. Forbes also highlights Seattle's low traffic fatality risk, which it attributes to the city's user-friendly, and widely-used, mass transit system.

Repeal of Seattle's head tax eases burden on businesses

This November, the Seattle City Council Budget Committee repealed the city's annual $25 employee head tax by an 8-to-1 vote. Although the tax brings in a relatively small amount of revenue every year - $4.5 million - the decision sends a business friendly message in a difficult economic climate. Local business owners have long called for the removal of the tax, which meant additional paperwork as well as expense. Now, thanks to the strong City Council vote, businesses will have one less tax to worry about in April - and a little more money left in their pockets.

Iconic Seattle business Ivar's honored for charitable contributions

The Washington Restaurant Association presented Ivar's with the 2009 Restaurant Neighbor Award for its charitable contributions within the Seattle community. Ivar's has donated 50,000 cups of chowder and 1,500 meals monthly to Northwest Harvest's hunger relief program. Additionally, the company has a long history of making generous monetary and in-kind donations to local community and non-profit organizations.


Community event examines Southeast Seattle retail

On Tuesday, December 1st, national commercial district revitalization expert Kennedy Smith will discuss strategies for strengthening Rainier Valley businesses and business districts, and increasing the availability of goods and services in Southeast Seattle. This event is open to the entire community and will be especially useful for Rainier Valley business owners, property owners, and neighborhood leaders invested in the future of Southeast Seattle retail. The event is co-sponsored by the African Business Association of Seattle, the Columbia City Business Association, the MLK Business Association, the Office of Economic Development, the Rainier Beach Merchants Association, the Rainier Chamber of Commerce, and the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund. For more information, please contact the City's Office of Economic Development at 206-684-8090 or

Workforce forum proclaims: Good Jobs Are Ahead!

Join SkillUp Washington and Port Jobs on Friday, December 4th for a timely policy forum on how we can improve opportunities for Washington's workers and strengthen our state's businesses. Distinguished speakers, including author Irwin Kirsch (America's Perfect Storm), Betsy McKay (director of English Under the Arches at McDonalds), Julie Strawn of the Center for Law and Social Policy, Mark Martinez of the Pierce County Building & Construction Trades Council, and moderator Enrique Cerna (KCTS 9) for an evening that asks: What are we doing in Washington to ensure that in five, ten or fifteen years, our workers are competitive on the global stage?