Interlocal arrangement is good business for City, Green River College

Green River College has provided small business assistance in Auburn for more than 10 years.

But restrictions and requirements on the $40,000 federal Community Development Block grant that covered its costs in so doing proved tough for the college to meet.

On Monday, the Auburn City Council expects to vote on an interlocal agreement that sets up a contract with GRC that will have the City tap a grant it received from the Port of Seattle for the recently-opened business incubator, to fund the college’s efforts to provide small business assistance services at the office in Auburn’s Sound Transit Station.

Dana Hinman, administrative director for the City, said the contract is for $20,000.

“Green River College realized it had a hard time meeting the requirements of that grant. Federal money is very restrictive. So we found the opportunity to be able move that program into a more general-funded space to provide more flexibility with the work that they will be able to do,” Hinman said.

On June 1, 2017, the City, in partnership with the Port of Seattle and the State Department of Commerce, launched the small business incubator to facilitate and catalyze innovation, entrepreneurial development and business success in Auburn.

The 1,500-square-foot office is a resource for young businesses to help accelerate their growth and success, and reduce the likelihood of failure.

The incubator site includes space for a minimum of 10 businesses, offers a mix of working, communal and meeting spaces, and easy access throughout the Puget Sound region given its onsite transportation access to light rail and the transit center.

“Our ultimate goal is to nurture innovation through a collaborative community of entrepreneurship that will create new jobs and enhance the quality of life in the community,” Mayor Nancy Backus said recently.

The larger objective, Backus said, is to increase middle-wage jobs through economic growth, promote small business growth and workforce development in the region, and help companies get established and rooted in the Auburn community, with the hope that they become permanent contributors to the overall vitality, diversity and growth of the city’s economy.

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