Over the last year, RAMP-up supported six Black-owned businesses in the Central Area of Seattle and in South King County with their expansion or relocation projects. These include Earl’s Cuts & Styles, Catfish Corner, The Barbeque Pit, Original Philly’s, A 4 Apple Learning Center, and Anchor of Home Adult Family Home. With help from RAMP-up, these businesses accessed almost $1,500,000 in new and pending capital, mostly in the form of grants and forgivable loans. RAMP-up works on the front lines of local commercial affordability, helping businesses navigate forced relocation, connecting with small business lenders and grantors, negotiating terms with developers, participating in policy groups, and collaborating to create a case study research paper about one of our client’s pain points in accessing affordable space.
The RAMP-up client experience has been carefully designed to serve the small business owner in every area they need: finance, accounting, marketing, business development, customer acquisition, communications, legal, resource connections, business planning, and project management. Each business benefits from a designated client account manager (CAM), an experienced student employee who acts as a single point of contact and communicates regularly with the business owner, meeting at times and locations most convenient for them. These highly-qualified students support the business for at least a year with wraparound services that include creating financial statements, forensic accounting, marketing, website creation, loan applications, operational development, hiring, project management, referrals to service providers, and connections to on-campus resources.
Business driven, campus inspired, and community engaged, SeattleU’s Resource Amplification & Management Program (RAMP-up) is a unique, experiential learning environment that brings together minds and hearts on campus and beyond to work with underserved local businesses in Seattle’s Central Area and surrounding neighborhoods. As Seattle undergoes rapid, dynamic changes, it is vital to preserve the social, ethnic, and economic fabric of these businesses, which has made the city such an attractive destination. RAMP-up offers business coaching, resource connections, business planning and other technical support, and project management assistance.
RAMP-up is sustained by the support of HomeStreet Bank, which generously donated $30,000 this year, and the generosity of our community, which raised over $3,000 on the Seattle University Day of Giving. RAMP-up was launched in 2016 with a three-year grant from JPMorgan Chase.