Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center
Sue Oliver, director of Seattle University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, is leading a team of faculty and students, in partnership with JPMorgan Chase, to help strengthen local small businesses whose futures are threatened by gentrification.
The program works with small businesses in Seattle’s Central Area that are confronting lost retail space, rising rents, shifting markets and new construction forcing them to close or move. Many of the minority-, women-, and immigrant-owned businesses represent the social, ethic, and economic fabric of the community.
JPMorgan Chase has contributed $500,000 to the effort and is providing professional mentors to work with SU student interns. The faculty-student-corporate teams provide business coaching to help clients build their own capacity with a goal of producing customized strategic plans that address all aspects of a successful business from marketing to raising capital.
“Together we’re building upon their existing strengths, resources and capabilities,” Oliver says.