Business Impact NW, according to its homepage “empowers a talented and diverse community of entrepreneurs, supporting the continuing growth of local small businesses through micro-enterprise. We are at once your sounding board, advisers, and cheering section, your funding source and your access to resources. Impact is a part of our name, and we are making one, every day.”
I caught an advertisement for its October 4, 2018 Impact Pitch, the Final Round of a competition in which start-up and recently-established businesses that have an explicit mission of bettering their communities pitch their concepts for a chance at technical assistance and cash prizes. I went on a whim.
It was real. Eight finalists (all descriptions from the Impact Business program):
Diehard Family RC Park, a STEM Education and Remote Control Sports promotion company
Dorothy’s Piano Bar and Cabaret, a place where both new and seasoned performers and the people who want to hear them are brought together
Gigs4U, which enables clients to enhance their public or private spaces with live entertainment
Largesse Company, which strives to have a sustainable and positive business impact by curating purposeful corporate gifts and promotional products
MEND Institute, which provides quality low-cost counseling to the women of Seattle and builds a clinical and business incubator that trains therapists and launches them into private practice
Mikki Co., the first mover using white coffee in the ready-to-drink coffee and tea market
Positive Spin Pole Dance Fitness, offering fitness classes in Seattle to queer folks, non-monogamous communities, people of color, plus size individuals, and their allies who seek personal growth through dance
and Rat City Studios, engaging and building community through clay – one person, one neighborhood, and one experience at a time.
I saw someone so nervous she cried during much of her presentation. People who may never have had any formal business training up against people with decades of high-level experience. Gay people, straight people, immigrants, artists, veterans, caregivers, men and women. I saw passion, compassion and courage. To be trite, I saw America.
Take a look at these businesses. Hire a musician through Gigs4U, or fire a Raku pot at Rat City Studios. I’m going to get my son to Diehard RC as soon as I can, and I miss my NYC piano bar days.
You don’t have to do something expensive or time-consuming or demanding to make a difference. Drink a Mikki Co. dirty chai with pride!
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