• The Big Lil

Toolkit #2: Accessing legal support, lease amendments, interpretation and more

Seattle's small businesses need a new education and new expectations, as we head into this next phase of COVID operations.

An Interview with: Jennifer Tam, Food Business Advocate at the City of Seattle

Over the past few months, Jennifer’s work has transitioned from helping food business entrepreneurs get up and running to helping food business entrepreneurs survive and adapt…because all of those pivots require shifts, in business operations, permitting and compliance concerns!

What kind of support are businesses asking for right now?

They are still seeking support in navigating permitting and licensing, as well as City-provided resources. But, they’re now digging into new questions, like how do you open up the streets to support socially-distanced restaurants? They’re also looking for financial support, which is a huge challenge, because all of the grants are fulfilled so quickly. Even the City of Seattle’s Small Business Stabilization Fund received nearly 9000 applicants for a total of about 250 grants for the first round of funding.

You’re triaging a complex and difficult situation for thousands of food businesses across the city right now – that’s got to be a ton of effort and stress - is there anything that gives you hope?

Now more than ever, this city realizes that there’s a difference between small business and corporate America. And, we need resources that support the small businesses more directly – because it’s not just about whether the small businesses will come back but whether the jobs will come back with them.

I have hope that we can provide the support they need because I’m also seeing a lot of creativity among the business owners and a growth in community support.

What resources would you point business owners to?

Most of the resources we’re providing with regard to education and support are available in multiple languages and we’re offering interpretation services. Here are some resources I would have business owners dig into:

Don't forget: the City is offering over-the-phone interpretation support in over 200 languages!

About Big Lil Seattle

Big Lil Seattle launched to share the stories on how Seattle’s small businesses and small non-profits are REALLY fairing in this COVID era: how they’re impacted, pivoting, and planning for next steps. Perhaps, most importantly, we also identify clear steps on how we can all help. 

Big Lil Seattle is a project of The Big Lil, which offers big solutions to help grow your small business or non-profit.

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