Pierce County’s Economic Development Department received the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) 2022 Excellence in Economic Development Gold Award for Innovation Programs and Initiatives for the Pierce County Business Accelerator (PCBA) program. The PCBA serves entrepreneurs and business owners throughout Pierce County to help foster innovation and create wealth-building opportunities. with a focus on BIPOC, veteran, and women-owned businesses.
“We are humbled to accept this award on behalf of our many community partners who contributed to the program’s success,” said Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier. “The PCBA blazes a new path in how economic development programs serve communities of color and reduce barriers to business growth. This program, designed and executed by and for BIPOC, women and veteran entrepreneurs in Pierce County, is a tangible example of how economic developers can work in concert with their community.”
The IEDC is the largest nonprofit professional association for professional economic developers worldwide. Recognized each year during the IEDC Annual Conference, the awards honor organizations for exemplary economic development marketing campaigns, projects, and programs.
“Communities need our profession now more than ever,” said IEDC President and CEO Nathan Ohle. “This year's awardees exemplify the ingenuity, leadership, and determination needed to meet the challenges of today and the future. The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and demonstrate the level of leadership that our profession strives for every day.”
Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world. This year, the IEDC received more than 500 submissions from the U.S. and four international submissions. To learn more about the IEDC, visit iedconline.org
About the PCBA Program
The Pierce County Economic Development Department leveraged $5M of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to establish the Pierce County Business Accelerator (PCBA) program in October 2021. The City of Lakewood also contributed $500,000 in funding to support additional participants. The program is serving 200 BIPOC, veteran and women business owners: 93% of the businesses are minority-owned, 70% are women-owned, and 14% are veteran-owned.
The PCBA participants receive six weeks of traditional business training by instructors, trainers, and coaches who reflect BIPOC communities and speak several different languages. Business owners and entrepreneurs have access to grant funding to match capital raised for their business (up to $10,000), assist with costs related to commercial rent or lease payments (up to $6,000), and professional services (up to $5,000). The program helps create jobs for early-stage businesses and retain jobs for businesses on the margins.
The PCBA is managed in partnership with the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, The Black Collective, Mi Centro, Tacoma Urban League and Korean Women’s Association. The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce administers the program.
To learn more about the PCBA, visit www.pcba.biz.
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Andriana Fletcher, Public Information Specialist