Business Community Ownership Fund, National Development Council, and Office of Economic Development logos on a beige background.

The Business Community Ownership Fund gives Seattle business owners the tools to control their own futures.

The Business Community Ownership (BCO) Fund is a new investment model that addresses the rising cost of commercial rent in Seattle, which often affects neighborhoods and businesses owned by people of color, immigrants, women, and LGBTQ+ people. These communities continue to have less access to capital due to systemic inequities, racism, and related barriers. 

The BCO Fund secures fixed, affordable rents for business owners. This financial stability keeps current neighborhood businesses in place and brings displaced business owners back to their communities.

Business owners who partner with the BCO Fund will receive the following benefits:

  • Shared ownership of commercial real estate.
  • Stable, affordable occupancy costs.
  • A community of support with other business owners.
  • Access to tools and resources to support their growth.

  1. The BCO Fund invests in commercial real estate in Seattle neighborhoods, which will house storefronts for business owners at the highest risk of displacement.
  2. The Fund creates a Limited Liability Company (LLC) to invest in each project. Multiple business owners can become members of the LLC, which purchases the commercial property those businesses will occupy. Financing is secured by Grow America (formerly NDC) as a managing member.
  3. Tax benefits and cash flow benefit the business owners.

  • Keep current small businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, and people of color in Seattle neighborhoods.
  • Create a pathway for securing commercial real estate for businesses that have been displaced or unable to establish a business in Seattle due to the rising costs of commercial rents.
  • Build business owners’ financial security and economic independence.
  • Increase business income and value by providing owners with long-term stability and control. 

The BCO Fund is a collaboration between the Seattle Office of Economic Development (OED) and Grow America (formerly NDC). It is still in its pilot phase and is actively seeking project ideas.

The BCO Fund is looking for affordable commercial projects that meet key community and business objectives, such as integrating ground floor commercial into the neighborhood, providing culturally relevant goods and services, and supporting business sustainability and growth for women, LGBTQ+, Black, Indigenous, and other business owners of color. Projects will be prioritized for consideration based on the investment criteria and the project’s stated community benefit.

Project sponsors can be real estate developers/owners, neighborhood business district organizations, or other community sponsors. The BCO Fund is seeking projects that can begin construction within the next 12 months and in neighborhoods at high risk of displacement.

Project Considerations

  • Equity
    • Fund will invest in projects in racial and social equity priority areas.
    • Priority for projects supporting businesses at high risk of displacement, including Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC), immigrants, women, and LGBTQ+ owned businesses.
  • Impact
    • Projects that would support small, locally owned businesses from being displaced or support the relocation of businesses that were displaced.
    • Projects and/or business owners providing community benefits and demonstrating positive neighborhood impact. Priority for projects supporting multiple businesses.
  • Viability
    • Business sustainability such as historic sales, net revenue, business experience and tenure, and capacity to pay rent.
    • Focus on existing businesses, with priority consideration for businesses that have been operating for 10 or more years.
  • Project Readiness
    • Basic project funding identified and secured (excluding the commercial space portion).
    • Project completed initial pre-development phase and has initial design and costing.
    • Project has some schedule detail regarding permitting, financing, and construction.
    • The development team should be in place with a strategy for outreach and business occupancy.

Projects can be submitted at any time and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Submit your project idea here.

If you want to learn more, you can fill out this short form to see if partnering with the Business Community Ownership Fund is the right next step for your business: Business Interest Form.

Language Support

  • Forms must be submitted in English. Bilingual staff are available to help you complete the form and answer any questions. To request translation or interpretation services, please call (206) 684-8090.

For other questions about this program, please reach out to:

The City of Seattle encourages everyone to participate in its programs and activities. For additional questions, translation or interpretation, technical assistance, disability accommodations, materials in alternate formats, or accessibility information, please contact the Office of Economic Development at (206) 684-8090 or oed@seattle.gov.

Economic Development

Markham McIntyre, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 5752, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94708, Seattle, WA, 98124-4708
Phone: (206) 684-8090
Phone Alt: (206) 684-0379
Fax: (206) 684-0379
oed@seattle.gov

Newsletter Updates

Subscribe

Sign up for the latest updates from Economic Development

The mission of the Office of Economic Development (OED) is to help create healthy businesses, thriving neighborhoods, and community organizations to contribute to a robust economy that will benefit all Seattle residents and future generations.