This page provides information and resources for small businesses. If you do not find what you are looking for, please contact us and we will do our best to connect you with additional resources.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Please note the resources below are for reference purposes only. An organization should always consult and tailor this information to the organization’s needs. If you need a consultation with an attorney or subject matter expert, depending on eligibility, we may be able to help by providing you with one (that’s what we do).
This toolkit is a set of resources Communities Rise has created for entrepreneurs who are starting businesses in Washington.
This toolkit is designed to provide key, easy-to-understand information for small businesses about common terms or sections of a typical commercial lease.
Communities Rise is providing a range of resources and support for organizations and small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. Please check out these pages for more information about what you can find on our website or how you access additional support.
Check out a running list of funding opportunities. Note that these are not funded by CR and we recommend you refer to the individual funders for the most up to date information.
This video and supplementary materials can help your small business or nonprofit navigate the process of re-negotiating or potentially ending a lease due to reduced revenue/operating income from the COVID crisis.
This Toolkit is designed to help small business owners plan for retirement and passing on or selling your business. This Toolkit will explain legal concepts, lay out the questions you will need to consider and provides a worksheet to gather the information you will need to create a succession plan.
Intellectual Property Basics
This Toolkit provides an overview on the different types of Intellectual Property for small businesses including copyright and trademarks and points business owners to additional resources that may be helpful in securing intellectual property rights.
- Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) overview and commentary – This resource explains the provisions of the template agreement and is designed to be used alongside the NDA template (provided below)
- Nondisclosure Agreement template – The template NDA is not legal advice and may not be applicable to all business context. It is advisable to consult an attorney to tailor this information to your needs.
- Copyright Basics for Small Businesses
- Español: ¿Qué Onda con los Derechos de Autor?
- Trademark Basics for Small Businesses
This webinar provides an overview of legal compliance when setting up an E-commerce space for your small business.
Local Manufacturing and Marketing
Organizations that are working with small businesses to assist with manufacturing and marketing.
- Seattle Good Business Network – this network collectively builds resilient, vibrant and inclusive local economy through buying, producing, and investing locally.
- Seattle Made – a collaboration of over six hundred urban manufacturers, producers, creators and entrepreneurs working to strengthen Seattle’s local economy and communities to provide meaningful living wage jobs, and contribute to Seattle’s independent and innovative culture.
- Refugee Artisan Network – RAI partners with immigrant women to foster an inclusive, prosperous transition to the US through artisan skills training in zero waste and small batch manufacturing.
Culturally Mindful Organizations that Support Small Businesses
The following organizations strive to provide services in multiple languages and prioritize BIPOC businesses.
- Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle – With a vision of equity for all, the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle (ULMS) empowers those they serve by providing programming and services designed to support and encourage self-sufficiency in all aspects of life. Areas of focus include advocacy & civic engagement, education, housing, public health, workforce development and entrepreneurship programming all designed to connect and provide ongoing culturally relevant assistance.
- El Centro de la Raza – Strives to use social, cultural, educational, economic and civic activities as vehicles to bring people together. Small business support includes obtaining licenses, permits, financial counseling, banking, and marketing. Provides ongoing workshops, business development advice, credit counseling, and access to a variety of resources for small business owners. Vendors of programs can also participate in regular pop-up mercados and the Food Incubator Program.
- Ventures Nonprofit – provides access to business training, capital, coaching, and hands-on learning opportunities for entrepreneurs. Ventures serves those for whom traditional business development services are out of reach, with a focus on women, people of color, immigrants, and individuals who are low income.
- Business.WA.GOV Small Business Guidance -This free guide provides links to valuable resources, and outlines the steps for starting and operating a business in the state of Washington (available in six languages).
- Evergreen BizLink – Washington business resource navigator offering referrals, networking, help connecting startups and existing businesses with local, regional and statewide resource partners who provide business and financial technical assistance to help businesses grow and prosper.
- Washington State Microenterprise Association (WSMA) – provides economic development for Washington businesses by providing tools and resources for the smallest of Washington’s businesses to thrive.
- Washington Economic Development Association (WEDA)- Washington State’s only trade association laser-focused on economic development, WEDA is committed to recovering, retaining, recruiting and expanding jobs and re-investment in Washington State.
- Startup Washington – managed by the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness and serves as a clearinghouse for all the information and resources entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses need to achieve success, including funding sources, training and technical assistance, mentorship, education and information.
- ScaleUp Business Training was designed to help established businesses increase profitability, build capacity, and spur growth. The training is also available in Spanish. This program which normally costs $1,599 is currently provided at no cost to Washington State businesses through June 30, 2025.
- SCORE – the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, is dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals. SCORE provides mentoring, webinars and variety of business resources.
- Business Impact NW – a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) dedicated to serving underbanked entrepreneurs. They provide coaching, classes, and access to capital to community small businesses, with an emphasis on working with traditionally underserved populations – entrepreneurial low/moderate income earners, women, BIPOC, veterans, immigrants or members of the LGBTQ+ community.
- Seattle Public Library – Get the information you need to plan and start your business. The Library to Business program offers free access to valuable research and databases that provide information about competitors, customers, market trends and more. Attend an event to connect with experts, learn about tools or meet with a business librarian.
Food Business Resources
- Food Business Resource Center – a program from Business Impact NW that offers robust assistance to food and farm businesses.
- The Kitchen Door – a network to find licensed commercial kitchens.
- Second Mile Marketplace and Food Hub – a shared community space open for food producers, food businesses to produce craft foods in a licensed facility located in Vancouver, WA.
Independent Contractors & Hiring Entities
- City of Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS)
- Independent Contractor Protections Ordinance (ICPO) – this new law went into effect September 1, 2022.
- OLS Languages page – translated resources can be found by clicking the desired language and searching the webpage.
- Administrative rules for the Independent Contractor Protections Ordinance – these rules govern the practices of the Seattle Office of Labor Standards in administering the requirements of the Independent Contractor Protections Ordinance Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) 14.34.
- Legal Alert for ICPO – this resource gives an overview of the law that went into effect September 1, 2022.
- Graphic poster for Independent Contractor Protections Ordinance (ICPO).
- Resources for Independent Contractors
- A Guide for Independent Contractors
- Recording of ICPO Webinar for Independent Contractors
- El audio en español del Seminario Web para Contratistas Independientes está disponible a pedido por email.
- Resources for Hiring Entities
- A Guide for Hiring Entities
- Recording of ICPO Webinar for Hiring Entities
- El audio en español del Seminario Web para Entidades Contratantes está disponible a pedido por email.
- Presentation slides for ICPO Webinar for Hiring Entities
Legal Clinics Offered in Washington State/ Seattle Area
The following clinics address different needs. Please contact the organization directly to learn more about eligibility and availability.
Communities Rise (CR) does not endorse any particular attorney, legal service or organization and makes no representation, guarantee or warranty (express or implied) as to the legal ability, competence, cost, quality, or reliability of any legal services provided by the mentioned organizations. CR does not receive payment from any organization and this suggestion is not intended to be advertising or client solicitation.
- King County Bar Neighborhood Legal Clinics – Neighborhood Legal Clinics are open and accepting appointment requests, with most clinic locations operating via telephone.
- El Centro de la Raza Legal Clinic – Presented by the Latino/a Bar Association of Washington, King County Bar Association and El Centro de la Raza.
- Washington Lawyers for the Arts – Founded in 1976, Washington Lawyers for the Arts (WLA) is a nonprofit service organization dedicated to supporting the arts in Washington state by creating alliances and making legal resources accessible to artists and arts organizations of all disciplines.
- Eastside Legal Assistance Program – ELAP’s programs are free and include civil legal aid services (family law and custody, debt and bankruptcy, wills and estate planning, housing and eviction, immigration, domestic violence, discrimination), legal clinics, and community education.
- Lavender Rights Project – Lavender Rights Project proudly offers FREE affirming, supportive legal services for Black and Indigenous communities in Washington State, with a focus on uplifting Black trans women and femmes. Legal services include free direct representation, consultations, and issue based legal clinics for issues related to criminal law.
- Northwest Justice Project – NJP provides legal assistance to eligible low-income families and individuals needing help with civil (non-criminal) legal problems in Washington state.
- Washington Law Help – is a library of free “know your rights” articles, videos, court forms and do-it-yourself packets covering many common legal issues such as family law, eviction/housing, public benefits and money/debt problems. Washington Forms Online provides do-it-yourself court forms on a variety of non-criminal legal issues. This site also includes a directory of legal aid programs in Washington state. It’s a good place to start researching your legal issue.