Ascend National Cohort Program September 2023 – April 2024


Solutions-Oriented Approach
Businesses that participate in the Ascend National Cohort enter with a defined opportunity/challenge that, when addressed, leads to business growth. Prior business opportunities/challenges have included business acquisition, international expansion, reducing employee turnover, and reducing inventory and production costs, among others. The Ascend National Cohort becomes a tool through which businesses access a breadth and depth of resources unavailable in other programs to meet the challenge and grow their profitability.

The 2023-24 program follows a successful inaugural year that saw 48 businesses improve their operations, which has led to growth rates between 5% and 50% since September 2022.

Businesses that will benefit the most from the Ascend National Cohort are those MBEs that have revenues in the $2-9 million range and are seeking to grow to $20 million in the next two years. Businesses are typically nominated for this program by one of their clients or customers. Ascend focuses on businesses that target sales in B2B or B2G environments. Read more

Pierce County Offers Free Short Courses for Small Business Owners

Hey, Pierce County Business Owners! Check out these nine new Short Courses through Pierce County’s Business Skills program. Created specifically for busy small business owners and entrepreneurs as a way to work on their business on their own time, at their own pace. FREE, on-demand business skills training is now available to help small businesses start, grow, and stay on track. Classes focus on the basics of how to succeed in business and quickly build skills to immediately put into practice.

Sign up and start working on these key areas for business success: bookkeeping, tax reporting, business planning, business law, sales skills, marketing strategies, graphic design, web design, and intercultural communication. The Pierce County Business Skills Program’s free curriculum is developed in partnership with Pacific Lutheran University as part of the Pierce County Community Navigator program and is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act.

Sign up today!

Achieve More Grant – Applications Open

Washington MBDA Business Center is proud to present the Achieve More Grant (AMG) where a total of $200,000 funds are available to Women & Minority-owned businesses to help drive innovation and economic growth in our region.  The “Achieve More” Grant is designed to help eligible women & minority-owned small businesses throughout the state of Washington to offset three types of costs:

  • Infrastructure Improvements (up to $5,000)
  • Employee Training (up to $5,000)
  • Business & Technological Equipment (up to $5,000)

Read the press release by City of Tacoma here for more details.  Applications are accepted through March 19, 2023 at 11:59PM.** 

**Update, March 20, 2023: Applications closed as of March 19, 2023. Applications are currently under review. Awardees will be announced Friday May 26, 2023.

All candidates must complete the initial Eligibility Questionnaire (see link below) and submit their intent to attend at least “one” Achieve More Grant workshop.  Workshops are free to attend and will be held in-person and virtually.

Visit the Achieve More Grant webpage for more details, criteria, and to apply.

January Update from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for Business Owners

Please see the following newsletter from IRS for small business owners for January 2023.

►Hot Off the Press:

  • More news about 1099-K rules. Check here for continuing updates: Form 1099-K Frequently Asked Questions: General | Internal Revenue Service (
  • IR 2022-226 – IRS announces delay for implementation of $600 reporting threshold for third-party payment platforms’ Forms 1099-K
  • IR-2022-234 – IRS issues standard mileage rates for 2023; business use increases 3 cents per mile
  • IR-2022-231 – IRS releases frequently asked questions about clean vehicles credits for new, previously owned and commercial clean vehicles
  • IR-2022-225 – IRS releases frequently asked questions about energy efficient home improvements and residential clean energy property credits

►Upcoming Webinars and Events

►New Tax Tips

  • Connect to the IRS social media and e-news subscriptions for tax time tips and resources English | Spanish
  • TIGTA Report – Backlogs of Tax Returns and Other Account Work Will Continue Into the 2023 Filing Season

► Cybersecurity and ID Theft News

► IRS YouTube Channel 

► & Additional Resources   


Pierce County Business Accelerator Directory – Discover Local BIPOC, Women, and Veteran-Owned Businesses with a New Tool

Pierce County Business Accelerator

Shop local for the holidays and support BIPOC, women, and veteran-owned small businesses via a new online directory.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber has launched a new tool to help find businesses owned by BIPOC, women, and veterans. Visit to find and support local entrepreneurs this holiday season!

The directory spotlights Pierce County Business Accelerator program (PCBA) graduate businesses, offering a variety of goods and services. The directory is searchable by businesses location and category and includes an interactive map.

Visit today to discover a PCBA business near you and explore opportunities to support local business owners!

Starting October 3rd: Minority Businesses in King and Pierce Counties Can Apply for $10K Grant from Comast RISE Investment Fund

As part of Comcast RISE, small businesses owned by women and people of color, including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian American owners in Pierce & King Counties may apply for a $10,000 grant from the Comcast RISE Investment Fund. Comcast will award $1 million in grants to 100 eligible businesses in these two counties, as well as technology and marketing resources to eligible businesses statewide.

Beginning on October 3, and through October 16, eligible businesses can apply for Comcast RISE monetary grants, and, or marketing and technology Services at Winners will be notified in November.

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce Partners with City of Tacoma and Comcast on Thrive Tacoma Business Fund

September 13, 2022 – The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce is honored to partner with the City of Tacoma and Comcast to lead the Thrive Tacoma Business Fund, which will provide $150,000 of direct financial support to BIPOC and women-owned small businesses in Tacoma. The point of this fund is to see small businesses recover, survive, and thrive in the face of challenges dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to affect many local businesses.

This partnership is part of Comcast’s Project UP initiative, a $1 billion commitment to advance digital equity and bring new opportunities to tens of millions of people over the next ten years.

Applications for the Thrive Tacoma Business Fund open on September 15th, 2022 and will be available to access on the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber website.

Read more at Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Blog

Small Business Flex Fund to help you grow your business

Supported by the Washington State Department of Commerce, the Fund helps small businesses and nonprofits access the financial support they need to thrive.  Small businesses and nonprofits can borrow up to $150,000 and the money can be spent flexibly, including on payroll, utilities & rent, supplies, marketing & advertising, building improvements or repairs, and other business expenses.

Apply now for:

  • flexible working capital loans
  • low-interest rates
  • 60-month repayment timeline
  • Fewer than 50 employees
  • Annual revenues of less than $3 million
  • Experienced direct economic hardship due to COVID-19
  • Small businesses must have been in business for at least one year prior to the date of application OR, the business must meet one of the following criteria:
  • Demonstrate three or more years of operating experience in the industry through previous ownership or management OR
  • Be a previous borrower of the CDFI and have had no repayment issues
  • Non-profits must have been in operation since at least January 2019.

LOAN use is flexible and can be utilized to pay for the following business expenses:

Utilities & rent
Marketing & advertising
Building improvements or repairs
Other business expenses

Click Here For More Information

Application Portal Now Open – Convention Center Grant, Due 9/9/2022

Due Date: September 9 at 5:00 PM

The Washington State Legislature has allocated $5 million for a grant program to assist businesses and non-profits that are dependent to maintain their operations on the economic activity created through conventions hosted in Washington state.  The Washington Department of Commerce will manage the Convention Center Grant Program.

Grant Amount: Eligible businesses may receive up to a $500,000 grant.  Commerce is permitted to reduce prior Working Washington grants and/or prioritize those who have not yet received a grant.

UPDATED General Timeline:

  • August 17 – September 9, 2022:  Application portal will remain open for 24 days.
  • Mid – late September:  Application review.
  • Early October:  Commerce to notify grantees and disburse funding.

You are eligible to apply if you meet the following criteria:

  • Are an active for-profit or non-profit business or organization,
  • Have a UEI (Unique Entity Identifier) number – no longer the DUNS (Data Universal Number System),
  • Have not reported annual gross receipts of more than $100 million in 2019,
  • Have expenses that are necessary to continue business operations, and the expense is not a federal, state or local tax, fee, license or other government revenue,
  • Have met one or more of these criteria:
  • Hosted an in-person convention in Washington state that allows for all ages of the general public to attend,
  • Provided support services to conventions in Washington state, or
  • Depended on the function of conventions to sell goods and services in Washington state,
  • Be able to demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak,
  • Make more than 25% of annual revenue from convention activities,
  • Have reported total revenues of at least $10,000 in 2019,
  • Generate at least 51% of revenue in Washington state,
  • Have not permanently closed or do not intend to permanently close in 2022, and
  • Follow all COVD-19 health requirementsClick Here To Apply

    Related Webinars:
  • Resources and Information About The Working Washington Grants: Round 5 (WWR5) Program:

    Resources and Information About The Convention Center Grants (CCG) Program:


Application Portal Now Open – Working Washington Grant Round 5, Due 9/9/2022

Due Date: September 9 at 5:00 PM

The Washington State Legislature has allocated a new round of grant funding for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  It appropriated $70 million in its next sequence of Working Washington Grants: Round 5.

Grant Amount: Eligible businesses may receive up to a $75,000 grant.  Commerce is permitted to reduce prior Working Washington grants and/or prioritize those who have not yet received a grant.

Eligible for-profit and non-profit businesses, including tribal member-owned business operating on a reservation with a license issued by a federally recognized tribe in Washington state, may apply. Award amounts will vary and are subject to review and adjustment pending application volume, reported losses, and take into account previous Working Washington grant awards received from Commerce or affiliated partners.

General Timeline:

  • August 17 – September 9: Application portal will remain open for 24 days
  • Mid – Late September: Review of applications
  • Early October: Commerce will notify grantees and disburse funding

Grant Criterias & More Information can be found:

Click Here To Apply

Related Webinars: 

  1. Washington Small Business Development Center:  Working Washington 5 Grant Application Walkthrough – Click here to watch the recording (Firefox recommended)
  2. Washington Small Business Development Center:  Working Washington 5 Grant Information – Click here to watch the recording
  3. Washington Hospitality Association:  Working Washington 5 Grant Application Process – YouTube 
  4. One Eastside SPARK:  Working Washington 5 Grant Information, Including Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) Walkthrough – Click below to watch the recording in: