New Seattle University Business Program Helps Local Businesses
Thanks to a new collaboration among student volunteers, professors and local small businesses, Seattle neighborhoods are gaining help to stay, grow, and thrive. The Resource Amplification and Management Program, dubbed RAMP.up, was the inspiration of Sue Oliver, the executive director of Seattle University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center.
What sets this partnership between the Seattle University Albers School of Business and the city apart is its emphasis on accountability over time. RAMP.up isn’t a program where business students just swoop in, do a quick analysis, make recommendations, and leave. Instead, local Seattle businesses are assigned a Seattle University team who they work with over a strategic time frame to connect with existing resources and providers.
The program specifically focuses on minority, immigrant and women-owned businesses in under-served neighborhoods that have difficulty accessing traditional resources for capital and other services. These are the businesses that also face the largest challenges when it comes to Seattle’s booming economy, including rising rents, lost retail space, disruption from construction and changing markets.
Students who volunteer for the program come from a wide range of backgrounds and skill sets, but they all gain consulting experience in the real world. As for the business owner, they gain important technical and personal support to help stabilize and grow their business.
Though RAMP.up is still in its first year, so far it has seen some incredible accomplishments. According to an article on the Yesler Community Collaborative page titled, Seattle University’s RAMP.up program engages neighborhood small businesses, the program has seen:
- 15 neighborhood businesses served
- 12 service providers served
- 15 team members (staff, interns, and volunteers)
- Three consulting firms ready for partnering
- Six Albers/business classes in partnership
- Business training program in process (train-the-trainer)
- Student training program in place
- Volunteer training and service awards program in process
For students interested in volunteering, they must be willing to commit at least four hours a month for a minimum of three months.