Business Resources

Lakewood and Pierce County offer many opportunities for entrepreneurs or small businesses interested in starting or expanding operations. This page provides a comprehensive list of business resources in the South Sound area.

Becky Newton
Economic Development Manager
6000 Main St. SW, 3rd Floor
Lakewood, WA 98499
(253) 983-7738

Email: BNewton
To email Becky Newton add her email handle before @cityoflakewood.us

Phones & Email:
Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Permit and Service Counter
Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Start Your Business
Grow Your Business
Workforce Development
Education and Training
BIPOC Programs
BIPOC Partners
Veterans Programs
Finance
Regional Partners
Import Assistance
Other Resources

Start Your Business

Access Washington

Access Washington is the main online portal for the State of Washington. Find information, apply for a business license, file your taxes, and more!

Choose Washington

Choose Washington is a resource within the Washington State DoC that provides information and incentives for bringing business to Washington State.

Washington Businesshub

Washington Businesshub is a resource for operating a business in Washington State. It includes resources for planning, starting, running, and growing your business.

Business Impact NW

Business Impact NW provides assistance to new small business start-ups with microloan financing, training, and coaching.

Rain Incubator

The Rain Incubator is run by a local nonprofit organization which supports biotech companies in Pierce County.

The William Factory Small Business Incubator

The William Factory Small Business Incubator assists with access to capital, mentoring, workshops, strategy, and connections. This program is limited to one-on-one assistance, but workshops are free and open to the public.

Tacoma Maritime Incubator

The Tacoma Maritime Incubator supports up to 7 startup businesses with mentorship and free rent.

Startup253

Startup253 is a startup resource and networking hub which brings together entrepreneurial leaders, venture capital, and more to advance local startups and place the South Sound at the forefront of innovation and creativity.


Grow Your Business

Lakewood Chamber of Commerce

The Lakewood Chamber of Commerce connects the diverse population of Lakewood through positive, active leadership. They build relationships for member businesses with government agencies, schools, citizens, and valued military partners.

Impact Washington

Impact Washington supports Washington manufacturers to identify their unique challenges and opportunities to improve efficiency, working conditions, and profits.

Washington Small Business Development Center

Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC) advisors provide one-on-one, confidential, no-cost advising on all phases of small business development and are often co-located with economic development specialists in community colleges, economic development agencies or government agencies. Other services of the Washington SBDC include no-cost or low-cost workshops on a variety of business topics and customized market research services.

Pierce County WSBDC Business Advisor:

Ann Zimmerman
950 Pacific Ave, Ste #452
Tacoma, WA, 98402
Phone: 253-268-3339
Email: [email protected]

Washington State Small Business Resiliency Network

The Washington State Department of Commerce’s Small Business Resiliency Network helps small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic find and apply for resources, access translation services, navigate local, state and federal funding and plan for economic recovery.

Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center

Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) works to help companies succeed. We guide companies through the entire process of applying for and fulfilling government contracts, from helping you determine what kind of products and services government needs, to registration, bidding and more. PTAC services include: Interpretations of solicitations, registrations and certifications, training and seminars, specifications & drawings, marketing assistance, post award assistance, and a computerized bid match service.

Washington DOC – Small Business Services

The Washington State Department of Commerce Small Business Services provides a range of services designed to meet the diverse needs of small businesses in Washington, from education and training to business loans, export assistance, and crisis planning.

U.S. Small Business Administration

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers programs that specifically support the needs of small business, such as loan assistance, equity financing, surety bonding, and financing to assist with acquisition, operation or expansion.

National Development Council

The National Development Council (NDC) is a national nonprofit that serves to increase the flow of capital for investment in low-income communities. NDC directs capital to support the development and preservation of affordable housing, the creation of jobs through training and small business lending and the advancement of livable communities through investment in social infrastructure.


Workforce Development

Workforce Central

Workforce Central stewards the Pierce County Workforce Development System. They bridge the gap between job seekers, employers, and community organizations to build a robust workforce pipeline and ensure economic vitality across the region.

Workforce Central Business Solutions Manager:

Samuel A. Bradshaw
3640 South Cedar Street, Suite E
Tacoma, WA 98409
Phone:  253-345-9037

WorkSource

WorkSource is a statewide partnership of state, local and nonprofit agencies that provides an array of employment and training services to job seekers and employers in Washington.

Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit

The Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit available to employers who invest in American job seekers who have consistently faced barriers to employment.  Employers may meet their business needs and claim a tax credit if they hire an individual who is in a WOTC targeted group.

Employers must apply for and receive a certification verifying the new hire is a member of a targeted group before they can claim the tax credit. After the required certification is secured, taxable employers claim the WOTC as a general business credit against their income taxes, and tax-exempt employers claim the WOTC against their payroll taxes.

Washington State Job Skills Program

The Washington State Job Skills Program (JSP) awards grants to licensed educational institutions in Washington. JSP funds half of the training cost; partner employers provide a cash or in-kind match to fund the other half.

Funds are awarded on a first-approved, rolling basis throughout the fiscal year. Applications are reviewed by a standing sub-committee of the Workforce Training Customer Advisory Committee.


Education and Training

Pierce College

Pierce College offers several four-year degrees in high-demand fields with local placement opportunities.

Click here for more information on bachelor degree programs at Pierce College

  • Applied Science in Business Management
  • Applied Science in Construction Management
  • Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Applied Science in Fire Services Leadership & Management
  • Applied Science Homeland Security Emergency Management
  • Applied Science in Teaching

Pierce College also offers several direct transfer programs which allow students to seamlessly transition from a local post-secondary school to a 4-year university program.

Click here for more information on direct transfer programs at Pierce College

  • Associate in Biology
  • Associate in Business
  • Associate in Construction Management
  • Associate in Math Education
  • Associate in Music
  • Associate in Pre-Nursing

Clover Park Technical College (CPTC)

CPTC offers several competitive four-year degrees.

Click here for more information about CPTC programs.

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Interior Design
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechatronics Engineering Technology & Automation
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Operations Management

CPTC Corporate Education

CPTC Corporate Education offers tailor-made workforce services to Pierce County organizations. Services are delivered by industry experts versed in organizational complexities; certified providers of industry-recognized assessments, tools and evaluations; and professionals who know that adult learning is a process – not an event.

  • Leadership and management development.
  • Industrial and technical skills.
  • Communication and soft skills.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  • Process improvement.
  • Project management.
  • Team building.

Contact Information:
[email protected]
253-583-8865

Tacoma Public Schools Career & Technical Education (CTE) Programs

CTE programs ensure that each student is job-ready with at least one industry-recognized certification. Maritime 253 is a skills center focused on developing professional maritime skills serving the South Puget Sound Region.

Join the CTE Professional Network – NEXT MOVE

The NEXT MOVE internship program works with local businesses and non-profit organizations to design meaningful professional positions for high school juniors and seniors. Students earn high school credit for the unpaid internship experience.

  • Are you a business or organization with three (3) or more employees?
  • Are you located in the Tacoma area?
  • Are you willing to host an unpaid high school intern for 4-8 hours a week?

Click here for more information on the NEXT MOVE program


BIPOC Programs

Pierce County Business Accelerator

The Pierce County Business Accelerator will serve entrepreneurs and business owners throughout Pierce County with a focus on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) veteran, and women-owned businesses to help foster innovation and create wealth-building opportunities.

Washington State Office of Minority Business Development Center

The Minority Business Development Agency Business Center is operated by the City of Tacoma. The center is part of a national network of funded centers located in major cities throughout the United States. The program’s objective is to provide ongoing, quality assistance to minority businesses with rapid
growth potential so that they can achieve greater participation in the development of the nation’s commerce.

Washington State Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises

The Washington State Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE) develops programs designed to improve the contributions of minority- and women-owned small businesses to the Washington state economy.


BIPOC Partners

Asia Pacific Cultural Center

The Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was formed in November 1996. APCC represents 47 countries and cultures, offering programs and services honoring their distinct artistry, business protocols, history, and social practices.

Korean Women’s Association

The Korean Women’s Association (KWA) is a registered 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, providing multicultural, multi-lingual human services, regardless of race or ethnic background, to diverse communities through education, socialization, advocacy, and support.

Mi Centro

Mi Centro is a community-based nonprofit that works with Latino and Indigenous Native families. Explore
their website and learn more about our educational programs, crisis intervention, family outreach services,
Arts & Culture programming, or join our advocacy efforts that address the concerns and opportunities for our families and community.

The Black Collective

The Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective is a community of Black people dedicated to civic engagement through volunteer service.


Veterans Programs

Service Member for Life Transition Assistance Program

The Service Member for Life Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) offers job fairs, quarterly networking gatherings, employer spotlight events, weekly brown bag information sessions, job posting services and more.

Veterans Incubator for Better Entrepreneurship

The Veterans Incubator for Better Entrepreneurship (VIBE), run by the University of Washington Tacoma provides an applied training environment that supports military veterans and their entrepreneurial aspirations.


Finance

Evergreen Business Capital

Evergreen Business Capital is the Northwest’s leading Small Business Administration Certified Development Company Loan Program expert. Since 1980, they have partnered with lenders in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Northern Idaho to provide loans for small businesses in the Northwest.

Craft3

Craft3 provides loans that launch startups, help businesses and nonprofits expand, and let homeowners invest in their property.

Business Impact Northwest

Business Impact Northwest works with small business owners by providing the business coaching, training, and access to funding they need to successfully launch and grow their businesses.

Mercy Corps Northwest

Mercy Corps Northwest offers loans ranging from $500 to $10,000 to small business owners who are looking to start or grow their enterprise. These loans support businesses at all stages including owners with less than a year in operation and established entrepreneurs looking to expand operations. Mercy Corp Northwest focuses on making capital available to entrepreneurs who cannot receive traditional funding from banks or credit unions.

Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board Financing Programs

Click here to view financing programs presented by the Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board

Pierce County C-Pacer Program

The Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resiliency (C-PACER) program is an innovative financing mechanism to help commercial, industrial, agricultural, and multi-family buildings become more efficient and resilient. The C-PACER program allows owners and developers of eligible properties in Pierce County to obtain long-term financing, at a lower interest rate, for qualifying energy generation, energy efficiency, water conservation or resiliency projects


Regional Partners

Pierce County Economic Development Resources

The Pierce County Economic Development Resources page includes information about importing/exporting, tax incentives, doing business with the government, business forums, business education, and more!

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce is a private, membership based organization that promotes economic prosperity and provides networking opportunities in the South Sound.

Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board

The Economic Development Board (EDB) for Tacoma-Pierce County is a nonprofit economic development organization focused on helping Tacoma-Pierce County businesses reach their pure potential. The EDB specializes in serving companies interested in locating their business in the city of Tacoma and throughout Pierce County.

South Sound Manufacturing Industrial Council

The Manufacturing Industrial Council promotes a positive business climate for manufacturing and related industries. The group is dedicated to safeguarding and improving people’s lives, creating a sustainable environment, and providing the jobs that anchor Washington’s economy.

Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation & Assistance

The Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA) helps businesses nnavigate Washington’s environmental and business regulatory systems and works to improve those systems.

Washington State Department of Commerce

The Washington State Department of Commerce (DoC) touches every aspect of community and economic development. This includes planning, infrastructure, energy, public facilities, housing, public safety and crime victims, international trade, business services and more. The DoC works with local governments, tribes, businesses and civic leaders throughout the state to strengthen communities so all residents may thrive and prosper.

Washington Economic Development Association

The Washington Economic Development Association (WEDA) is a state-wide non-profit association of private businesses, economic development councils, ports, governments, and other stakeholders committed to enhancing economic development. WEDA focuses on recovering, retaining, recruiting, and expanding jobs and re-investment in Washington State.


Import Assistance

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Tips for New Importers and Exporters

In order to avoid potential problems in the clearance of your merchandise, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) strongly recommends that you familiarize yourself with CBP policies and procedures prior to actually importing/exporting your goods. You should also be aware of any entry requirements specific to the particular commodity you are importing/exporting, including those of other federal agencies. To assist you, we offer the following tips for new importers and exporters.

Northwest Seaport Alliance Import & Export Guide

Navigating the logistics maze can be overwhelming and confusing for first-time shippers. We’re here to help.

In this guide, you’ll find the basics of importing and exporting through The Northwest Seaport Alliance and links to resources that can help you move your cargo.

Find Broker by Port

Click here to find a broker by Port (Tacoma, Seattle)

Trade Passport Webinars

The Trade Passport website is a resource aimed at providing on-demand training, local resources, and rapid expert assistance to USA-based small-medium-sized businesses that are focused on international trade as a pathway to business growth. 

Click here to view Trade Passport webinars (Some free content, some paid content)


Other Resources

Business Resource and Developers Forums

November 2021 Business Resources Forum

The City of Lakewood partnered with the Tacoma Pierce County Economic Development Board to deliver a high-impact forum on November 10th. This included opening remarks by County Executive Bruce Dammeier and Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson. Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland addressed the 119 attendees with encouragement and support.

Panelists included Christine Buckley, Business Impact NW, Nigel Turner, Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, Erik Duke, Washington State Department of Revenue, Tom Brown, Lee & Associates; John Stebbins, WA Labor & Industries, Janie Vigil, Aero Precision; and, Wilton Waverly, DEI Manager for City of Lakewood.

Presentations:

Funding Landscape – Business Impact NW
Human Resources Best Practices – Aero Precision USA
Washington Labor & Industries COVID Requirements
Health Department Update

2019 Developers Forum

Lakewood Deputy Mayor Jason Whalen welcomed over 100 attendees to the 5th Annual Lakewood Developer’s Forum June 13, 2019.

Congressman Denny Heck (via video) spoke about the housing crisis and what we can collectively do about it.

Attendees appreciated hearing from the city’s Development Services Team about the Lakewood Downtown Plan, comprehensive plan and code amendments, Colonial Center Plaza, capital improvements, industrial development, and Pacific Highway redevelopment efforts.

Guests also enjoyed a detailed report on how demographics shape residential development from Annie Radecki, Vice President, Pacific Northwest of John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

Mark Knowlden, Opportunity Development Group, wrapped up the event with a timely presentation on Opportunity Zones and how to take advantage of this federal incentive.

This annual event is geared toward Real Estate brokers, developers, contractors, property owners and partners. It is a great way for those interested in developing in Lakewood to learn about what’s happening in the city, including priority projects and why Lakewood is recognized as a leader in the South Sound.

Read attendee feedback from this year’s event and responses by the city.

Other 2019 Presentations:

Past Developers Forums

2018

2017

2016