Councilmember Harrell and PSRC Launch “Performance First”
Program boosts regional business organizations, minority-owned businesses
SEATTLE – On Oct. 15, Councilmember Bruce Harrell and the Puget Sound Regional Council’s (PSRC) Prosperity Partnership launched the “Performance First” program and website. Performance First was developed in response to the Prosperity Partnership’s regional economic strategy, and its focus on supporting small business and entrepreneurship in creating jobs and ensuring long-term economic prosperity. This innovative new program helps large employers in the region – including current participants like Swedish Hospital, Puget Sound Energy and Starbucks – implement best practices that include minority-owned businesses in their procurement and purchasing efforts.
“Our quality of life, as we know it in this region, is at stake,” said Councilmember Harrell, chair of Performance First. “The PSRC and the Prosperity Partnership are committed to protecting it, and this program helps companies boost the bottom line and better connect to their customers by more effectively partnering with minority-owned businesses.” Harrell also emphasizes the importance of companies learning to use changing demographics to their strategic advantage.
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On June 3rd, I attended the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD) conference in Washington D.C. The conference served as an opportunity for community groups across America to engage in roundtable discussion with congressional staff, discuss the President’s initiatives, and the impact and direction at the local level. Our work on Seattle’s Housing Levy was of interest to many community development leaders across the country.
I also scheduled and attended a meeting with former Governor and current Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke. One of the main operating functions of the Department of Commerce is economic development and minority business development; these are two issues that have been an integral part of my work plan. In my meeting with Secretary Locke, I introduced the concept of our Minority Business Toolkit. Also, on June 16, 2009, I announced the toolkit at the 14th Annual Report to the Community Luncheon presented by the UW Foster School of Business and Economic Development Center. As chair of the Prosperity Partnership Performance First Committee, I worked with the University of Washington’s Business Economic Development Center to develop the Minority Business Toolkit. This toolkit allows large businesses to have the “tools” to do business with smaller, minority businesses. It also makes the “business case” of profitability to support our proposition that doing business with minority businesses should be a core strategy to leverage the diverse marketplace, workplace and changing demographics of our world. Secretary Locke and I had a great working discussion about how we can leverage our work to create jobs, opportunities and prosperous partnerships.
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