Business Community Ownership Fund

For Grow America

Brand taps into neighborhood roots to reach small businesses.

Rising commercial rents and displacement across Seattle have made it harder for BIPOC-, woman- and LGBTQ-owned small businesses to stay rooted in their neighborhoods. Grow America, in partnership with the Seattle Office of Economic Development, developed the Business Community Ownership Fund as an innovative, pro-equity program that connects business owners to affordable commercial real estate.

Listening and looking

We wanted the BCO Fund’s messaging and design to reflect the perspectives and enthusiasm of small business owners and advocates. We started by listening, hosting meetings with an advisory group of 10 small-business development stakeholders from a diverse set of Seattle neighborhoods. We interviewed small business owners to understand why this program would be meaningful to them. And, as part of our visual research, we put feet to pavement to study and draw inspiration from the textures, colors and shapes of Seattle’s historically BIPOC neighborhoods. 

Technical assistance guy walking in front of a bunch of posters pasted on a concrete wall

Logo, look and feel 

Inspired by the juxtaposition of modern facades and historical architecture, we built a logo around an image of a corner store. The typeface was made by a Black designer and inspired by protest signs from the March on Washington, creating a sense of energy while reminding us of the anti-racist values at the heart of the program. From those elements, we developed a vibrant look and feel that  reflected the client’s vision for communities. 

talk to teens about fentanyl paperwork
talk to teens about fentanyl paperwork

‘Explainer’ video 

To break down how the complex BCO Fund worked, we developed an animated video. From creative concept to illustration and scriptwriting, from storyboarding to animation, our client prioritized accessibility and relatability. The result is an engaging spot with a clear call to action for small–business owners. 

media buy video of over the shoulder cell phone

Media event

The BCO Fund hit a milestone when its first small business received its certificate of occupancy. La Union Studio, a BIPOC-owned architecture and interior design firm in Seattle’s Mount Baker neighborhood, had a new home. We partnered with the Office of Economic Development to host a press event, inviting key elected officials, business and community leaders, and local media. The event generated buzz for the BCO Fund and for La Union Studio. And as part of the event, our client and Seattle’s mayor announced the name of the BCO Fund’s second small business — a restaurant owned and operated by a Black woman entrepreneur. 

Let’s build a brand that connects with people.