Washington State is committed to helping its small businesses grow. One way to do that is to help business leaders get over the inevitable hump that occurs in the second stage of a company’s life. Typically, businesses at this stage know that they need to grow, they just don’t know how, where or when.

Washington’s Thrive! program is designed to reduce this risk while increasing the potential for growth by engaging business specialists from throughout the country to help a company more fully understand its strengths, challenges, and most importantly, opportunities. Companies typically experience a 15% to 30% increase in revenues as a result of the program.

At its core is a group of highly specialized professionals who serve as your virtual research team. Working together with the company’s management team, they provide analysis on a range of topics such as core strategy, market dynamics, qualified sales leads, innovation, operations, finance, human resources and temperament.

Leveraging sophisticated corporate tools often not available to second-stagers, the team functions like an adjunct research staff, providing CEOs with information to make better decisions about critical issues. Researchers show second-stagers the big picture so they can make necessary adjustments that lead to increased growth and profitability.




What are second-stage growth companies?

  • Private, for-profit companies that have been operating in a Washington State community for at least two years.
  • Employ between 6-99 employees.
  • Generate between $750,000 and $50 million in annual revenue.
  • Demonstrate the intent and capacity to grow.
  • Provide products and services beyond the local area.

What are the benefits of going through the program?

Thrive! allows you to:

  • Identify market trends, potential competitors and unknown resources.
  • Map geographic areas for targeted marketing.
  • Raise visibility in search engine results and increased web traffic.
  • Track websites, blogs and online communities to better understand competitors and current and potential customers.
  • Make informed decisions on core strategies and the business model.
  • Gain access to competitive data intelligence.
  • Optimize internal operations.

How does the program work?

  • The research team coordinates scheduling with participating CEOs.
  • Participating CEOs spend 8 to 12 hours collaborating with researchers.
  • The research team spends 20 to 24 additional hours working on your specific business issues.
  • It then conducts a follow-up engagement to review findings and collaborate on implementation.
  • The entire process takes about 4 to 6 weeks from start to finish.

What are the deliverables?

  • Identification of critical industry trends, current and new competitors and implementation of underutilized resources.
  • Enhanced visibility in new media and web traffic, including improved search engine rankings.
  • Improved tracking of digital information and online communications to improve knowledge of customers and competitors.
  • Improved operational efficiencies related to human resources, finances and other internal issues.
  • Timely data that can be used to shape core strategies and future decision-making in order to better respond to the dynamic market encountered by the business.

Who are the targeted businesses?

Any second-stage company meeting the basic qualifications are encouraged to apply. Priority may be given to qualifying targeted businesses that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Located in underserved counties based on the latest employment security department designation.
  • Based in rural counties based on a combination of Census Bureau and Office of Financial Management related data and definitions.
  • Based in counties that may suffer significant transitions as a result of the military downsizing.
  • Qualify as women, minority or veteran-owned business.

What does it cost?

The total cost of the Thrive! program is $5,000. The participating business pays $750 of that amount. The Department of Commerce covers the rest.


Ready to apply?

Thrive! will be offered in the fall of 2019. If you are interested in applying, please email us and we will notify you when the program is ready to accept applications.

Success Stories

Bite Me, Inc.

Deborah Tuggle operates two all-natural, organic cookie companies based in Lakewood, Washington: Friday’s Cookies, a gourmet line, and Bite Me! Inc., which provides baked shortbread cookies and frozen dough balls for baking. Read the Case Study.

SCJ Alliance

A Lacey-based planning and engineering firm, SCJ Alliance entered Washington’s statewide Economic Gardening program in June 2016. Read the Case Study.

Washington Vision Therapy Center

The Yakima-based company, which generates more than $1 million in annual revenue, entered Washington’s statewide Economic Gardening program looking for help with expansion efforts. Read the Case Study.

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