As part of Seattle’s effort to help support and expand the city’s startup community, the Office of Economic Development (OED) today named Seattle tech community veteran Rebecca Lovell as the new Startup Liaison for the City of Seattle.
The position was created as part of the Startup Seattle program, originally launched by Red Russak as an independent initiative before it was taken over by the city and championed by former Mayor Mike McGinn in May 2013.
“A key part of supporting Seattle’s growing economy is to make strategic investments in our competitive industry sectors, from technology to manufacturing,” said Mayor Ed Murray in a news release. “Nurturing our startups and helping innovative entrepreneurs expand in our city will allow our technology sector to continue to grow and support more jobs.”
The program, designed to help keep more companies around town by acting as a concierge service for startups that need resources, nearly lost the $151,000 in city funds dedicated to the initiative this past November, when the funding was questioned by some City Council members. However, the City Council voted to move forward with the program after a budget amendment failed to gain majority approval.
An OED spokesperson says $90,000 of the budget will be allocated to Lovell’s salary, plus $31,135 in benefits, with the remaining $26,865 going toward programming.
Lovell, previously GeekWire’s chief business officer, was most recently the interim executive director of the Northwest Entrepreneur Network, which was acquired by the Washington Technology Industry Association last month. Among other community roles, she has been an instructor at the University of Washington’s Foster MBA program for six years, and serves as a TechStars mentor.
She was selected based on recommendations of a technology industry task force brought together by the city. In her new role, Lovell will work with the OED and Startup Seattle advisory committee to help lay the groundwork for the Startup Seattle initiative.
“I love Seattle and the startup community, and couldn’t be more excited to be an advocate for our city,” Lovell said in news release. “We have so many key ingredients for success, and I look forward to working with community organizations, schools and universities, and future and current startuppers to ensure Seattle is on the international map of innovation where it belongs.”
The city has laid out a few plans for Startup Seattle, including partnerships with local organizations like Code.org and Startup Weekend and a marketing campaign to help attract talent to Seattle from across the country.