Entrepreneurial Development Program – Self Employment Assistance Program

There are more than 3 million Latino-owned businesses in the United States (U.S.), a number up more than 40 percent since 2007, according to a Hispanics in Business 2014 study.  Latinos are starting businesses at three times the national rate.  Latinos, a $1.3 trillion U.S. consumer market, are fueling the economy and changing main street USA.  Never before, analysts say, has the success of America’s small businesses been so dependent on the success of Latino communities.  The Puget Sound Latino Chamber of Commerce developed and offers the Entrepreneurial Development Program, promoted by Washington State Employment Security Department as the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), for entrepreneurs of start-up, small and/or growing businesses.

Washington State’s Latino population is keeping with national trends in economic development and in many instances outpacing larger states.  Washington State is:

  • One of 16 states with at least half-million Latino residents
  • One of 20 states with Latinos the second largest community
  • Has a Latino population nearing 800,000 (12% of state total)
  • Experiencing unprecedented increases in Latino buying power – 788.1% compared to 265.9% for non-Latinos between 1990 and 2013
  • Expected to see increase of 1.5 million Latino residents by 2030
  • Experiencing more business growth in Latino community than any other community

Unemployed workers are creating new businesses and job opportunities for themselves and others through self-employment.  Washington State facilitates unemployment compensation recipients through the SEAP as they draw their unemployment, start a business, and not have to look for work while they receive professional/technical assistance, training, and consulting.

While participating in the SEAP, you can create a job in an occupation that interests you and helps stimulate the local economy. Each new business provides employment for you and for people you hire. SEAP offers a valuable option to eligible people who wish to run their own business. This program can give you the flexibility and income opportunity unavailable through traditional employment.

SEAP is a unique opportunity for you to enter into self-employment entrepreneurial training and receive business counseling while you collect unemployment benefits. If you qualify and enroll in an approved training program like PSLCC’s program, you do not have to look for other work while in this program.

The SEAP process:

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), you must:

  • Qualify for regular unemployment benefits.
  • Enroll in a training program that is approved by the Employment Security Department’s commissioner (PSLCC, Entrepreneurial Development Program is approved).
  • Be identified as likely to run out of benefits or be eligible for Commissioner-Approved Training (CAT).

Approved Training Programs

All approved self-employment training programs include:

  • Entrepreneurial training
  • Business counseling
  • Technical assistance
  • Requirements to engage in activities relating to setting up a business and becoming self-employed.

Application process

To apply for the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), you must:

Download and complete the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) application or pick one up at your local WorkSource office.
Contact a SEAP approved provider to see if you are eligible for their program. Some providers have income or other requirements that you must meet to participate in their training programs. Some training programs are available only to low-income applicants. Check the training-provider Web site (links are on the SEAP approved provider list) to review their specific eligibility requirements.
Have the training provider complete and sign the Program Provider Certification section on the application.

Mail your completed application to:

Employment Security Department
Attn: Training Benefits/SEAP Unit
PO Box 9046
Olympia, WA 98507-9046

For questions about SEAP, please call the toll-free Training Benefits/SEAP hotline at 877-600-7701.

Maintaining your unemployment benefits

To maintain your eligibility for unemployment benefits while in training, you must:

  • Be enrolled in a full-time training program.
  • Make satisfactory progress in the program.
  • Notify the Employment Security Department if you discontinue training, suspend training or reduce enrollment to less than full-time.

If you do not meet these requirements, you may be required to look for work and meet other job-search requirements, such as participating in job-search workshops, in order to collect benefits. You also may be required to pay back benefits you have received.

PSLCC’s comprehensive Entrepreneurial Development Program (EDP) is designed for start-up, small, and/or developing businesses wanting the information and support to create a long-term, sustainable business.  The EDP offers training, counseling/consulting, technical assistance, and professional assistance.  PSLCC’s programs facilitate the economic advancement and inclusion of Latino owned and/or targeted businesses in Puget Sound and neighboring communities through leadership, resources, partnerships, and emerging market opportunities.  You do not have to be o unemployment to qualify for the EDP.