This week, Washington Maritime Blue released the results of a capital landscape study completed by Next Street and partner firm TILT Investments. The study researched potential funding structures to support the growth of the maritime sector, examined peer cities with significant similar industry clusters, and presented strategies to fill gaps from a variety of investment sources. Some of the key findings included:
- Highest-growth sectors in the Blue Economy are those focused on technological solutions and those related to water transportation and shipping.
- People of color and women each represent less than 10% of small and medium-sized business ownership in Washington’s maritime economy, a severe under-representation that may be driven by lack of access to capital.
- A strong Blue Economy industry cluster organization – such as Washington Maritime Blue – can help drive investment into the sector and identify priority investments.
- Compared to other industries, few equity providers are focused on maritime –they are either not knowledgeable or interested because of government regulations and concern about scaling and exit potential.
”"The blue maritime industry in Washington State offers a unique range of untapped investment opportunities with a trifecta of impact through environmental innovations, preserving native-owned businesses, and strengthening rural economies. We hope this work will loosen the spigot for capital to flow."Marina Linhart, Next Street CEO