SmartWA Business Decision Support

Restart Partners is collaborating with the Washington State Department of Commerce under a federal US Economic Development Administration (EDA) Safe Start Grant to provide technical assistance to businesses in underrepresented and underserved communities. In partnership with Choiceflows and Tanjo AI , Restart Partners has developed online tools to help small and minority-owned businesses make informed decisions about when and how to re-open safely, and about how to restore consumer confidence. 

Smart WA Decision Dashboard 

The decision support tools include a business scorecard dashboard and a policy simulation tool, which will be powered by public health and commerce data, behavioral choice experiments, and machine learning. The SmartWA mobile tool is designed as a one-stop shop for small businesses in WA to help them navigate the COVID-19 reopening requirements, available resources for small business owners, as well as to aide their decision making by providing real-time assessment and forecast of public health, economy, and community experience. These assessments are composite scores based on a number of data sources from government agencies and other reputable resources. The information is county and industry specific and is available in 5 languages: English, Spanish, Tagalog, Simplified Chinese, and Vietnamese.

Additionally, the dashboard will provide recommendations for small business owners on which specific steps of operating a business make customers more inclined to engage with this business and feel safe while doing it. These recommendations are based on the choice survey results of consumers in WA later processed by AI to keep them relevant.

“We know business owners are committed to reopening safely, and they want their customers to feel confident about visiting in person again,”
Lisa Brown
Director of the state Department of Commerce

As reopening nears, state launches SmartWA dashboard to help small businesses reopen safely

The SmartWA dashboard and decision tool is one of several Safe Start projects aimed at supporting small businesses through COVID-19

OLYMPIA, Wash. — As Washington state businesses prepare for full reopening on June 30, many are looking for ways to reassure customers and clients that health and safety remains a top priority.

To help small business owners identify the safety protocols most likely to be important to customers, the Washington State Department of Commerce has launched a new SmartWA business decision support system and COVID-19 dashboard. The dashboard and DSS was developed by Restart Partners and its partners ChoiceFlows and The state Departments of Health and Labor & Industries also contributed to the development of the tool.

Screen capture of safe start app dashboard

SmartWA uses numerous data sources and artificial intelligence to provide small businesses most impacted by the pandemic with real-time outlooks about public health, economic and community conditions by county and industry. The decision support system features an interactive simulator that provide industry-specific predictions about which safety protocols are most likely to increase customer traffic in specific sectors. These recommendations are based on Choiceflows’s current survey data of consumer preferences in Washington state. The tool is available in five languages and was designed in collaboration with minority-owned small business owners from throughout the state.

“We know business owners are committed to reopening safely, and they want their customers to feel confident about visiting in person again,” said Lisa Brown, director of the state Department of Commerce. “This simple tool can help a business owner understand which safety protocols are most important to their customers. We appreciate the work of our Safe Start partners to collaborate with diverse business owners and focus on the industries that have been hardest hit during COVID-19.”

“Even though we can allow 50% capacity, we operate at a lesser capacity because we don’t want to risk people’s lives,” said Claire Sumadiwirya, owner of the Bellden Café in Bellevue. “The dashboard gives reassurance that we can operate at higher capacity and it’s a good way to communicate to the team that they should feel safe coming to work and to provide the best hospitality.” 

“The business decision support tool gives me information about how much traffic in my business category could increase if I adopt different strategies or combinations of strategies such as vaccinating my employees or continuing with visible cleanliness measures,” said Jordan Smith, owner of Cascadia Public House in Spokane.

SmartWA Digital Resource Portal – In Development 

The Digital Resource Portal is the companion to the Dashboard. It is an online destination for small business tools and resources accessible to business owners and to the public. This portal will point to relevant state-wide resources and include our business support tools, adoption toolkit, and creative messaging strategies and content for small businesses.