SPOKANE – WSU announced the opening of three new small business development centers as part of Gov. Christine Gregoire’s “New Washington” initiative. Small business development centers (SBDC) have been opened in Longview, Aberdeen and Pullman, as part of a strategy to extend technical assistance to small business owners and entrepreneurs in areas that had been underserved.
Brett Rogers, WSU small business development centers state director, announced that the centers will be open by mid September. “I am pleased with the quality of applicants we had for all the positions and I am confident that the small business owners in each new region will be well-served,” Rogers said.
The new SBDC in Pullman is located at the Port of Whitman Industrial Park and will be staffed by John Coleman. Coleman will provide technical assistance to businesses in Whitman, Asotin, and Garfield counties.
In Longview, the center will be housed in the Don Talley building on the campus of Lower Columbia College. Susan Hoosier, a long-time business advisor with the Minnesota small business development center will begin providing service to Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties around Sept. 17.
Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen will host the SBDC. Erik Stewart will provide services to small business owners in Grays Harbor, Pacific, and Mason counties.
“There has been a tremendous amount of interest and support by local economic development groups and business supporters in all three communities,” says John Rodenberg, a WSU certified business advisor in Tacoma.
The SBDC network will provide services from a total of 27 locations around the state. In 2006, the SBDC provided more than 24,000 hours of counseling to 3,256 clients, helping them access nearly $100 million and create or retain 2,110 jobs.
The SBDC network is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and operates in partnership with WSU, Western Washington University, several of the state’s community colleges and selected economic development organizations.
In its 27th year of operation, the SBDC recently announced its move from the WSU College of Business to the Office of Economic Development & Extension under new Vice President John C. Gardner.
The SBDC provides no-cost, confidential, one-on-one business advising, low-cost small business management training, and secondary business research in support of its economic development mission in business retention, expansion, and entrepreneurial development.