By Hope Belli Tinney, Washington SBDC
SPOKANE, Wash. – IntelliPaper, a technology company in Eastern Washington, will be highlighted today (Monday, March 16) at the America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) 35th anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C.
The company was founded in 2009 by Andrew DePaula, an electrical engineer who figured out how to make a USB thumb drive out of paper. This makes it possible to deliver reams of information, including images, photos, voices, music – whatever you can imagine – on a business card, greeting card, recruitment brochure or trade show handout.
“That’s gee-whiz technology,” said Charles “Tee” Rowe, president and CEO of America’s SBDC. “What a great idea.”
He said 11 SBDC clients from nine states were invited to the legislative reception in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill to highlight the diversity of businesses that benefit from SBDC advising and the sophistication and vision of SBDC clients.
IntelliPaper (https://www.intellipaper.info/) is but one example from the nearly 1 million SBDC clients across the country who receive expert technical assistance each year to help them with any business challenge, including business systems, cash flow management, market research, financing and strategic planning.
“The SBDC helps ‘Main Street’ retailers and service providers,” Rowe said, “but also cutting-edge entrepreneurs.”
With the help of his Washington SBDC business advisor, in 2014 DePaula was able to secure $770,000 in financing from a community development lender so he could grow intelliPaper from a low-budget start-up to a full-scale technology and manufacturing company in rural Lincoln County.
The Washington SBDC has been hosted by Washington State University since its inception as one of the first SBDC networks. Learn more at http://www.wsbdc.org.
“We are extremely grateful for the assistance the folks at the SBDC have given us along the way,” DePaula said. “The effects of our relationship with them are tangible and real: creating business growth where none existed before, new jobs and improving the local economy.”
The Washington SBDC network includes more than two dozen business advisors working in communities from the Canadian border to the Columbia River, providing one to one, confidential, no-cost advising to small business owners who want to start, grow or transition their businesses.
Duane Fladland, state director of the Washington SBDC, said he was excited that DePaula would be able to talk with Congressional leaders about his company and his experience as a small business entrepreneur.
“Andrew developed this incredible technology that could change the way we communicate, but getting the right kind of financing was key to his ability to keep control of his company and realize his vision,” Fladland said. “For more than 30 years SBDC advisors have been helping owners of businesses like this realize their dreams.”
Learn more about America’s SBDC at http://americassbdc.org/. Read an earlier article about intelliPaper and DePaula at https://news.wsu.edu/2014/06/23/free-advising-furthers-entrepreneurs-quest-for-paper-usb/#.VQb4B010yfA.