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Small Business Development Center



Smart Business Growth Starts Here

With help from the SBDC you can make better decisions and achieve better business results. On average, small businesses that work with the Washington Small Business Development Center program generate 20% more revenue than other businesses who do not utilize our services.

Here Are Some Things You Should Know

While we are fortunate to have four full-time business advisors here in our Bellingham office, we can only serve 350-400 client companies per year. Our advisors need to be able to see the bigger picture to understand your business and determine how they can be of assistance. So please be prepared to summarize the challenge or opportunity your business is facing.

Does Your Business Qualify For SBDC Services?

We follow the federal definitions for small business. So, generally speaking, if your company is a for-profit going concern that employs 500 or fewer people (and you are NOT involved in the marijuana industry - either directly or indirectly) you can utilize our services. 

What Types of Companies Does the SBDC Work With?

Our average client company has been in business for 7-10 years and is looking to grow. Our client base closely resembles the industry makeup in Whatcom County. 

Do You Work With Start-Ups?

Yes, we work with qualified start-ups. But start-up businesses really only make up about 10% of our local client base. 

What Does 'Qualified Start-up' Mean?

A qualified start-up means you either:

  • Have already created a business entity and filed a Master Business License within the last 6 months and are officially 'open for business' or;
  • You have a clear idea of your business concept, and target market that you intend to serve, and you need some additional help prior to getting started like:
    • perhaps you need help securing the financing needed to launch
    • you need some market research to support your plan
    • or maybe you have been referred by a local bank, credit union or potential landlord who might be looking for a reasonable business plan or financial projections

Sounds Great - How Do I Make an Appointment?

If you meet the above criteria you may request an appointment by filling out our pre-client registration form.

What If I Am Still in the Idea/Planning Phase?

This means you're not quite ready to launch and need help fleshing out your idea, business plan, target market, feasibility etc.

We highly recommend you contact our local chapter of SCORE. SCORE Chapter 591 mentors are comprised of active and retired business men and women, who provide clients with free and confidential business counseling. They also host a number of business plan workshops offered through Whatcom Community College.

What If I Am Planning to Start a Non-Profit?

We encourage you to seek out assistance from the Whatcom Nonprofit Network.