America's Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) exist all over the country as the name implies but many small business owners are quite possibly unaware of the scope of services the SBDC can offer.

The Washington Small Business Development Center is a network of dozens of expert business advisors in communities around the state who can help entrepreneurs or small business owners to start, grow, buy or sell a business.

And services are at no charge.

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Kirk Duncan is a 40 year veteran business consultant and one of 40 Certified Business Advisors with the Washington SBDC, working out of the regional office located in Olds Station in Wenatchee, WA.

SBDC advisors like Duncan provide one-one-one, confidential, advising on all phases of small business development.

Washington SBDC offices are located around Eastern Washington at Omak, Wenatchee, Moses Lake, Cle Elum, Ellensburg, Yakima, Stevenson, Goldendale, Kennewick, Walla Walla, Pullman and Spokane.

There are approximately 15 offices in Western Washington between Vancouver and Bellingham.

Duncan says the last year of available numbers from 2021 show the impact of SBDC counseling activities created and saved over 2,800 jobs and contributed to 161 new business starts and raising $107 million in new capital.

Duncan says SBDC can help businesses arrange financing, write a business plan or simply have someone look at their business and do some trend analysis they may not have time to do themselves.   "We have a really nice approximately eight page business plan as well. Too many people spend too much time creating 50 page business plans that nobody's ever gonna read. So this is a good concise piece of information. So it's good for new business people".

SBDC does not loan money but can put business owners or peope interested in starting one with micro-lenders willing to loan $20-thousand  to $50-thousand.   "A lot of banks don't like to deal with those small loan amounts, but they still need to go through the process of proving how they're going to be able to pay the bank back so we (SBDC) actually get people ready. We call loan ready" Duncan says.

The services and expertise are free.  Duncan explains it's paid for by the Small Business Administration, as well as the SBDC partnership with Chelan-Douglas Regional Port Authority.

Duncan adds, the Wenatchee office is not as busy as they would like to be.

A unique opportunity for new business starts to consider is the Trades District established by the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority (CDRPA)  near Pangborn Memorial Airport in East Wenatchee.

Craig Larsen, the Regional Port's Business Development Manager says the eight acres are located in the Pangborn Buisiness Park where a cryptocurrency operation was in the process of building out pods before declaring bankruptcy.  The Regional Port has decided create a trades district incubator on the site. 12 units will be set aside for small businesses that will pay discounted rent for the first five years of their time there as they grow or "incubate"  After the five year startup period, the tenant leaves and the space is available for another business to "incubate" or they can stay at market rates.

"And the SBDC is going to be one of our key partners on helping these businesses that come into the trace district to help them be successful and grow. So we're excited about that project" Larsen explained.

Trades District layout from Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority
Trades District layout from Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority

The trades district is zoned industrial Larsen says the Port is looking for a wide range of potential business opportunities.  "It could be food preparation, if they're shipping to someone off site. Maybe roasting coffee for instance, as a wholesale industrial type activity with food products, but they might have a coffee shop as auxilary to that, ... that would be permitted. But it can be HVAC contractor, all the all the spaces are going to be a personnel door or roll up door".

Duncan and the SBDC can assist with information on the potential of the trades district opportunity or any other business consulting advice

The website is for Washington Small Business Development Center, and you'll see the advisor directory and Duncan's contact information.


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