Aspiring entrepreneurs and early-stage small business owners on the Olympic Peninsula are slated to receive expanded business advising services this fall.
Duane Fladland, state director of the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC), has announced that the SBDC is partnering with the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship to provide early-stage advising to entrepreneurs who have an idea for a business but don’t know where to start.
“The entrepreneurial spirit is integral to the communities of the Olympic Peninsula,” Fladland said. “With local funding support from Clallam County, the Port of Port Angeles and the cities of Sequim and Port Angeles, we are excited to be able to provide additional expert advising, tools, and resources that small business owners can trust to help them start and grow their business.”
The Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship (CIE) has been working with aspiring entrepreneurs and early-stage small businesses in underserved communities on the Olympic Peninsula since 2013. This fall, CIE’s Community Enterprise program will start offering ongoing training and one-on-one advising on the Olympic Peninsula out of a new Port Angeles branch office.
“Through the Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition, the Olympic Wildcraft Alliance, and other initiatives, CIE now has nearly 100 clients on the Olympic Peninsula at various stages of launching and growing a small business,” says Mike Skinner, CIE’s founder and executive director. “We’re excited to collaborate with SBDC to provide ongoing support for our existing clients and to bring our accessible and inclusive first-step approaches to more folks in the region.”
CIE’s Community Enterprise program will kick off in September with the First Step training, a no-cost four-session course that helps aspiring entrepreneurs pencil a business idea and get to a quick “go-no do” decision. Starting in Sequim, the course will be offered monthly both virtually and at various locations throughout the North Peninsula. Already existing early-stage businesses can go straight to one-on-one advising to get ready to grow.
CIE’s office will be co-located with the SBDC at 338 West First Street in Port Angeles. While CIE will focus on aspiring entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses, the SBDC will focus on helping existing businesses expand exponentially to bring new jobs and new investment to the region.
The collaboration will create important synergies and offer a seamless continuum of services from startup to growth. “Our intention is that by locating CIE adjacent to the SBDC, we will create a mini-hub for small business development,” Fladland said. “We believe that bringing CIE to the North Peninsula will produce a multiplier effect that spurs economic growth.”
The Washington SBDC has been providing no-cost, confidential, one-on-one advising to small business owners across the state of Washington since 1981. SBDC advising is funded through contributions from institutions of higher education and economic development agencies and civic groups, with matching funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Washington State University provides administrative support and oversight for the entire Washington SBDC network.
For more about the Washington SBDC, visit www.wsbdc.org. For more information about the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, go to www.cie-nw.org.