WWU opens new Small Business Development Center

The Bellingham Business Journal

Western Washington University’s College of Business and Economics has opened a new Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at 115 Unity St., Suite 101, in downtown Bellingham, as a service for local businesses in conjunction with the university’ existing Center for Economic Vitality.

Jennifer Shelton has been hired as the director of the new SBDC. She comes to Bellingham from the Edmonds Community College SBDC, and has worked in the field of business development and research for 17 years, including a stint at the CEV.

“It’s great to be back in Bellingham and Whatcom County,” she said. “There are few business communities that have been as diverse and interesting to work with as this one. It’s going to be very rewarding to be a part of it again.”

The SBDC is part of a national network that is partially funded regionally by Washington State University and the U.S. Small Business Administration as well as WWU. Shelton’s goal is to provide much needed business-advising services to local entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their businesses, increase profitability, and create jobs.

“I’m here to serve the needs of the business community, and assist with what is already happening with the business advisors at the CEV,” she said.

Shelton provides a wide range of no-cost services to local business owners, including:
•    Various types of financial analysis, such as a trend analysis, ratio analysis, benchmarking, and comparisons to industry standards
•    Marketing analysis and advice
•    Advice on Human Resource needs
•    Business plan reviews
•    Loan proposal development and reviews

Besides her experience as a certified business advisor for a number of SBDCs, Shelton has worked at companies such as Microsoft and Starbucks as well as running her own small business.

“Every SBDC advisor has to have experience in owning or managing a small business; it allows us to have encountered so many of the same issues that many of the businesses owners I have as clients have faced,” she said. “We’ve walked in their shoes, and we know how to help.”

For more information, call the SBDC (360) 778-1762.

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