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A wide variety of public and private entities as well as industry-specific associations are available to help you start, relocate, and/or expand your business. No issue is too simple and no question too complex for the helpful people you will encounter at these organizations. All are dedicated to helping you and your business succeed. The following list includes local, state, regional, and national resources as well as industry-specific support for aerospace, agriculture, energy, forest products, manufacturing, and technology.
Klickitat County Economic Development Dept. (KCEDD)
800-785-1718 or 509-773-7060
A branch of county government, KCEDD assists those looking to expand existing operations within, relocate a company to, or start a new business in, Klickitat County. It also manages the only Clean Energy Development Zone in the nation (called Blue Sky Ahead) and is a partner in the Columbia Gorge Bi-state Renewable Energy Zone.
A reference for all things business in Washington State, the Washington Business Hub provides information on how to start a business (including business, marketing, operating, personnel, and finance planning, licensing, and permits), hire and manage employees, grow your business, handle payroll and taxes, and more.
AWB supports Washington businesses of any industry and size (over half its members employ less than 10 people) and acts as an advocate for the Washington business community. It is recognized as the State's Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturing and Technology Association. AWB provides a variety of services such as employment law seminars, a certified safety coordination program, wage & hour survival guide, sample forms, sample policies, and tools and training to help you operate a safe workplace, improve worker productivity, and lower your workers' compensation costs. It also offers group health insurance, dental and vision plans, disability, life, and long-term care insurance, and retirement plans to its members.
Provides information and assistance to Washington companies seeking to export products by helping them understand export transactions, the basics of export financing, credit insurance, and other aspects of exporting. EFAC offers consulting services including helping to qualify foreign buyers, negotiate contracts and payment terms, structure the transaction, and deal with foreign exchange issues. It also offers seminars and training and acts as a referral source. EFACW works with federal and state partners including the U.S. Exim Bank, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington State Department of Commerce, and Washington State Department of Agriculture.
Provides information and assistance regarding economic development and international trade as well as business and project development resources for firms expanding within, companies considering relocating to, or individuals wishing to start a business in, the State of Washington. Find resources on a variety of topics including how to reduce your hiring and training costs, finance your expansion, expand into international markets, and reduce the cost of doing business with tax incentives. Learn about environmental permitting requirements, perform site selection searches, customize and analyze demographics and business data, print maps, find various resources for small business, and locate programs that provide workforce training and education.
Washington Department of Labor & Industries (LNI)
800-987-0145 or 360-902-4205
Get answers to your questions and solve problems about workers' compensation insurance, workplace safety rules, wage and hour regulations, contractor registration and other business with L&I. Offers regular tips and L&I news in a small business e-newsletter sent to your e-mail, online seminars on various topics (such as planning and paying your taxes and determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee), workshops on various topics (such as accident prevention, office ergonomics, and recordkeeping), and online courses.
Washington Department of Revenue (DOR)
800-647-7706 (Teletype 800-451-7985)
The DOR provides information on the tax requirements of, and incentives for, doing business in Washington State including industry-specific guides, special notices, and tax incentives. You can also obtain business registration information or request assistance from a tax consultation representative.
The WSBDC provides advice, training, and research to entrepreneurs and existing businesses statewide. Whether well-established or just starting out, the WSBDC can help you grow your business, achieve higher profits, and improve operations. Find resources on creating a business plan, franchising, managing risk, starting up, and more. The regional office for Klickitat County is located in Vancouver, WA.
WSMA supports micro-entrepreneurs by promoting microenterprises as a viable economic development tool, and supporting the development of self-employment education and assistance, micro-lending, business creation and expansion support, economic self-sufficiency, and financial education programs. It provides networking opportunities among microenterprise development programs, regional and statewide meetings and conferences, public education regarding microenterprise development, web-based directory of all Washington microenterprise resources, information on funding sources, technical assistance and resources to members, best practice methods, and learning opportunities.
WSU Office of Commercialization facilitates the efficient transfer of technology, proprietary information, and inventions from WSU laboratories to the private sector. While their primary function is to license technologies to private sector businesses, they occasionally provide funding to assist in the commercial development of 'near market' technologies. Companies in search of growth opportunities can search for technologies or the capability to develop a technology through this site. Types of technologies available range from Continuous Flow Electrical Treatment of Flowable Food Products to Extrusion of Low Density Cellular Wood Plastic Composite to Smart Home Technologies.
Clark College serves southwest Washington and provides various corporate and continuing education classes including business plan development, financial management, retirement planning, small business management, Google analytics, project management, conflict management, human resources, networking, business etiquette, leadership, ethics, team building, sales, and public relations. Additional Workforce Education Services are available as well as programs offered in concert with the Washington Small Business Development Center and Service Corps Of Retired Executives.
Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC)
CGCC serves the mid-Columbia region, providing a variety of business administration classes including office systems, business editing, records management, business mathematics, economics, computer skills, business law, human resources, financial management, sales and marketing, e-commerce, and accounting. Business owners and managers can take advantage of the ten-month Small Business Management Program that provides intensive business counseling and mentoring to help new and established business owners improve their management skills. Topics covered include accounting, planning, cash flow analysis, financial records, and marketing plans. In addition, a variety of business workshops are available including writing a business plan, managing your small business, and understanding financial statements.
Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD)
MCEDD is made up of three counties in Oregon and two counties in Washington, all bordering the Columbia River. MCEDD was established by its five member counties who realized that by sharing a common workforce, a common geography and a number of other important factors, their economic fates were tied together. By joining together they would benefit from better access to economic development loans and grants, pooled technical assistance, marketing and administrative resources, and most importantly, they would be able to bring a regional approach to their economic development efforts. Over the years the membership has grown to include cities, ports and chambers of commerce within the five county region.
Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC)
MHCC serves the west end of the Columbia River Gorge, providing classes, workshops, and seminars to assist companies in areas from management to marketing. Topics include computers and technology, accounting and bookkeeping, entrepreneurship and small business management, economics, marketing, financing, and property leasing. Some classes are offered online or as a hybrid (part online, part on-campus). In addition, a broad variety of business startup workshops are available covering topics such as developing financial projections for your startup, bookkeeping for small business, business plan bootcamp, promoting your business, getting a business loan, developing a marketing plan, building a web site for your business, market research, payroll, and measuring financial performance.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
503-326-2682 or 800-827-5722
Provides aid, counsel, and assistance to, and protects the interests of, small business concerns. Various services, financial assistance, and information are available including guides to plan, launch, manage and grow your business.
SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to providing entrepreneurs and small business owners with confidential, free business help. Experienced, volunteer consultants provide business advice to any small business owner or prospective business owner in Southwest Washington. SCORE offers on-line and in-person mentoring, low-cost workshops, "how to" articles and business templates, on-line workshops and learning, podcasts, quizes, and resource links. It also provides tools such as business planning books and software. Volunteer counselors are working or retired business owners, executives, and corporate leaders who share their wisdom and lessons learned in business. The local office is located in Vancouver, Washington.
Aerospace Futures Alliance of Washington (AFA-WA)
The AFA represents the needs and concerns of the over 600 aerospace companies in Washington State, regardless of size. Issues of importance include labor, training and education, safety, taxation, and regulatory compliance.
Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA)
The PNAA works to promote the growth and success of the aerospace industry and the business climate in the Pacific Northwest. Among other things, PNAA provides networking opportunities, promotes and conducts educational seminars, and keeps members informed regarding business opportunities and industry changes.
A non-profit association, the CGFG represents tree fruit growers and shippers in the Mid-Columbia area and promotes the fruit industry through legislation, research, education, and marketing, supports growers through the exchange of information, and works cooperatively with other industries and organizations. It provides information on best management practices, administers grant projects, deals with legislative issues important to growers, and offers compliance manuals on topics such as employer deductions, minimum wage and overtime, employing minors, rest and meal periods, labor housing, and OSHA requirements.
Washington State Dept. of Agriculture (WSDA)
360-902-1800 (Teletype 800-833-6388)
Though headquartered in Olympia, WSDA has employees in every county of the state supporting the producers, distributors, and consumers of Washington's food and agricultural products. Among its other goals, WSDA assists and facilitates the movement of Washington agricultural products in domestic and international markets. It provides farmworker education programs, training in noxious weed control, pesticide management and disposal, and rural crime prevention, information on grant opportunities, trade barrier assistance, and international marketing and export assistance (including organic agricultural products).
WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR)
Created by the Washington State Legislature in 1991, the Washington State University (WSU) CSANR promotes healthy farms, food, and people. The center works with communities to support economically viable and environmentally sound agriculture practices.
WSU Food Processing Extension & Research
Extension Food Processing supports food and related industries by improving their competitiveness. The program focuses on insuring the safety and quality of the food supply, improving efficiencies within operations, managing risks, and securing products, facilities, and workers. It offers training, seminars, workshops, and direct contacts, technology needs identification, development, and transfer, business assessments, a regulatory liaison, problem solving, and applied research. WSU Extension Food Processing is part of the School of Food Science.
CGBREZ supports renewable energy research, development, and manufacturing, the application of new technologies, and the establishment of a renewable energy trading hub.
Solar Washington is a not-for-profit association of solar energy equipment manufacturers, system integrators, distributors, dealers, designers, consultants, and students. It is a chapter of the American Solar Energy Society and seeks to promote the development and effective use of solar and renewable energy and the related arts, sciences, and technologies with concern for the economic, environmental, and social fabric of Washington State through education. The Southwest Chapter is located in Vancouver, Washington.
The WSUEEP seeks to advance environmental and economic well-being by providing energy services, products, education, and information based on world-class research. It provides a variety of services including technical assistance from energy specialists, engineers, and research librarians, supports the development of energy projects across Washington, advocates for rural energy development, and operates a full-service library dedicated to energy-related research. WSUEEP also offers access to energy specialists, engineers, and research librarians, assessments of the energy-saving potential of new and emerging products and technologies, publishes the weekly "Energy Newsbriefs", and delivers other training, events, publications, and software. The WSUEEP supports, and is part of, the Pacific Region Bioenergy Partnership.
One of three UW applied research centers, CINTRAFOR: 1) Collects and distributes information on foreign markets including consumption trends, distribution channels, trading systems, codes/standards and the regulatory environment; 2) Applies research findings to technical, environmental, economic, social and resource management problems that impede the export of specific products; and 3) Trains forest products professionals by providing funding for graduate level research on the international trade of forest products. CINTRAFOR is part of the University of Washington School of Environment and Forest Sciences.
One of the first natural resource programs in the country, the UW Institute of Forest Resources provides knowledge and leadership on natural resource issues, research cooperatives in stand management, precision forestry to develop new ways to make forests more productive and forestry processes more efficient, and technology transfer to rural timber-dependent communities. The Institute is part of the University of Washington School of Environment and Forest Sciences.
A trade association representing softwood lumber manufacturers in the 12 Western states, WWPA provides members with a variety of services including technical literature, design aids, wood engineering and lumber technical evaluation, research on structural capabilities, online lumber information, seminars and user education, lumber market intelligence, international marketing, industry performance data, product price histories, economic analysis, and market research.
Impact Washington, formerly known as Washington Manufacturing Services (WMS), is a not-for-profit organization that helps Washington's small manufacturers take action to increase their competitiveness (in a socially acceptable and environmentally responsible manner). IW provides affordable assistance to improve productivity through cutting edge technology and techniques, industry best practices, and professionals that listen to your needs and tailor each project to meet your unique situation. It also offers various programs including seminars, training programs, and industry events covering topics from lean manufacturing to industrial marketing and from quality improvement to environmental health and safety.
The WSUEEP provides project support, energy-saving plant assessments, and training to industrial and manufacturing plants across Washington at little or no cost. It is also responsible for developing the nationally known AIRMaster+ and MotorMaster+ software for analyzing industrial system efficiency.
Columbia River Gorge Technology Alliance (CRGTA)
The CRGTA promotes the technology business sector, and assists in starting, growing, expanding, and sustaining high technology companies in, the Columbia River Gorge. It encourages networking among technology businesses and the leveraging of member capabilities, products, and services. CRGTA also provides educational opportunities for members, promotes beneficial initiatives to local, state, and federal governments, sponsors a forum for job networking and candidate information, promotes buying cooperatives, and pursues other related objectives. Members receive a monthly newsletter, access to meetings and special events, and other benefits targeted to high technology companies operating in the Columbia River Gorge.
A statewide, not-for-profit organization of leaders from Washington technology and related businesses and research institutions, TA supports economic success through programs, events, research studies, and policy activities. It advocates for better education systems, greater research capacity, and a robust entrepreneurial environment that translates scientific discoveries and innovative technologies into new products, services and jobs. It also sponsors events such as the State of Technology Luncheon, Technology Institute Retreat, and the Science and Technology Discovery Series lectures, conducts research and publishes reports such as "The Economic Impact of Technology-Based Industries in Washington State", and publishes an e-newsletter for its membership.
The WTC supports technology and innovation in Washington State by connecting entrepreneurs, researchers, industry leaders, and economic development partners to help spur business growth, industry development, and economic vitality. It provides funding support and access to seed capital, facilitates research collaboration, offers business counseling services and access to laboratory facilities, invests in emerging industries, and fosters mutually beneficial partnerships between technology companies, academic researchers, and laboratory facilities. The WTC helps companies develop and commercialize technology products and services and secure federal funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. It also sponsors special publications and events.
The WTIA works to set new industry directions, share expertise, foster collaboration, deliver key business services, and advance the value and impact of Washington technology companies. It offers opportunities to effectively network with peers, exchange best practices, and gain new business insights. Events sponsored by the WTIA include the Technology in Focus series, the Industry Achievement Awards, the Fast Pitch Forum and Technology Showcase (annual event with venture capitalists and technology buyers), and other special affairs such as the CIO Forum. The WTIA also provides various resources including industry data, publications, marketing tools, training classes (offered by WTIA partners), and a job center.