Helping Washington's Small Businesses Grow

Besides focusing on key sectors, business development and export assistance, the Department of Commerce offers a range of small business services designed to meet the diverse needs of Washington’s companies, from education and training to business loans, export assistance and crisis planning.


Economic Gardening: The Washington State Economic Gardening Program takes an entrepreneurial approach to regional prosperity. Often referred to as a “grow from within” strategy, it helps existing companies within a community grow larger. In contrast to traditional business assistance, economic gardening focuses on strategic growth challenges, such as developing new markets, refining business models and gaining access to competitive intelligence. Working in conjunction with the Edward Lowe Foundation, economic gardening specialists help CEOs identify which issues are hindering their growth and then leverage sophisticated tools to deliver insights and information that CEOs can apply immediately.

Small Business Export AssistanceCommerce fields a team of experts who can help you get into exports or expand into new markets worldwide. Services include technical assistance, research, matchmaking, trade shows and trade missions to key markets around the globe.

Export Voucher Program: Qualifying small businesses in Washington State can be reimbursed up to $5,000 for export-related activities, including trade show and trade mission fees, travel, interpreter and translation services, training, international certifications and more.

Growing Rural Economies: Great communities need great businesses. This program connects small businesses and entrepreneurs to a wealth of services, including workshops, business plan competitions, mentoring, web resources and education and training opportunities

Regulatory Roadmap The Department of Commerce is partnering with local and state agencies to help improve the regulatory experience for businesses so they can open or expand in cities throughout Washington State. The program’s goal is to improve our economic vitality while creating jobs. Initial projects are focused on the restaurant, manufacturing and construction sectors.

Small Business Retirement Marketplace: The Retirement Marketplace offers low-cost retirement savings plans to employees who do not have an employer plan, as well as small businesses, sole proprietors and self-employed individuals via qualified financial services firms.


Startup WisdomThis handy guide contains 27 different strategies that entrepreneurs can use to access business capital, from the highly traditional to those that are pretty out-of-the-box. Includes pros and cons for each strategy as well as case studies.

Small Business Credit Initiative: The Small Business Jobs Act in 2010 allowed states to create new programs that are geared specifically to the needs of small businesses that want to grow and expand. The Washington State Department of Commerce worked with private financial institutions to create three new programs whose $19.7 million in funds will deliver $300 million in new capital to Washington State small businesses by the end of next year.


Startup & Entrepreneur ResourcesThis online resource contains in-depth information and resources for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses, including funding resources, training and technical assistance, mentorship, education and information.

How-To Guides

Small Business PlaybookIf you’re thinking of starting a business, relocating your operations to Washington State or planning to invest in one of the state’s successful businesses, The Small Business Playbook is for you. Filled with real-world insights, information and lessons learned, written by a Washington State small business owner.

When Trouble Strikes – A Crisis Planner for Small Businesses: Natural and manmade disasters are inevitable. While you can’t prevent every disruption in your business, there are things you can do to either reduce their likelihood or their impact. When Trouble Strikes gives you proven ways to identify and neutralize potential disruptions as well as things you can do to get back up and running in their aftermath.