Small Businesses Services
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.
Commerce is administering federal COVID-19 aid and support funding to highly impacted businesses and nonprofits.
- SizeUp: SizeUp offers a sophisticated set of online diagnostic tools that will help you refine your business model, identify competitors, find suppliers, develop advertising strategies and more. You can run various scenarios, comparing your business to others in the area to see how your pricing, staffing, revenue projections and marketing strategies stack up, complete with local, regional, state and U.S. data comparisons.
- Entrepreneur Academy: The Academy takes you through 11 lessons designed to teach you the essential skills you need to become a successful, confident small business owner. Each lesson includes a video by an expert on the subject, a workbook, assignments and quizzes.
- ScaleUp: Small business owners participate in 35-hours of on-site classroom training to improve financial operations, reduce operational expenses and learn how to compete more effectively in the marketplace.
- Thrive!: Targeted to second-stage companies, this program takes an entrepreneurial approach to regional prosperity. Often referred to as a “grow from within” strategy, it helps existing companies increase revenues by as much as 10 to 20%. In contrast to traditional business assistance, Thrive! focuses on removing roadblocks to growth such as developing new markets, refining business models, aligning internal operations and gaining access to competitive intelligence.
- Restart Academy: Rebuilding and restarting a business is hard work, especially the second or third time around. This series of videos, workbooks and assignments will help you achieve focus, make informed decisions, take advantage of new market opportunities and re-energize.
- Small Business Export Assistance: Commerce 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 $10,000 for export-related activities, including trade show and trade mission fees, travel, interpreter and translation services, training, international certifications and more.
- 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.
- Retirement Marketplace: An online marketplace where qualified financial services firms offer low-cost retirement savings plans to businesses and individuals, including sole proprietors, “gig” workers and the self-employed. The Retirement Marketplace simplifies the process of finding a retirement savings plan by making it easy to compare state-approved plans.
- Small Business Grants: As funds become available, Commerce offers grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic and its effect on the economy. These grants are listed on our CommerceGrants.com website.
- Small Business Flex Fund: Supported by Commerce and community financial institutions, the Flex Fund helps small businesses and nonprofits access up to $150,000 in low-interest loans that can be used for payroll, utilities, rent, supplies, marketing, advertising, building improvements, repairs and other business expenses.
- Startup Wisdom: This 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 Resources: This 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.
- Mastering Financials: For many small business owners, the daily grind of management finances is fraught with mysteries, from managing tax liabilities and risk to finding ways to keep more money in your bank account and less heading out the door. In this masterclass, we’ll show you everything you need to know about management your business and personal finances to create stability, sustainability and creditworthiness.
- Global Entrepreneurship Month: Each November, our partners across the state hold workshops, seminars and competitions to expose residents to the idea of owning and running their own business. It’s a great way to find out what it takes to run a business and glean new ideas.
- Startup Centers: Startup Centers offer entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses a suite of consulting, mentoring, and educational programs and services designed to jump-start and grow local businesses. StartUp NCW in Wenatchee is affiliated with the Department of Commerce but economic partners throughout Washington operate other startup centers.
- Small Business Playbook: If 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.