Western Washington University’s College of Business and Economics has opened a new Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Bellingham and hired Jennifer Shelton as the director.
Shelton 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 Center for Economic Development (CEV).
“It’s great to be back in Bellingham and Whatcom County. There are few business communities that have as diverse and interesting to work with as this one; it’s going to be very rewarding to be a part of it again,” she said.
“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.”
The SBDC is located at 115 Unity Street, Suite 101, in downtown Bellingham, and provides services for local businesses in conjunction with the CBE’s existing Center for Economic Vitality.
It 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 said her goal is to provide much needed business-advising services – the vast majority of which are at no cost to the client – to local entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their businesses, increase profitability, and create jobs.
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; and loan proposal development and reviews.
“There are 29 other certified business advisors in my SBDC network that I can utilize as well … if somebody brings up a question that I can’t answer, I’m sure somebody in my network can. It’s a real strength to be able to offer that whole network,” she said.
Besides her experience as a certified business advisor for various 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.”
“We are very pleased to once again be a part of the SBDC network. Jennifer is an excellent counselor and provides even more support from the college and the university for economic development in Whatcom County,” said Brian Burton, dean of WWU College of Business and Economics.
“Together with our programs and resources offered by the Center for Economic Vitality, the Center for Economic and Business Research, and the Center for Economic Education, Jennifer and the SBDC will play a vital role in promoting the region’s economic health.”
For more information, contact Jennifer Shelton at 360/778-1762 or email@example.com