Western's Small Business Development Center provided hundreds of hours of business counseling to Whatcom County businesses and helped create or retain about 100 jobs in 2014, the most recent reporting period.
Among SBDC's highlights in 2014:
- The center served 766 businesses in 2014, with a total of 2,457 hours of counseling.
- SBDC clients represent 2,534 jobs -- and 109 jobs were created or retained thanks to help from the SBDC.
- Fifty percent of SBDC clients reported annual sales increases totaling $88 million, with an average sales increase reported at 14 percent.
- The SBDC helped clients with financing for retention, expansion or start-up, resulting in more than $3.9 million in capital formation.
- Top issues included guidance with marketing and sales, financial analysis and cost control, and business start-up and acquisition.
- A surge in start-up activity, with the SBDC serving 139 start-up clients with 568 hours of counseling. The SBDC helped 17 businesses start successfully.
- The SBDC helped 31 clients with export-related issues, with 466 hours of assistance. About 16 percent of the center's clients report involvement in international trade to countries such as China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Ireland, and more.