SBDC Launches New Rural Outreach Program

Western Washington University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has launched a rural outreach program and hired a new business advisor to bring additional business advising and development services to rural Whatcom County.

Asche Rider is the newest business advisor to join the SBDC.  Rider comes to the SBDC with experience in the agriculture, finance, and hospitality industries. Growing up in a rural area and a family owned ‘all-hands-on-deck’ agricultural business instilled in her a deep respect for the hard work and numerous skill sets needed to run a business. Asche has primarily worked in high-growth businesses over the past 15 years, including restaurants, wealth management, and meat fabrication. Most recently, Asche was the general manager of a local start-up meat producers’ cooperative.  With the co-op Asche utilized her strategic, operational, financial, sales, marketing, food safety, and analytical skills to launch and establish the co-op’s wholesale meat label and a USDA inspected mobile processing unit. 

“We are pleased to announce that with the addition of this program and our new full-time business advisor position, the SBDC at Western Washington University will be able to expand its reach and capacity to better serve the small businesses located in our rural communities,” said CJ Seitz, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Western Washington University.

The new rural outreach program was made possible in part by a grant from the Northwest Business Development Association and additional federal funding of the SBDC program.

“As a U.S. Small Business Administration 504 Lender, Northwest Business Development Association’s mission is to promote growth and expansion to small businesses.  And what better way to help create jobs than by investing in our rural communities?   We are pleased to support Western Washington University’s Small Business Development Center and their new rural outreach program.  We welcome Asche and look forward to working with her,” said Debra Shipman, President of the Northwest Business Development Association.

Since 1983, the Small Business Development Center has enabled Western Washington University to give back to the business community, and has helped to shape the economic future of Whatcom County.

The SBDC provides free, confidential advising, technical assistance, and research to business owners and managers in an effort to help businesses thrive throughout Whatcom County.

To schedule an appointment with Rider, or another advisor in your area, contact or 360-778-1762. For more information, visit the WWU SBDC website at

The SBDC at Western Washington University is part of the most comprehensive small business assistance network in the United States and its territories made up of over 1,000 SBDC programs. SBDC centers are hosted by leading universities, colleges, and state economic development agencies, and are funded in part through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The program receives funding support from the Port of Bellingham, Whatcom County and the cities of Bellingham and Blaine, the Northwest Business Development Association and Western Washington University.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 10:20am