Western’s Small Business Development Center Provides COVID-19 Information and Resources for Small Businesses  

Western Washington University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is paying close attention to how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting Whatcom’s small business community and has resources in place to assist these businesses get through this period of crisis. 

“I highly recommend people reach out to our center via our website and schedule a one-on-one meeting with one of our certified business advisors to review their available options,” SBDC’s Director CJ Seitz said. “Our services help businesses make good decisions.”  

While face-to-face meetings are unable to happen, the center can connect with businesses over the phone and discuss the options and resources available to them.  

Seitz said the most common piece of advice she has been giving local business owners is to stay as fluid with their capital as they can. 

“In general, I think the most important thing for businesses right now is to keep as much cash on hand as possible,” Seitz said. “Cash is king.” 

In partnership with the Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Regional Economic Partnership at the Port of Bellingham, the Whatcom Unified Command, and Western’s Small Business Development Center, a brief survey has been developed to assist in measuring the economic impact of COVID-19 on local businesses. The survey is meant for people who own or operate a business within Whatcom County and can be found here

SBDC recently hosted two webinars on Zoom that provided important information and resources for attendees; both are archived for viewing by the public.  

The first webinar covered the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and had 131 attendees. The second webinar was about the Paycheck Protection Program and had 181 attendees.  

At 1.pm. on Thursday, April 16, the SBDC, Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism and Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce are hosting “Understanding and Accessing Financial Resources for Small Businesses,” a free local webinar.  Participants can sign up at https://wsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/99270936.  

SBDC’s Business Continuity Resources website page provides a list of available resources for small businesses get through this tough time: 


  • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): targeted, low-interest loans for small businesses and non-profit organizations. Provides up to $2 million working capital loans with a fixed 3.75% interest rate for up to 30 years determined on a case-by-case basis. Applications can be found here.  

  • Paycheck Protection Loan Program: SBA backed loans aimed at keeping employees on payroll are available for small businesses, eligible non-profit organizations, Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, Veterans organizations, and individuals who are independent contractors or self-employed that meet program size standards. More information and the application form can be found on the U.S. Department of the Treasury website.  

  • Other SBA Loan Programs and local lending options 

  • Small Business Grants: 


Further information about the resources listed here and more can be found on SBDC’s Business Continuity Resources website. 

“I understand that things are changing rapidly,” Seitz said. “So, checking back to our website often will give more updated information as it comes out.”  

Western’s SBDC is one of 27 locations in Washington providing resources, tools, and training for small businesses to help them grow and be successful. The SBDC was founded in 1983 and has a statewide network of partners that fosters the success, spirit and support of entrepreneurs and innovators in Washington. 

The Small Business Development Center at Western Washington is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the City of Bellingham, the Port of Bellingham, Whatcom County and the City of Blaine. 

For more information or to contact a business advisor at Western Washington University’s Small Business Development Center, visit https://sbdc.wwu.edu/.  

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Monday, April 13, 2020 - 11:00am