Small businesses are the backbone of many rural communities and Whidbey Island has an incredible spirit of entrepreneurship amongst our residents. We’ve got talent, brains and hard workers across a wide range of industries. Farmers and food producers. Restauranteurs and retailers. Creative professionals and service providers. Landscapers, construction and other skilled contractors.
Small, locally owned businesses keep profits in our community and contribute to the wonderful experience that Whidbey Island provides our residents and tourists.
In addition to Goosefoot’s business workshops, the following resources are available to help you establish and grow your business. We want you to succeed!
Whidbey Island Local Lending (WILL) and Whidbey Entrepreneurs (WE)
Whidbey Island Local Lending is a social network that connects business owners in need of capital with community members able to make loans. These are people-to-people loans facilitated through monthly social events or “mash-ups.”
Whidbey Entrepreneurs is a networking and mentoring group open to all local business owners.
WILL and WE meet at the same time, doubling opportunities for entrepreneurs at all stages to give and receive help. Mash-Ups are held every third Thursday, 5 – 7 pm, at the Useless Bay Golf & Country Club. https://whidbeylocallending.wordpress.com/
Find Whidbey Entrepreneurs on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/WhidbeyEnt/
“The most effective development strategy for rural communities is small entrepreneurship–locally owned and operated small businesses.”Center for Rural Affairs
Business Mentor Options
Access a mentor at the Economic Development Council of Island County (EDCIC) Coupeville office. EDCIC makes this service available to Whidbey Island businesses twice each month through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) of Mount Vernon.
Call (360) 678-6889. http://iscoedc.com/
The Freeland Library hosts a mentor from the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) twice a month. Call the library to book your appointment at 360-331-7323.
South Whidbey Chambers of Commerce
Don’t underestimate the power of networking to build your business. Our Chambers of Commerce offer fun social opportunities to meet potential clients, mentors, and friends. The Chambers also represent member interests within a number of forums, including county and tourist-related concerns. Join the Clinton, Freeland or Langley Chambers. Many businesses belong to more than one.
Whidbey Island Grown Cooperative (WIGC)
If you are a member of our local food sector, check out the Whidbey Island Grown Cooperative (WIGC). WIGC is an island-wide cooperative supporting local growers and producers and enhancing the market for agricultural producers and agritourism. https://whidbeyislandgrown.com/
Business and Marketing Research
One of Sno-Isle Libraries’ strategic priorities is “strengthening our economy by supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners.” Their business services team can help you use Sno-Isle’s on-line business research tools for a wide variety of market research tasks. Find market and industry reports, demographic data, and identify potential competition. Helpful hint: You’ll need a library card before you can access their resources. https://www.sno-isle.org/business/
Home of Washington State’s Small Business Liaison Team (SBLT), their goal is to make it easier to do business in our state. The website contains comprehensive information about owning a business in Washington, including the permits, approvals, or licenses you might need. Read their “Road Map for opening a business,” with step-by-step instructions about how to register and license your business in Washington State. https://www.business.wa.gov/
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA has a robust selection of learning materials on its site for both new and experienced entrepreneurs, especially in the areas of funding and procuring government contracts. The on-line business guide is a great way to learn on your own, at your own pace. Note their helpful “write your business plan” section. https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/wa/seattle
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
SCORE provides mentoring and also offers resources for seasoned business owners. They offer comprehensive workshops, webinars and videos on important topics, such as Trademarks and Copyrights; Year-End Tax Planning; and Funding Options for Veteran Entrepreneurs. Be sure to sign up for SCORE’S newsletter (go to bottom of each web page, below their address). https://seattle.score.org/
Looking for Goosefoot Business Workshops?
Goosefoot offers a wide range of classes that support businesses at all stages of development.