Already doing business in Whatcom County? We’re here to help.
Whether you run a generations-old farm in Sumas, a retail store in downtown Bellingham, or are an existing manufacturer in Ferndale, we can help your company grow. Whatcom County offers free guidance and support across all local industries and for all business needs.
Get Free Advice
The first step in growing your business is finding the right mentor. Western Washington University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will connect you with one of their Certified Business Advisors, who will walk you through creating a business plan, accessing capital, growing sales, managing cash flow, creating a long-term growth strategy, and much more. Contact the SBDC today at 360-778-1762 or email SBDC@wwu.edu.
If you own an agricultural company, reach out to the Northwest Agricultural Business Center—they specialize in mentoring agricultural professionals and have already helped grow hundreds of businesses, just like yours. Contact them at 360-336-3727 or info@AgBizCenter.org.
Find Money to Grow
Getting access to capital can be an intimidating process, but it doesn’t have to be. To get started, search through our database of local financing options; these include loans, grants, angel investors, and more. For one-on-one guidance, contact the SBDC or Port of Bellingham. They can walk you through the process of obtaining capital, so you can increase your product line, open a new location, buy new property and equipment, and much more. To explore financing options, check out the SBDC Loan Programs and Financing Options Guide.
Finding talent is one of the hardest aspects of owning your own company. Not only do you need to find someone who fits your company culture—they also need to have the skill set, attitude, and outlook that benefits your business. The Northwest Workforce Council and WorkSource provide one-stop hiring and training help for businesses and job-seekers. To get started, contact the Northwest Workforce Council today at 360-676-3209.
Join a Local Business Group
Surround yourself with local professionals, just like you. Choose from city and county-wide groups. Here are the business groups near you:
Take Advantage of Local Tax Incentives
There are hundreds of Washington State incentives you can take advantage of—some have an average savings of $100,000, while others offer thousands of dollars in tax credits for new hires. For a full list of incentives organized by industry, check out Washington State Tax Incentives. The City of Bellingham also offers specific incentives for urban villages, affordable housing projects, innovative housing types, and historic preservation. Learn more about local incentives, including green building incentives, on our Incentives page.
MEET YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS SUPPORT
CJ Seitz WWU Small Business Development Center
The SBDC is your go-to team for small business help. They’ll connect you with a Certified Business Advisor, who will help you create a business plan, develop financial forecasts, obtain financing, handle human resources, and more.
John Michener Port of Bellingham
The Port serves existing businesses countywide, on and off Port property, with retention and expansion support. We also manage inbound investment leads and work to attract new business to Whatcom County. .
Tara Sundin City of Bellingham
The City of Bellingham has a long and successful history of collaborating with professionals to help grow, start, or relocate their business. Get help with permitting, zoning, obtaining a business license, and much more.