Get the funding, talent, and support you need to launch a successful startup.
Launch Pad for the Next Big Idea
Whatcom County is a hub for innovation and new ideas. With four higher-educational facilities bustling with talent and plenty of access to capital—Whatcom County is the perfect place to launch your startup. Visit Small Business Development Center for more information on how to get started.
Coworking Spaces, Makerspaces, and Startup Events
Makerspaces, like The Foundry allow inventors to explore ideas with 3-D printers, laser cutters, and more. Plus, coworking spaces, like The Cooler, Invent, and Dockside Coworking give freelancers and startups a place to meet, collaborate, and recruit talent. Whatcom County’s annual Startup Weekend Challenge, also gives founders and innovators the chance to refine and pitch their ideas to potential investors.
Located Between Two Huge Metropolitan Areas
Escaping the urban hassle and starting your business in Whatcom County is win-win: you get to live in one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world, while still having access to two huge metropolitan cities—Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC. While Whatcom County gets to maintain its small-town charm and low cost of living, you get to benefit from having 7 million customers within a 90-mile radius.
Get the Financing You Need
Financing can be accessed through, the Washington State Commerce Department, local banks, the Bellingham Angel Group, Community Food Co-Op, NWIRC, and many other local institutions. Comprehensive local financing options are provided by the Small Business Development Center through no-cost advice from certified business counselors.
Plenty of Talent
Home to four higher-educational institutions, Whatcom County is brimming with talent. From computer science graduates at WWU, manufacturing engineers from BTC, and graphic designers from WCC, plenty of startups have successfully sourced their employees from the local community. WWU and BTC have an enhanced R&D and training relationship, which can link student talent to companies and startups seeking innovative breakthroughs.
WorkSource, a one-stop career center located in the heart of downtown Bellingham, provides free resources to connect business and industry leaders with qualified talent for full and part-time positions across industries. Business owners can advertise job vacancies via the WorkSource online portal and have access to browse hundreds of profiles of available talent.
Enjoy an Unmatched Lifestyle
If you’re looking for a place that will keep both you and your employees happy and healthy, look no further than Whatcom County. Ranked one of the healthiest places in America, Whatcom County has it all: skiing and snowboarding at Mt. Baker, an eclectic downtown scene, lively music venues, museums, local breweries and wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, some of the best mountain biking in the world, and much more. The icing on the cake? Hardly any traffic!
YOUR STARTUP SUPPORT TEAM
Get expert advice from retired professionals who’ve lived and breathed small business. SCORE’s Bellingham chapter will guide you through creating a business plan, recruiting talent, obtaining financing, and more.
Northwest Innovation Resource Center (NWIRC)
The NWIRC works with early-stage entrepreneurs and inventors to bring their ideas to life. Through the creation of personalized strategies, the NWIRC process prepares them with the tools and resources to navigate common pitfalls.
CJ Seitz WWU Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
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.