This spring, three new workshops are geared toward new businesses and those looking to grow.
The grassroots approach will focus on questions such as “Is this (business) feasible? How long will it take to get from an idea to putting money in my pocket, and how do I get there?” Larsen said.
The free course, which includes 16 hours of training, is modeled after a program by the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, based in Seattle.
The center, along with others such as GroWashington and the Small Business Development Center, will provide mentors for program participants, according to the downtown association.
Those who complete the course will present their business plans to a panel of experts at the end of May.
The top five participants will receive seed money for their startup, and the grand prize winner will have a chance to launch their business in the mini business park planned for downtown Sedro-Woolley, according to the association.
“It’s a fun opportunity for them,” Larsen said.
The business park will consist of six 10-by-12-foot kiosks, similar to the pop-up businesses at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes, Larsen said. The plan is start building the park in May.
A $15,000 state grant and $5,000 match from the downtown association are paying for the program, he said.
Applications are due by April 26. Twenty participants, including up to three high school students, will be selected.
The pilot program is funded by the Washington Department of Commerce and is coming to Skagit County for the first time.
“(The course) is for companies poised at a growth point,” EDASC CEO John Sternlicht said.
Ideal candidates will have been in business at least one year and have an annual gross revenue of $75,000 or more. Space is limited.
A third, one-day workshop, also hosted by EDASC, will focus on helping businesses optimize their websites for global commerce.
“You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to sell your (product) overseas,” Sternlicht said.
Sessions will take place May 13 in Mount Vernon and May 15 in Bellingham.