Small Business Assistance Program
In partnership with the City of Vancouver through a Community Development Block Grant, the Chamber provides eligible mid to low income business owners no-cost business counseling and technical assistance. Our skilled business consultants provide confidential, one-on-one management assistance in a myriad of areas, at no cost to the client.
We can help:
• Business Assessment
• Find funding options
• Develop a business plan
• Access credit repair
• Answer questions about licenses, permits, insurance, taxes and human resources
• Increase promotion through marketing, branding, social media
• Guide you to the right resources
Who is eligible (must meet both criteria):
• Current or prospective business owners who reside in Vancouver or own a business located within the city of Vancouver
• Have a Financial Need
Business Counselor: Proof of income documentation, such as a tax return, is required for program participation. All information is kept secure and confidential. Contact us for questions regarding eligibility.
Fill out the online inquiry to get more information about the Small Business Assistance Program:
Changes Set for 2018 Small Business Assistance Program Clients, New Training Partner
Small Business Assistance Program Counselor
The Small Business Assistance Program (SBAP) of the GVCC has been fortunate to receive grant funding from the Community Development Block Grants fund through the City of Vancouver since 2015. As of December 2017 our SBAP program has served over 75 qualified clients. The businesses have come from various industries such as, construction, retail, professional services, food services, health, arts, fashion, and media. Each year over one-third of participants, with the support of the GVCC SBAP program, have qualified for IDA grants for startup funds totaling up to $4000.00. Program participants have reported between 20% -300% increase in revenue.
The program has helped over 30 entrepreneurs take their ideas for businesses to a launch and supported over 50 businesses take their business to the next level. In 2 extreme cases, the program has been effective in helping businesses on the verge of closing remain open. The Chamber’s SBAP provided guidance, resources, marketing plan and business structure support. Today those 2 businesses are still up and running and thriving. Another of our success stories has to do with a client with the idea to open a coffee shop in the City of Vancouver. The support of the SBAP program along with the resources of the Chamber and the City, made it possible for the client to open the coffee shop within 6 months of enrolling in the program.
Our SBAP goal is to help entrepreneurs prepare, start and launch a business when they are ready and have the means/knowledge of being a business owner. Some who come in seeking the support of the SBAP program take longer to launch their business. Lack of funds, and/or time are significant barriers but by learning and understanding what it means to be a business owner, knowledge they gain in the program, saves them time and money in the long run. Starting 2018, brings a new format to SBAP. Clients now will get the benefit of a 10-week course that will provide essential foundational business training for new, aspiring and early stage businesses within Vancouver city limits. GVCC has partnered with the Kauffman Foundation and will be using their FastTrac curriculum. The Kauffman Foundation has trained more than 300,000 entrepreneurs since 1993. The FastTrac curriculum brings quality, engaging educational content to entrepreneurs .
The combination of classroom and online interactive activities will guide participants as they refine their business concepts, set financial goals, learn how to manage business functions, and identify market opportunities. Learning side by side with other entrepreneurs is a key element of the FastTrac program.
At the completion of the program participants will have created well-planned and researched business, marketing and financial plans. They will also understand the steps needed (licensing, taxes, etc.) to launch their business, know what resources are available to them, and have established a local network of business owners. This new format allows our staff to serve more entrepreneurs and the opportunity for participants to learn from each other.