To tackle business challenges with creative solutions, contact the WWU Entrepreneurial Studies Program. Businesses are teamed with a group of equipped students with experience in the industry who can assist in solving the problem.
The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) offers connections with mentors from different industries. They provide no-fee advising to new businesses.
Challenges in business arise all the time. Entrepreneurs face growing pains when faced with the daunting task of creating a strategic plan, generating funding, and determining a target market. Established businesses struggle with extending product life cycles and expanding current operations. Professional advice is accessible through many local programs at affordable prices. The SBDC can assist with additional questions regarding these programs.
Our Business Advisors
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CJ’s experience includes nearly 20 years of executive planning, administration, financial strategy and marketing in both the non-profit and private sectors. She served in leadership positions with several of Bellingham’s nonprofit and governmental organizations. She has also held a senior level position with a successful rapidly growing commercial construction firm.
CJ first brought her passion and business management skills, to the Small Business Development Center, or SBDC, in Bellingham as a Certified Business Advisor in 2005. CJ’s strong financial analysis and marketing skills assisted SBDC clients by counseling over 300 businesses, generating over $10,000,000 in new investments and saving or creating over 300 jobs in Whatcom County.
One of the key positions CJ held prior to rejoining the SBDC team as the Interim Director, was serving as the Northwest Area Director for the Employment Security Department, or ESD, for Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan Counties. Serving for over 3 during the great recession, CJ was responsible for ESD’s service delivery in Bellingham, Mt. Vernon and Oak Harbor centers, serving the four county area’s job seekers and employers through the WorkSource system.
CJ has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration from Western Washington University.
Eric has been working for the SBDC since 2008 and has spent the last 21 years solving complex business problems. He has also had success running his own marketing consulting and internet development company.
Eric Grimstead is a Certified Business Advisor and Certified Global Business Professional for the Small Business Development Center at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.
He was first hired by the SBDC in 2008 and has spent the last 4 years counseling hundreds of clients throughout Whatcom County. As both an entrepreneur and Certified Business Advisor, Eric has spent the last 21 years solving complex business problems. His work experience includes working with a boat manufacturing company where he helped launch the company and grew sales from $0 to $4 million, one of the largest independent direct mail companies on the West Coast where he worked with clients like the Washington Nationals (Major League Baseball) and Jafra Cosmetics, and running his own successful marketing consulting and internet development company.
Eric enjoys working with clients to increase business profitability, wealth and success by uncovering hidden assets, overlooked opportunities and undervalued possibilities. He is a recognized business growth strategist and direct response marketing expert. He has presented a number of training programs on how to leverage social media and digital marketing to grow sales and increase brand awareness.
Eric is dedicated to growing businesses and advancing personal achievement. He believes strongly in ethical business practices. Eric welcomes meeting with any entrepreneur who wants to grow their business, increase their personal wealth and add to their personal growth.
Debra originally joined the SBDC network in 2007 with over twenty years’ experience in risk and insurance management, and sales and marketing management in the Fortune 500, Forbes 100, and Small Business arenas. She had also held a senior level position in her family real estate development company in Hawaii.
Prior to returning to the SBDC community this year, Debra worked for several years as a business counselor to small businesses throughout Washington State, as part of grant funded projects for the College of Business and Economics at Western Washington University. During this time she acquired her CGBP Certified Global Business Professional certification. This assisted her in preparing her business clients for the world of exporting. Debra has counseled businesses across all sectors from manufacturing to the hospitality industry. She has a special interest in consumer product development, sales, trade show organization, real estate development and risk management.
As a higher education instructor for Intensive English and business courses in Accounting and Office Management, she is keenly interested in serving the needs of business owners from all ethnicities and business backgrounds. Debra has both an MBA and BA in Intercultural Communications from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. At Western Washington University’s SBDC, Debra serves the needs of businesses in Whatcom County including the city of Bellingham, and other local small cities.
Areas of Specialization include:
• Public speaking coaching for marketing purposes
• Sales Development for small retail, big box retail, business to business, and government channels
• Risk Identification, Risk Control, Strategic Risk Management, Enterprise Risk Management
• Budgeting and Forecasting