When policymakers and the public think of small businesses, most imagine single owner retail shops that have been in their neighborhood for dozens of years. But small business defined by the State of California, are any businesses with 100 people or less. On a national level, the Small Business Administration defines them as 500 or less employees. In this light, when considered collectively, small businesses truly hold the keys to our economic future. And together, these businesses can be the transformational change in our economy. That’s why at West Business Development Center (WestBDC) we are proud to host the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for Mendocino and Lake County. SBDC’s are centers funded by the Small Business Administration to provide aspiring and current small business owners free business advising and low-cost training services including business plan development, manufacturing assistance, financial packaging and lending assistance, exporting and importing support, disaster recovery assistance, procurement and contracting aid, and market research help.

Because of our unique location, we have the ability to tap into the entire 36 counties of the Northern California SBDC. What that means is that if you have any business problem at all, we have literally hundreds of specialized advisors we can call on to help you. Often we bring national experts here to share current trends and insights on changing customer demographics and growth strategies like we’re doing May 17th with free hands-on workshop for our local shops, restaurants and lodgings. The ability to bring timely, relevant information to our business community for free is a great resource to propel economic growth in our community.  This has been nicely expressed by Amy Collins, of the Village Sock shop, who had never been in retail before:



This week is National Small Business week. For 50 years, the Federal government has used this time to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. In California alone 99.8% of business are small businesses employing 71 million people. Data on Mendocino and Lake County shows our counties are struggling with significant unemployment and limited diversity of industries – helping start and support small businesses is key factor in the economic development of our region, of which are are proud to be a part. We believe small businesses are one of they keys to revitalizing our economy and we aim everyday to prepare our emerging and established entrepreneurs with tools they need to grow and thrive in the communities they love.


Free Business Advising at West Business Development Center

If you are a business of one or a company of 100 employees, at any stage from startup to established, WestBDC offers free business advising  — on whatever topic you might be stuck on. If it’s finding the right loan to expand, staffing your business with the right people or even just wading through new minimum wage requirements, we have experts ready to help you right now.

Click here to sign up for free advising. We’ll schedule a free, thirty-minute call and then we’ll assign you the free expert advisor you need.

Here how these women-owned businesses started, and grew their businesses with free advising from West:

Amy Collins / Village Sock Shop – Mendocino

Kiersten Hannah / Braggadoon – Fort Bragg

Are you a woman-owned business?

Please join us for our monthly networking events where you can meet other women entrepreneurs and share best practices, knowledge and make friends.


Stay tuned to this space where we post workshop descriptions, pricing and links to register or sign up here for our newsletter so you don’t miss a thing.
If you have a business already, are just starting one up or thinking about turning your passion into a business, WestBDC has a workshop just for you.