Gov. Inslee visits Skagit Small Business Conference

Gov. Inslee visits Skagit Small Business Conference Main Photo

2 Nov 2023

Small Business

Gov. Jay Inslee visited the Skagit Small Business Conference on Oct. 25 as part of a tour around Skagit County. 

The Skagit Small Business Conference took place over two days in October, with one day’s content presented in English and the second day’s content presented in Spanish. More than 80 representatives from small businesses attended over the two days. 

EDASC and the Washington State Small Business Liaison Team co-sponsored the event, which took place at Washington State University’s Northwestern Washington Research & Extension Center (NWREC) in Mount Vernon. 

Inslee addressed the conference participants, made up of small business owners, employees from state agencies, and representatives from other organizations that serve businesses. He noted that Skagit County is a center for green energy innovation, such as the work being done at Silfab Solar and the coming electric ferry that will serve Guemes Island. He also recognized the NWREC for its continued contributions to agriculture.  

Bilingual Business Advisor Jorge Estefan was instrumental in bringing the conference to Skagit County. He had seen the programming offered in other parts of the state in the dual-language format, and he thought it would be ideal programming for our region.

“I am so happy we were able to bring these resources to all small businesses in Skagit County,” he said. “Our Latino businesspeople particularly expressed their gratitude to have these resources offered in Spanish.”

While many Latino business owners are bilingual, they often prefer to learn in Spanish.

During the event, the attending state agencies, ranging from the Department of Revenue to Labor & Industries to the Department of Enterprise Services, gave brief presentations about the agencies’ role in business and how they can help small business owners at all stages. After the presentations, attendees had the opportunity to meet with the agency representatives to answer their questions. 

“The Washington Small Business Liaison Team is thankful for collaborating with the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County to host the first Spanish and English small business conference,” said Hugo Nicolas, from the Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance. 

“During the conference we connected with multiple business owners and entrepreneurs, they gained insights on how to navigate regulatory information and learned about programs and services that can help them grow their business and be more effective. We thank EDASC for helping us support our vision to make Washington the best place to do business.” 

Other participating organizations included RAIN Catalysts, Washington Small Business Development Center, Impact Washington, Skagit Valley College, NW Innovation Resource Center, Skagit Chamber Alliance, Latino Business Leaders, Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Center for Retention and Expansion for Child Care.

With the positive reception and enthusiastic participation, EDASC hopes to make the Skagit Small Business Conference an annual event.