Resources for Small Businesses

A man in a suit meets with a small-business owner in a Fourth Plain auto shop, offering technical assistance

Small Business Technical Assistance

The City of Vancouver funds two non-profit organizations that provide free business technical assistance services to income-qualified customers. The Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber and the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce provide comprehensive business development and support services to individuals looking to start a new business or to strengthen and grow an existing business.

Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber
Will Suarez, Business Development Coordinator
(360) 450-9044

Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce
Jeannet Santiago, SBAP Business Counselor
(360) 567-1051

Small Business Workshops

Fourth Plain Forward hosts an annual series of free business workshops that are accessible to Fourth Plain businesses and targeted to their needs and challenges.

Fourth Plain Forward 2017 Workshop Series:

February 2 - Taking the Fear Out of Business Loans

A business needs capital to achieve its dreams. In this session, entrepreneurs learned tips to assess whether or not their business is ready for a loan, how to apply for one, and how to deploy and repay their loan.

Speaker: Edward Jones, Loan Officer, Ascent Funding (formerly Albina Opportunities Corporation)

View the presentation materials (English)

View the presentation materials (Spanish)

May 11 – Success Starts with Planning: How to Build a Snapshot Business Plan

A successful business starts with a well thought out business plan. This workshop walked entrepreneurs through the basics of creating a simplified business plan, including a market analysis, company description, marketing and sales plan, financial projections, and more.

Speaker: April Salsbury, MBA, Founder and CEO of Salsbury & Co., a firm specializing in business management and healthcare practice consulting.


+ Fourth Plain Forward 2016 Workshop Series:

May 11 – Food Businesses: Regulations & Requirements

This session was geared toward helping new and existing food business owners navigate the regulatory process, including permitting, licenses, and other requirements. Speakers also discussed various food vending opportunities and the local resources and assistance that are available to businesses.

Speakers: Will Suarez, Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber; Yvonne Van Nostran, Clark County Public Health; Stacey Donovan, City of Vancouver Special Events; Rebecca Kennedy, City of Vancouver Business Assistance

View the presentation slides

September 22 – Social Media & Online Marketing

This session sought to help small businesses understand the basics of marketing via the web and social media. They learned what tools and strategies help them get the most marketing value out of their website and social media accounts.

Speakers: Noland Hoshino and Jim Mains, High Five Media

View the presentation slides

December 1 - Small Business Tax Basics

What are your tax responsibilities? How can you reduce your tax bill? This session covered deductions, profit and loss, record keeping, retirement planning, and many other tax topics that you need to understand as a small business.

Speakers: Kelly Raby, Block Advisors (part of H&R Block); Hans Boehm, Ameriprise; Bette Dodge, Block Advisors; Denise Vasquez, H&R Block; Eduardo Corona, Block Advisors; plus Q&A with expert tax preparers

View the presentation slides (English)

View the presentation slides (Spanish)

Pre-Lease Program

The Pre-Lease Program is a resource for business owners who want to lease or buy commercial space, for property owners wanting to renovate/redevelop commercial space, and for food truck vendors locating in the City of Vancouver. Staff from relevant City departments will meet you at a commercial space prior to you leasing it, conduct a walk through, and provide comments and answer questions. For more information, visit the Pre-Lease Program webpage.

To schedule a Pre-Lease meeting for a property on E Fourth Plain Blvd, please contact Rebecca Kennedy at (360) 487-7896 or

Facade Improvement

The City is working with businesses and property owners on Fourth Plain to make small improvements to their storefronts. This can include paint, updated signage, lighting, and outdoor seating. This is a public-private partnership, in which the City provides design consultation and technical assistance, while the businesses and property owners provide materials and labor. This program is limited to two businesses/properties per year.

Other Resources for Small Businesses

Doing Business in Vancouver

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