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Renton Small Business Development Center Opens its Doors

July 30, 2007

For more information contact:

Bill Taylor, President/CEO, Renton Chamber of Commerce 425-226-4560 or btaylor@gorenton.com
Dr. Don Bressler, President, Renton Technical College 425-235-2235 or dbressler@rtc.edu
Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director 425-430-6569 or pshridhar@rentonwa.gov


Leaders from the public and private sector partners developing the Renton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) gathered today for a ribbon cutting and opening event of this valuable new community resource. 

The Renton SBDC is being established through a partnership among Renton Technical College (RTC), the Renton Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Renton, with additional direct support from First Savings Bank and Frontier Bank.  Business advisor services will be provided through a contract with the well-established SBDC at Highline College.  The Renton SBDC will help strengthen Renton's economic vitality by providing one-on-one confidential assistance to individuals, small businesses, and other entrepreneurs at no charge.  Programs will provide practical, real-life solutions and will be taught by experienced business people.  SBDC advising services will be available at RTC or by appointment downtown in the 200 Mill Building, Renton’s old city hall.  The downtown location is being provided through a partnership with Washington State University-Extension. 

“This is an excellent example of how our community can work together and create new economic activities and job opportunities in Renton," said Senator Margarita Prentice, Chair, State Senate Ways & Means Committee.

“What started about a year ago as an idea is now resulting in real and important services being offered today to existing and potential small businesses.  It has been quite a team effort to pull this together,” said Dr. Donald Bressler, President of Renton Technical College.

According to Renton Mayor Kathy Keolker, “Today’s opening of the Renton Small Business Development Center is a perfect example of what can happen when we all roll up our sleeves and focus on what needs to happen in order to strengthen our economy, and in turn, our community.  This is a public-private partnership that will result in strengthened existing businesses, strong new businesses, and a community which continues to foster an entrepreneurial spirit.  We have made tremendous progress in executing an aggressive economic development effort in Renton and we can’t let up.  This SBDC is an important next step in our efforts.” 

Bill Taylor, President and CEO of the Renton Chamber of Commerce, added, “In Renton, entrepreneurship is thriving.  But unfortunately the odds are against entrepreneurs.  Based on the State’s 23% business failure rate, about 500 of Renton’s 2,500 businesses won’t make it.  That is an unacceptable reality that we have got to turn around.  It will take a lot of big changes to get there, but the services being provided through this SBDC will be a giant first step.  I can’t think of anything that the Renton Chamber of Commerce could do that would be more significant for our business community than helping this SBDC succeed.” 

The event allowed for community leaders to meet the new SBDC Business Advisor, Jim Kallenberg.  Jim told the event attendees, “I’ll be working here in the Renton community to help deliver these important services.  This is obviously a community that works together to move forward and I’m honored to become a part of it.  We have a great deal of work to do with Renton’s new and up-and-coming small businesses, so I am eager to get to work.”

Appointments with Jim Kallenberg, the Renton SBDC Business Advisor, can be set up by calling 425-235-7819 or by e-mail via sbdc-renton@rtc.edu.  Additional information about Washington State’s Small Business Development Center network is available at sbdc@wsu.edu.  The Washington SBDCs are a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Washington State University’s College of Business, and many Washington institutions of higher education and economic development organizations.
 
The Renton SBDC will provide critical support to small business during a period in which small businesses are driving the nation's economic growth.  On a national scale, the 25 million small businesses across the country employ more than half of the nation's private workforce, generate more than half of the country's Gross Domestic Product, and are the principal source of new jobs in the US economy.