Yakima County Development Association - Enterprise Corner

Jean Brown

Jean Brown

Jean publishes a blog called the Enterprise Corner.  It features articles on entrepreneurship, local industry trends, manufacturing news and periodic ‘toolbox’ articles showcasing assistance, incentives and other resources for local businesses.

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Enterprise Corner

Startups Compete for $17,500 in prizes

Startups Compete for $17,500 in prizes - February 27, 2017

The Yakima County Development Association and Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce announced today that eight emerging businesses are advancing to the final round of the Enterprise Challenge business plan contest. These entrepreneurs were selected by a group of 26 judges that met with and evaluated business plan contestants at an afternoon trade show last week. Based on their scores and evaluations, the judges ultimately picked the following eight companies to move forward in our contest: ... Read More »


A New Tool to Grow Your Business: 'Economic Gardening'

A New Tool to Grow Your Business: 'Economic Gardening' - April 20, 2016

What is Economic Gardening ? A method of supporting second stage growth companies by identifying and implementing customized development and expansion strategies. Economic Gardening specialists assist CEOs to identify potential or missed opportunities such as leveraging new or emerging markets, refining business models and gaining access to competitive intelligence. The team facilitates access to new tools and information that can be applied immediately. How the EG model works : Partnering ... Read More »


Manufacturers Can Benefit From Specialized Online Training for Employees

Manufacturers Can Benefit From Specialized Online Training for Employees - June 11, 2015

Here is a great resource for companies that want to invest in their employees while improving productivity at their facilities. Manufacturers in Yakima County can register up to five of their employees for free online college courses. Make it in Washington Scholarships provide companies a great way to build manufacturing, logistics and management leadership skills. Course offerings include: advanced manufacturing; quality/lean and supply chain management; global sourcing and distribution; and ... Read More »


TOOL KIT:  Espanol Business Resources

TOOL KIT: Espanol Business Resources - June 03, 2015

There are a variety of resources available in Espaol for business owners and entrepreneurs. This issue of Tool Kit will highlight the online assistance available in Spanish. The newly released Small Business Administration Spanish Language Website offers all the assistance services of SBA in a convenient website dedicated to Spanish readers. Their services include advice for starting and managing a business, online workshops, information on loans and financing and opportunities to take advantage... Read More »


Crowdfunding:  Organizing and Running Successful Online Campaigns

Crowdfunding: Organizing and Running Successful Online Campaigns - June 01, 2015

Our crowdfunding workshop at Yakima Maker Space was a big success. About 30 entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders joined us to learn more about crowdfunding , the popular online funding portals that offer significant new ways to fund start-up businesses, social causes, and non-profits. We teamed up with Yakima Maker Space and I Heart Yakima to offer the class, and brought in Greg Paley, a leading business consultant and attorney to highlight how crowdfunding works. Paley started the class by ... Read More »


Roundtable Focuses on Best Hiring Practices

Roundtable Focuses on Best Hiring Practices - May 22, 2015

Yakima County Development Association's May Roundtable put the spotlight on how to find and hire and retain great employees. Scott Washburn with Tree Top, Debbie Byrd with Triumph Actuation Systems and Lisa Garcia with Yakima Chief-Hop Union anchored a panel discussion on strategies they are using to fill key jobs at their companies. Each of them shared some great tips and insights surrounding effective employee recruitment/retention strategies. Tree Top, Triumph, and YCH Hops agreed that their... Read More »


The World (of Exporting) According to Jim Foley

The World (of Exporting) According to Jim Foley - May 05, 2015

The Yakima County Development Association recently hosted an great seminar on developing international markets. Our instructor, Jim Foley, was fantastic. Is it easy to see why some of my peers call Jim Foley one of the best export trainers in the country. He is passionate about helping small business grow and one of the most experienced export coaches around. The day long course acquainted participants with general trade development lessons but it also provided a backdrop where companies ... Read More »


Motivating Employees for Peak Performance

Motivating Employees for Peak Performance - April 28, 2015

Diana Welch owner of Human Resources Management Solutions provides some great tips for motivating employees. She has assisted hundreds of companies with personnel issues, policies and practices. Welch reflected that the biggest step towards effectively managing and motivating employees is to have clear goals. Setting effective company goals is the first step towards getting the team on the same page. This allows supervisors to set specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, time sensitive... Read More »


Cintas Welcomes Roundtable Group

Cintas Welcomes Roundtable Group - April 21, 2015

Cintas recently welcomed our Roundtable group to show off their Yakima regional headquarters. Cintas completed a $3.5 million dollar renovation at the Yakima facility - it's now the largest automated industrial laundry facility in our region. Yakima's operation supports customers over a whopping 50,000 square mile area including 18 counties in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The logistics and tracking of each piece of laundry is impressive. For example a shirt worn by Jeff from Pasco arrives ... Read More »


TOOL KIT:  Industrial Revenue Bonds

TOOL KIT: Industrial Revenue Bonds - April 07, 2015

Industrial revenue bonds can offer established manufacturers attractive financing for capital expansion projects. Interest rates on bonds are typically lower than traditional bank loans because the bonds carry a tax exempt status. Terms on bonds may also be longer than conventional loans. IRB financing is limited to $10 million and $2 million is a practical minimum. Most banks packaging bond financing require companies to obtain a letter of credit to support the IRB. As a result borrowers ... Read More »


Leaders Eat Last:  Simon Sinek On Servant Leadership

Leaders Eat Last: Simon Sinek On Servant Leadership - March 27, 2015

Our association held its annual retreat recently and was captivated by a video featuring Simon Sinek . He has vaulted onto the public scene as a result of giving one of the most popular TED talks of all time. Sinek suggests that the "why" of organizations provides the most compelling rationale for believing in and supporting the company. An expert on leadership, Sinek profiles how great businesses inspire their employees and customers by translating the why of their companies into a powerful... Read More »


Local Expert Highlights Benefits of ISO Quality Management

Local Expert Highlights Benefits of ISO Quality Management - March 20, 2015

I had the opportunity to visit with Pete Morton recently about quality management. He is the plant and quality manager at Macroplastics in Union Gap. Pete is our community's go to expert on ISO certification and quality management. He is an ISO auditor and has over 30 years of quality management experience under his belt. JB: What is ISO 9001? Pete : ISO 9001 is an international standard for quality management systems. It provides a road map to an effective quality management system. It ... Read More »


TOOL KIT:  Government Grants Available to Support Small Business Exports

TOOL KIT: Government Grants Available to Support Small Business Exports - March 12, 2015

Earlier this year Washington State secured a significant grant from the Small Business Administration to help state small businesses grow through exporting. Washington's Department of Commerce will use the funds to help businesses with export vouchers, trade show support, rural outreach and training, and export finance training Of particular interest are the state's export vouchers . These grants for up to $5000 can be used by eligible businesses to support international sales development. ... Read More »


Ace Is The Place In Moxee

Ace Is The Place In Moxee - February 27, 2015

This month our Industry Roundtable group toured Ace Hardware's distribution center in Moxee. At 880,000 square feet it is one of the largest buildings in Yakima County. It's easy to spot if you are heading out Highway 24. The facility is one of 15 Ace distribution centers in the U.S. It supports over 350 Ace retailers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. Jeff Scott, Retail Support Manager explained that Ace is a cooperative owned by its retailers. Thus, the center is not just... Read More »


Exporting 101 Workshop - Enter the Global Market

Exporting 101 Workshop - Enter the Global Market - January 29, 2015

Did you know that 95% of potential customers live outside of the U.S? If you want to grow your business in the future it's time to consider selling your product or service internationally. Join trade expert Jim Foley in Yakima for a great seminar on exporting. Export 101 Workshop Tuesday, April 28, 2015 9: 00 am - 4:00 pm Yakima Holiday Inn 802 E. Yakima Ave. Cost: $45 Ask about group discounts! Materials and lunch will be provided Space is limited Register Here or contact Jean at New Vision... Read More »


Tieton Cider Shows Off New Facility

Tieton Cider Shows Off New Facility - December 23, 2014

Our Industry Roundtable group had the chance to celebrate the season at Tieton Cider Works recently. Their new space on J Street has fast become a popular social spot for tasting and socializing. We enjoyed the seasonal ciders as well as mainstays like apple, cherry and apricot. With the October grand opening under their belt, the company sees a bright future in their new location. Fred Lopez the Cider Bar Manager explained that the larger facility gives them the ability to take advantage ... Read More »


Tool Kit:  Make it in Washington Initiative Helps Manufacturers

Tool Kit: Make it in Washington Initiative Helps Manufacturers - December 04, 2014

Help is on the way for manufacturers in Yakima County as a result of a $3 million dollar grant awarded under the federal Make it in America Challenge . This initiative is designed to accelerate job creation and reshoring by helping rural Washington manufacturers and training local workers to meet the needs of these businesses. If you are a manufacturer in Yakima County you have an opportunity to build your business and improve your workforce at the same time. Make it in Washington partners ... Read More »


Servant Leadership Taking Hold At Local Companies

Servant Leadership Taking Hold At Local Companies - October 29, 2014

Servant Leadership: first it was Paragon Films, then it was Michelsen Packaging, and more recently it's Wilbur Precast. We discovered that these local companies are all working to instill servant leadership at their facilities. The concept is timeless - as Jesus Christ is typically cited as the original servant leader. You don't have to be a churchgoer though to instill this effective management philosophy within your business or organization. Robert Greenleaf really founded the modern ... Read More »


Washington State Enters Crowdfunding Arena

Washington State Enters Crowdfunding Arena - October 21, 2014

Washington State is on the verge of being in the crowdfunding business. The state legislature passed HB 2023 last spring. The legislation allows state businesses to raise up to $1 million during any 12 month period from Washington state residents in a crowdfunding campaign. More recently the State's Securities Division finished promulgated rules for the state's crowdfunding legislation. The rules are: Allow businesses to file a simplified offering document designed to provide adequate ... Read More »


Tool Kit:  Small Business Administration Loans

Tool Kit: Small Business Administration Loans - September 10, 2014

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) provides counsel and assistance to America's entrepreneurs and established businesses. As part of its duties the SBA administers two popular loan programs, the 7A and CDC/504. It also offers microloans through partners and administers disaster loans . Let's take a look at SBA's two most popular lending programs The SBA 7A program encourages small business lending by providing repayment guarantees to banks and lending institutions that make... Read More »


TOOL KIT - Financing Resources for Established Businesses

TOOL KIT - Financing Resources for Established Businesses - April 03, 2014

As our economy continues to bounce out of the recession many companies are faring better and poised to expand. Some firms can support their growth with profits alone but most companies need to access outside financing to build their business. It is very challenging to get a loan as a start-up business but as firms get past their third year and establish solid accounts and records there are more financing options available. Companies need to carefully evaluate their funding needs and match ... Read More »


TOOL KIT : EXPORTING - Helping Businesses Go Global

TOOL KIT : EXPORTING - Helping Businesses Go Global - March 07, 2014

Going global is becoming quite lucrative as businesses venture into foreign counties to expand market share opportunities and reach international markets. Ninety-five percent of the world's consumers now live outside the United States. The fastest growing markets are now abroad in countries like China, India and Brazil. Even though international opportunities abound, relatively few domestic companies have international customers. The reasons why businesses do not export vary, but the most ... Read More »


What Is Crowdfunding?  Will it Work for You?

What Is Crowdfunding? Will it Work for You? - October 12, 2012

Traditionally, most entrepreneurs have had to scrape together their own capital or get bootstrap financing from a close-knit network of friends and family to get a business venture off the ground. A new day is dawning though as social media and the internet combine to create new funding options and opportunities. Crowdfunding coallesces online communities to support a wide variety of activities, including disaster relief, support for artists, and political campaigns. It is also increasingly ... Read More »


New Vision Launches Industry Roundtable to Support Local Business

New Vision Launches Industry Roundtable to Support Local Business - December 23, 2011

We are excited to announce the formation of a Business Industry Roundtable for the owners and managers of Yakima County's major industries. The New Vision Business Industry Roundtable is based on similar groups that have organized in other communities to coalesce local manufacturers and key industry leaders. Bra d McDowell, President of AB Foods/Washington Beef, is one of the biggest promoters of this initiative. "I was involved in a similar group in another community and it was such a good... Read More »



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"There's tremendous untapped potential in Yakima; there's also tremendous room for expansion - you're not constrained with respect to land. " - Robert Wallace, CEO, Wallace Properties