New small business services coming to Island County

COUPEVILLE, Wash.––Kristina Hines, a business professional with nearly 20 years experience in business administration, HR and digital marketing, has joined the Economic Development Council for Island County (EDCIC) to provide no-cost, confidential advising to business owners and entrepreneurs who want to start, grow or buy/sell a business.

While located within the EDCIC, Hines is an employee of the Washington Small Business Development Center, a network of more than 30 business advisors working in communities across the state to provide one-on-one assistance in any area of business development. This is the first time an SBDC advisor has been located in Island County.

“With her skills and expertise, Kristina will be a tremendous asset to business owners and entrepreneurs throughout the county,” said Sharon Sappington, executive director of the EDCIC.

Sappington, who was an international trade advisor with the SBDC before joining Island County EDC, said SBDC advisors provide in-depth assistance to business owners in any industry, from retail to restaurants to professional services, and at every stage of business development. And now with COVID, this assistance is even more important than ever for our small businesses in Island County.

“SBDC advisors have no agenda but helping businesses succeed,” she said, “so SBDC clients can trust their advisor to be objective, transparent and focused on what matters.”

Hines’ experience includes five years as a business consultant in Pennsylvania, as well as executive and leadership positions at Pratt & Whitney, a global aerospace manufacturer, Vulcan Capital and Baran Telecom.

“Every small business has its own unique story, a tale of grit and unmatched determination, and with that story comes a dynamic set of circumstances and individual challenges,” said Hines. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to the decisions business owners must make. I am looking forward to getting to know the stories of the small business in Island County and providing them with best-in-class service to enhance their decision-making power. I am a firm believer that collaboration yields the best results, and I am excited to work with Island County’s small businesses.”

Hines earned a master’s degree in mass communications from the University of Florida with a specialization in integrated marketing and social/digital media. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware in international relations, with a specialization in international political economy. She is also a trained mediator with the Skagit, Snohomish & Island County Dispute Resolution Center.

SBDC business advisors provide technical assistance to address any challenge business owners face, including financial literacy, cash flow management, access to capital, marketing plans, selling online, strategic planning, business systems or starting an export program.

While SBDC business advisors are located in more than 20 communities across the state, they collaborate frequently to ensure that every SBDC client has access to the best expertise in the network. While one advisor might have special expertise in social media, another might have decades of experience in banking.

Meeting with an SBDC business advisor is easier today than it has ever been. All Washington SBDC advisors are working remotely and use a variety of ways to connect with clients, including Zoom, other online platforms, telephone calls, and emails. The network includes people fluent in Spanish, Mandarin, French, Swahili, Laotian and Thai.

Washington State University is the statewide host of the Washington SBDC and provides administrative and funding support. The Washington SBDC receives half its funding from state and local stakeholders and the other half from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Hines’ position is supported by the Economic Development Council for Island County

To contact Hines, call 360.678.6889 or email Kristina.hines@wsbdc.org.

For more information about Washington SBDC: wsbdc.org/about/

Fore more information about EDCIC:  www.iscoedc.com/sbdc-at-edc/

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Contact Washington SBDC

washington@wsbdc.org

(833) 492-7232