Washington SBDC opens offices in the Gorge to assist small business owners

SPOKANE, Wash.––Lorena Lowell, an entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in small business development, has joined the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to provide no-cost, confidential advice to business owners and entrepreneurs in Klickitat and Skamania counties who want to start, grow, buy or sell a business.

The Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a network of more than 35 business advisors working in communities across the state to provide one-on-one assistance in any area of business development. The new SBDC offices, opened in partnership with Klickitat County’s Economic Development department and the Skamania County Economic Development Council, are located in Stevenson and Goldendale and will serve all of south-central Washington.

Lorena Lowell – Washington SBDC

Lowell, a resident of the Gorge for more than 20 years, has started and managed several small businesses and has extensive experience in nonprofit administration and social services work.

“We are excited that Lorena will be the SBDC business advisor for the new Washington SBDC offices that are opening in Klickitat and Skamania counties,” said David McClure, executive director of the Klickitat County Public Economic Development Authority. “We are very fortunate to have someone with her knowledge and experience accept this position. Given the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on our small businesses, the need for the services that Lorena and the Washington SBDC network offer couldn’t be more urgent.”

Duane Fladland, state director of the Washington SBDC, said Lowell’s experiences and expertise will make her an outstanding SBDC advisor. “I am particularly excited that Lorena has deep roots in south-central Washington and understands the challenges and opportunities entrepreneurs there face,” he said.

Lowell was the executive director of the Oregon Child Development Coalition from 2000 to 2003 and then founded Bambinos International Learning Center, bilingual childcare and afterschool program, which she headed until 2013. She and her adult sons started Lowell & Sons development company in 2002, a company they continue to run.

An avid cook, she started D’lish Delivered, a gourmet catering company, in 2008 and is currently working on her first cookbook. Prior to joining the Washington SBDC, Lowell had been an advisor with the Oregon SBDC and also had her own small business consulting business.

“My life and career experiences have set the stage for me to bring knowledge and expertise to other business owners in south-central Washington,” Lowell said.

With more than 25 years of experience in business management, finance, and marketing for both commercial and nonprofit organizations, Lorena has expertise in complex land acquisitions; land use and development challenges; strategic planning; federal, state, and local contracts; government policy development; and franchises.

Lowell has an MBA and an undergraduate degree in marketing and advertising, with minors in economic development and tourism. A native speaker of Spanish, Lowell is a certified court translator and mediator.

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.

SBDC business advisors are located in more than 20 communities from the Columbia River to the Canadian border and their services are available to any business owner or entrepreneur in the state who is ready, willing, and able to make progress toward their goals. SBDC advisors 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, 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.

To contact Lowell, call 541-490-8533 or email. 

To request SBDC services, please contact [email protected] or call 833-492-7232.