One of the most dynamic and valuable programs offered for existing businesses is the Clatsop Community College Small Business Development Center Small Business Management Program (SBM).

What is SBM? An exclusive 9-month executive business management course for established business owners in which your business is the textbook.

The class meets every other Wednesday afternoon starting Nov. 17 from 3 to 5 p.m. The two hour Zoom sessions are taught by subject matter experts and designed to improve knowledge across topics critical to every small business including leadership and management, financial analysis, sales and marketing, customer service, HR, legal, insurance, technology and more.

Completing SBM will help small business owners enhance their ability to:

• Improve business profitability

• Increase sales by becoming better at communicating and delivering value to customers

• Become a better leader and manager

• Read, analyze and use financial statements

• Leverage strategic planning and forecasting to more effectively plan for expansion

• Develop more robust marketing skills and using the latest technology to drive sales

Josh Allison, owner of Reach Break Brewing and 2019-2021 SBM cohort member said, “Much like the proverb, ‘You can give a person a fish and they will eat for a day, or you can teach a person to fish and they will never go hungry,’ the staff and advisors at the Clatsop SBDC are dedicated to teaching local businesses how to succeed.”

Amanda Barp, co-owner of Watershed Wellness in Astoria and a 2019-2020 SBM cohort member said, “I’ve taken a lot of business classes, worked with several coaches and been in business for over 10 years. I took part in the Small Business Management class and found the speakers, content and mentorship to be exactly what I needed to take the development of our business to the next level.”

Business owners will participate in three ways:

• Learn from experts: Participants will meet and learn from leaders and subject matter experts in a variety of disciplines. The sessions will be held via Zoom (and a potential return to live instruction) every other Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m.

• Private advising sessions: Each business is paired with a professional business advisor who will help take what is taught in SBM sessions and apply it immediately to the business.

• Peer-to-peer networking: SBM participants are more than students, they become a team, learning from one another through the shared goal of business success.

Ian Reid will lead the SBM cohort this fall. For over a decade, he worked closely with small, medium and larger enterprises in both economic development counseling and guiding entrepreneurs to launch, grow and transfer their business, and as co-founder of a business process consulting business that went from two to 26 employees.

Eric Stromquist joins the team, and will be advising businesses in the SBM cohort. He co-founded Hot Lips Pizza, and worked with the Portland Community College Small Business Development Center as an instructor. He also co-founded the Oregon Culinary Institute, where he served as president until 2015.

The cost of the program is $699 for the first person and $199 for an additional member of the same business. It includes at least 50 hours of training and coaching, and all materials and resources are provided.

An award of $350, or 50% of the cost of the program, will be given at the end to businesses who complete the program and present an updated business plan to their peers.

Visit or contact the Clatsop SBDC office for more details on how to apply. Space is limited. Applications are open now until Oct. 29. Applications will be reviewed and an interview scheduled to ensure the businesses is ready to take part in the program.

We look forward to welcoming our 2021-22 cohort into the program!

Kevin Leahy is the executive director of Clatsop Economic Development Resources and the Clatsop Community College Small Business Development Center. Reach him at

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