New business center aims to help Lakewood economy

Small business is big business in Lakewood, and Clover Park is meeting the demand for a booming small business economy by giving current and potential owners something they haven’t seen before — a new, comprehensive resource center. 

Clover Park has partnered with multiple leading business development organizations in Lakewood to create the Center for Business Development.  The center will offer an array of comprehensive services that will benefit small business owners. 

The new facility will be located in the heart of the Lakewood campus with full services expected to begin in the summer of 2006 when the remodel of Building 19 is complete.  In the meantime, business training classes will be offered in cooperation with the center’s partners such as the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise. 

Sharon Barber is the college’s new part-time Coordinator for the Center for Business Development. Sharon brings nearly 25-years of experience working for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to Clover Park. She helped launch the Tacoma Business Assistance Center, which operates in partnership with Bates Technical College. 

“Nothing like this has ever been done in Lakewood,” said Sharon. “This will be the place where existing and future business owners, Clover Park students, and the public can go to receive extensive information and learn practical tools to ensure their businesses succeed.” 

The Center for Business Development will provide services to business owners in Lakewood and in greater Pierce County, which may have undeserved areas.  Owners will receive information and tips ranging from product development to business strategy, expert counseling advice to financial assistance and loan processing support.  There will be free legal services, an on-site library, workshops and seminars. 

“The new Center for Business Development will create endless opportunities for our community and benefit our students’ education,” said Dr. Sharon McGavick, the college’s president. “The highest growth rate of businesses is happening in Eastern Pierce County and we’re proud to take the lead in helping our community meet that growth.” 

For students and graduates, the center will foster entrepreneurship and provide information and counseling that will help launch and manage their own successful businesses. 

The Center for Business Development is being developed through Clover Park’s Economic Development department.  If you would like more information about the Center for Business Development call Sharon Barber at (253) 589-5962 or Andrea Olson, Vice President for Economic Development, at (253) 589-5510.