Skip to main content
TBCC Connections: Helping Small Businesses throughout Tillamook County -Tillamook Bay Community College

TBCC Connections: Helping Small Businesses throughout Tillamook County

By President Ross Tomlin

Ross Tomlin Photo

TBCC is known throughout Tillamook County to provide quality higher education opportunities to people wanting to improve their lives and reach a career goal. But many of you might not know that the College also works closely with small businesses throughout the county to help them get started or remain successful. We do this through our Small Business Development Center (SBDC) which is run by Arlene Soto, our SBDC Director. She has 26 years’ experience running SBDC programs in Oregon and Wyoming, and has done amazing work with our small businesses since coming to TBCC almost three years ago.

The work done to help businesses through the pandemic over the past seven months is a great example of the value of the Oregon Small Business Development Center network (OSBDCN) in Oregon. Businesses in Tillamook County have been through a lot since mid-March. With the outbreak of COVID-19, the OSBDCN jumped into helping businesses statewide to access the CARES Act resources. Since the start of the pandemic, the TBCC SBDC office has assisted 79 businesses countywide with finding answers to questions about COVID disaster assistance, reinventing how to do business in the new environment and how to recover.

When wildfires broke out statewide, the SBDC jumped in to help.  The network developed tools and resources that help guide small businesses as they make decisions about when, where and how to reopen. To access those tools go to  Year-to-date the Tillamook SBDC office has advised 141 small businesses.  In a normal year, the SBDC office serves 115-125 businesses. Business advising is free and confidential. Our local center has trained an additional 128 businesses throughout the year with low cost classes. New classes and training programs are being developed constantly based on the needs expressed by businesses in the area.

In this new business environment, the SBDC signature program Small Business Management (SBM) is even more valuable to build business resiliency. SBM covers topics such as business strategy, human resources, financial management, cybersecurity, marketing and much more. SBM starts in October and runs through June. Businesses attend class once a month, meet with SBDC business advisers, and work on their business as they build for the future.

The Tillamook SBDC has both SBM 1 and SBM 2 starting October 13th and 14th.  Each of these programs normally cost $900 for a $2,500 value. Due to the impacts from the disasters, the Tillamook SBDC found scholarship money for this year so small businesses can attend for only $200 for each program. With the program starting now, any business interested in attending needs to contact Lindsey Gann 503-842-8222 x 1420 or immediately.

Small, local businesses are the backbone of Tillamook County. Tillamook Bay Community College is dedicated to assisting them through the Small Business Development Center. If you are a small business owner in Tillamook County, please reach out to Arlene and the TBCC SBDC for resources and classes that can help make your business even more successful.