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Sirti Bestows Award of Honor
October 21, 2010. Billie Moreland, PhD, of Billie Moreland and Associates and Steve Simmons, PhD, E...

Triangle %u201CGraduates%u201D at Sweet Sixteen
The Idea (1994)
In June 1994, while on a layover in the San Francisco airport, Dr. Steve Simmons cam...

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12/24/2001 - Business Information Center is a Treasure Trove

Spokane’s Business Information Center (BIC) is a treasure trove of resources for new businesses, old businesses, and business at risk. Co-sponsored by the Small Business Administration, SCORE, and the Spokane Area Chamber of Commerce, the BIC, in the Terabyte Triangle at 801 W. Riverside, serves Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

Among the many resources available at the BIC is a computer lab with the latest software. These computers are available to business people and entrepreneurs for any business purpose. A whole suite of Adobe software from Adobe Acrobat 5 to Adobe PhotoShop 6 is available to create items from business cards to annual reports. There is a selection of several business plan and marketing plan building software to help in the planning process. The entire Microsoft Office Suite is available in both Windows 2000 and Windows XP for either using or evaluating the software. Quickbooks Pro 2001, as well as other tax and accounting software, are available along with various miscellaneous software packages such as Quicktime, ViaGrafix training disks, and Small Business Resource CD’s.

The rules for use are simple. The computer lab must be used for its intended purpose – as a business resource. The BIC is a resource, not an incubator, so the businessperson must be able to work independently. Everything is to be saved on a floppy disk that one purchases for $1 at the BIC. You may bring your own floppy disk, but it will be scanned for viruses at a cost of $1. The Internet connection may be used for ˝ hour for business research only. Call first to be sure that the computers are available, because occasionally the lab may be used for a class given by SCORE.

Most of the BIC’s resources are free or for a very nominal fee. The Small Business Start-Up Information Package and Regional Resource Guide contains all the information a new business needs to begin, and it is free. This paper bound book contains an SBA business start-up checklist, business tips on business plans, legal structures, insurance considerations and protecting intellectual property. It discusses government regulations and gives all the addresses and telephone numbers for obtaining all the licenses and tax accounts a new business will need for the United States, Washington, and Idaho. The book contains sections on finance, technology resources, food processing information, resources for women and people of color, and much more. It is updated frequently.

In addition to the book, BIC sponsor, SCORE, offers classes and one-on-one counseling with people who have “been there/done that.” The classes have a small charge; counseling is free.

The BIC is a welcoming, comfortable, bustling office. Its walls are lined with books for all manner of businesses and research needs. The tables are spacious and the chairs comfortable, but unlike a library, it doesn’t have presumed or enforced quiet. The atmosphere has the overriding hum of an office with people who are happy to be there.

Some books cover general research areas such as the Thomas Register, demographic materials, Spokane Country Permit Process, and International business Information. Other books are “how tos” and cover specific ventures, for example, “How to Start an Espresso Stand” or “How to Start a Pool Cleaning and Repair Service.” There are small business owner’s manuals, market research books, management books, home-based business, franchising, and financing/venture capital books.

Some of the books must be used in house, but many of the books can be rented for $1 per day. Also available are video and audiotapes. All of the books and tapes available for rental are listed on the BIC’s web site, http://www.spokanechamber.org/bic/

The web site is also up-dated frequently because new books are being added frequently. The BIC’s calendar is also up-to-date. This web site also contains many valuable links to other sites. The newly added “Twelve Days of Business” pages have links for almost any small business need. --- Billie Moreland




Billie Moreland
 
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