Skamania EDC recognizes that our local, established businesses are the backbone of our community. One of the EDC’s primary goals is to provide support and resources to these businesses. Not only do we want to retain our local businesses but we also want to provide the opportunity for expansion as their businesses grow. We have resources available to these businesses to help them improve productivity and promote cost-effective business practices. We also review existing and proposed business incentives at the state and local levels and promote these incentives to Skamania County’s established businesses with a goal of encouraging continual growth for each business. Our two loan programs are available for business expansions and we encourage local business owners to discuss their options with us.
We also work very closely with all of our local partners including, but not limited to, the Port of Skamania County, Skamania County Chamber of Commerce, City of Stevenson, Skamania County, City of North Bonneville, Skamania P.U.D. to ensure that we are doing everything we can to encourage growth for our local businesses.
Featured Established Business
In 1999, Sawtooth Technologies (SawNet) received a small business loan from the Skamania EDC for its construction of the Stevenson Fiber Optic Network. This project enabled Sawtooth to bypass the local phone provider and provide the first “true” high-speed broadband Internet connection to Stevenson. The local telephone provider maintained a monopoly and always kept its rate high enough so that an internet service provider (such as SawNet) was not able to compete. Having its own fiber network enabled SawNet to finally provide high speed services without the burden of paying and use antiquated phone lines. It also provided competition and choices for broadband services for residents and businesses in Skamania County. SawNet was able to pay off the loan early from the operating revenues of the network. SawNet has maintained its headquarters in Stevenson WA for the past 15 years and employs over a dozen employees and contractors. Currently SawNet is expanding on the Stevenson fiber network with a 40 mile fiber-optic network connecting Washougal, North Bonneville, Carson, Mill A and Willard.
- EDC Loan Programs
- SCORE – Vancouver who provides one-on-one counseling, business workshops as well as other business tools.
- The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) holds several low cost and free training classes in the gorge.
- The Department of Commerce provides information on community service, energy policies, business services, local government and infrastructure as well as incentives available in the state.