Couple eating on Main St
Interior of a business on Fourth Plain Boulevard
Photo of bikes and customers at Torque Coffee in downtown Vancouver

May is Small Business Month in Vancouver

Vancouver Small Business Month Logo

Small businesses are the core of Vancouver’s economy. They make up 95 percent of all the businesses in the City, and contribute to our community by providing jobs, services and amenities. In Vancouver, we celebrate small businesses throughout the month of May, with a series of training and networking opportunities targeted at small businesses and entrepreneurs (see 2017 Small Business Month calendar below).

Vancouver Small Business Month is a collaborative effort presented by the City of Vancouver and the following partners:


Small Business Month is just one component of Vancouver’s commitment to a thriving business community. The City offers assistance to the businesses year round through its Economic Development Division and Business Assistance Program.

Vancouver Small Business Month Calendar of Events

April 21

Clark College - Transformational Leadership: Overcoming Obstacles as a Business

9 AM - 12 PM
Gaiser Student Center
Please join us for a special business speaker event featuring local entrepreneurs Kent Lewis of Anvil Media and Carol Parker Walsh of Evolve Image Consulting as they speak to students and community members on the topic of “Overcoming Obstacles as a Business.” The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Gaiser Student Center and is free and open to the public.
Drawing from their decades of professional experience in marketing and branding, Lewis and Walsh will share their insights on building businesses, facing challenges, and positioning yourself for success. Attendees will also have opportunities for questions and networking.

May 1

Small Business Month Proclamation

7 PM
Vancouver City Hall, Council Chambers
Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt will issue a proclamation on Small Business Month and the importance of small businesses to our community and economy.

Clark College ECD - Photography for Business

6 - 9 PM
Clark College Main Campus, AA4 Building, Room 102
Mondays, 5/1/17 - 5/15/17. Build your own professional photos for a portfolio, product catalog or web site! Learn how to light and photograph small and large objects (such as jewelry, art, products, real estate interiors, home exteriors and landscapes) without shadows or blown highlights.

May 2

SCORE - Record Keeping and Taxes for Your Business

9 AM - 12 PM
Score Vancouver Office
This seminar explains why business record keeping is important and clears up questions regarding taxation and the type of business formation you choose. We’ll review various business accounting methods and explain which best fits your situation. And we’ll answer some of your questions about those pesky records themselves both manual and computerized, how long should they be retained and things like “Do I really need a CPA, a bookkeeper or can I do it all effectively myself?”

Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce - Five Steps to Writing an Effective Press Release

12 - 1 PM
GVCC Conference Room A
Writing a press release for the first time can seem daunting. This workshop will help you understand the language and journalistic style used by reporters. Among the things you’ll learn: the proper format for writing a release, key information that must be included in every press release and how to get your press release to reporters.

May 3

PTAC - Is Government Contracting For You?

11:30 AM - 1 PM
Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce
This seminar is designed to give you the tools to begin the process of pursuing opportunities with federal and state government agencies. This presentation will benefit businesses both large and small. Topics covered will include:

  • How the federal and state governments buy goods and services
  • Governmental registrations
  • How to conduct market research to better understand your government customers 
  • How agencies advertise their procurement offerings
  • Small business programs and certifications
  • Business resources and more

There will be time for Q&A to help move you along the process of finding, bidding and winning contracts.

2017 Small Business Week - Luncheon

12 - 1:30 PM
Portland Art Museum, Sunken Ballroom
Be there when the Portland District announces the 2017 Small Business Week award winners. Learn what makes these small businesses special and meet the inspiring owners that run them. Network with and congratulate the leading SBA Lenders and Small Business Champions that help Oregon and SW Washington's small businesses start, grow and succeed.

Vancouver Community Library - Business Plan

6 - 7:30 PM
Vancouver Community Library, Klickitat Room
A presenter from SCORE will cover an overview of business plan and the principal underlying reason for writing one. Attending is free. Please follow the link to register.

May 4

Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce - Communicating with the Media

12 - 1 PM
GVCC Conference Room A
Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to learn from one of our region's best media relations professionals. Nelson Holmberg, the Port of Ridgefield's VP of Innovation will share a number of successful techniques to help you better communicate with our local media outlets. While there are methods and best practices to media relations, there is also a value in thinking out-of-the-box. Attendees will learn when, how, and why to communicate with the media in this workshop.

May 8

SCORE - Grow Your Business with Email and Social Media

10 AM - 12 PM
Vancouver Housing Authority Community Room
We’ll show you how to make the most of the combination of email and social media for your business. When the session is done, you’ll have a greater understanding of marketing basics like goals and objectives. You’ll learn what a “campaign” is and what to write about and offer in that campaign. You’ll be given some simple but powerful tips for how to get your messages opened and read, shared and socially visible. And you’ll see that there are some great tools you can use to help engage with your existing customers and supporters as well as expand your reach to new prospects.

Clark College CED - eBay I The Basics of Selling

6 - 9 PM
Clark College Columbia Tech Center, Room 210
Learn to create an eBay Seller account, create successful eBay listings, upload pictures, and accept PayPal payments.

Clark College CED - Social Media for Business

6 - 8 PM
Mondays, 5/8/17 - 5/30/17. Clark College Columbia Tech Center, Room 339
Learn the basics of choosing the best social channels, establishing good social media accounts, and setting up a content strategy for each to keep your customers engaged!

May 9

Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce - How to Build a Strategic Media relations Campaign

12 - 1 PM
GVCC Conference Room A
You know your business could use some good PR, but is a press release enough? Learn how to get more media coverage for your business with a strategic media relations campaign, plus:

  • What a public relations plan looks like (and how to create yours)
  • How to choose the right PR strategy for your business
  • Three simple ways to interest the media in your message


Clark College CED - eBay II Advanced Selling Strategies

6 - 9 PM
Clark College Columbia Tech Center, Room 210
Learn insider strategies that draw the most bids, maximize sales, and beat competition. Covers finding a profitable niche, choosing what to sell and avoid, and using drop shippers to minimize inventory costs.

May 10

SCORE - Introduction to Desktop and QuickBooks and Financial Management

9 AM - 12 PM
Score Vancouver Office
SCORE Vancouver’s Introduction to Desktop QuickBooks is a simple and hands-on way to get started with the tool that over 4 million US businesses use for their accounting records and financial reporting. We’ll show you the mechanics of recording basic transactions with real world examples. More importantly, you'll learn how accounting and financial reporting are inter-related, helping you understand what is affected by each transaction. Most importantly, the class offers a separate no cost opportunity to meet with a SCORE mentor to review your use of QuickBooks and address any questions you may have.

Vancouver Community Library - Business Legalities

6 - 7:30 PM
Vancouver Community Library, Klickitat Room
A presenter from WA Department of Revenue will provide guidelines for registration while filing the Master Application with Business Licensing. There will be helpful tips and information for new business owners pertaining to their tax classification – retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, service providers. Attending is free. Please follow the link to register.

May 11

Fourth Plain Forward - How to Build a Snapshot Business Plan

8:30 - 10:30 AM
Boys and Girls Club - O.K. Clubhouse
A successful business starts with a well thought out business plan. This workshop will walk entrepreneurs through the basics of creating a simplified business plan, including a market analysis, company description, marketing and sales plan, financial projections, and more. Speaker: April Salsbury, MBA, is Founder and CEO of Salsbury & Co, a firm specializing in business management and healthcare practice consulting.

Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce - Attracting TV Coverage

12 - 1 PM
GVCC Conference Room A
The Fox12 "Around the Town" reporter is seen all over the region, producing spots with local businesses, nonprofits, at events, and in our recreational areas. Have you ever wondered what it takes to gain coverage and have JoeV come onsite to your business? In this workshop JoeV will explain the best ways to pitch your ideas and interact with Fox12.

Clark College CED - Create a Website for Fun, Profit & Business

6 - 9 PM
Clark College Columbia Tech Center, Room 210
Discover easy-to-use, drag & drop design tools that can build your personal or small business website quickly, with no programming!

Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs

Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs 29th Annual Entrepreneurship Trade Show & Luncheon

Tradeshow: 10 am-12 pm, and 1:30 pm-3 pm, FREE
Luncheon: 12 pm-1:30 pm, $85
Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. Portland, OR 97232
OAME’s annual tradeshow features 130 business exhibitors under one roof, and local and state government agencies looking to partner with small businesses. Guest speakers include John Rodgers Jr. and Mellody Hobson of Ariel Investments.

May 16

Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce - Opportunities & Submissions at the Columbian

12 - 1 PM
GVCC Conference Room A
Some of the best recognition your business can earn is through media coverage by your local newspapers. In one hour, the Columbian's Business Reporter, Troy Brynelson will go over the goals and mission of the Business Section and explain how the Columbian shares news with the community, digitally and in print. Plus, Brynelson will highlight press releases he's directly received that resulted in some form of media coverage. In this workshop you will learn how to best position your business for media coverage.

May 17

Ascent Funding - Can I Get a Business Loan, and How?

9 AM - 1 PM
Vancouver Community Library, Skamania Room
Whether you need capital for your business now or think you might in the future, we invite you to meet with an Ascent Funding advisor to discover your chances of getting a loan or line of credit. Meetings will take place in Vancouver, exact location TBD. During this FREE 45 minute one on one advising session you will:

  • Learn your strengths and challenges as it relates to securing a loan
  • Receive recommendations on how best to prepare for a loan
  • Develop an action plan for securing financing for your business.

Ascent Funding is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping small businesses grow through loans and education.

To learn more about or request a one on one Capital Assessment session, please visit:

Vancouver Community Library - Business Resources at the Library

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Vancouver Community Library, Computer Classroom
Improve your business. Explore the Library's business databases. This class will show you how to navigate business-related databases including market analysis, demographic comparisons, industry reports, and business directories. Attending is free but space is limited to 13. Please follow the link to register.

MAP Alliance - Is your company structure impacting your bottom line?

8:30 - 10 AM
Pacific Continental Bank Community Room
Join us May 17, 2017, for a moderated discussion with Michael Fussell, principal at Tax Law Associates, LLC, about why entity structure impacts tax liability, assets and cash flow. Fussell is a tax law attorney and CPA who is licensed to practice in numerous states.

May 18

Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce - Opportunities & Submissions at the Vancouver Business Journal

12 - 1 PM
GVCC Conference Room A
Nick Shanmac will share what the VBJ looks for in news tips and submissions. Learn how to gain media attention from the business community by aligning your messaging with the editorial calendar themes of the Vancouver Business Journal.

May 23

Southwest Washington Contractors Association and Ameriprise Financial - Road Map: Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About 401k Programs

8 - 9 AM
Ameriprise Financial
The Southwest Washington Contractors Association and Ameriprise Financial are hosting a 401k Plan Workshop for those interested in learning how to save for retirement. If you want to feel more financially secure going into retirement, or find out how your business could be eligible to save thousands in the administration of a 401k plan, this workshop is for you! Briana Hinchliffe and Shane Weisman of Ameriprise Financial are among the top retirement investment professionals in Clark County. If you have burning questions, please stop by. If you have questions about the event, please contact Darcy Altizer, SWCA Executive Director, or (360) 694-7922.

Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce - Clark County Media Panel, Moderated by Ronnie Noize

12 - 1 PM
GVCC Conference Room A
Ronnie Noize of the DIY Marketing Center will moderate a Clark County Media panel featuring Clark County's brand new news source: Plus, we will have and the Battle Ground's The Reflector!

May 24

Marketing to the Government

11:30 AM - 1 PM
Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce
Marketing to the government is different from marketing to commercial enterprises. Incorporating a capability statement into your marketing plan will provide you with some additional leverage in making the right connections with government agencies.

  • Learn how to identify government customers
  • Analyze current and future needs
  • Select and develop the right tools to assist your marketing efforts
  • Connect with your customer and best practices to achieve marketing success
  • Learn how to develop an effective capability statement and set your company apart from your competition

Workshop attendees will receive samples and follow-up assistance for creating federally targeted marketing materials.

Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber - Vancouver Latina Leader Summit

11:30 AM - 1 PM
Vancouver Hilton Hotel
The Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber invites you to a summit of business owners, professionals, and members of the community, to explore the professional development of Latinas and the barriers they face.

Vancouver Community Library - Business Marketing

6 - 7:30 PM
Vancouver Community Library, Klickitat Room
A presenter from Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber will demonstrate how to do market analysis to create the best marketing strategy for your new business. Where are your customers and how can you draw their business? Attending is free. Please follow the link to register.

May 25

Clark College CED - Open House at Clark College Economic & Community Development

5 - 6:30 PM
Clark College CCE/Downtown at 500 Broadway St. Room 214
In support of Small Business Month in Vancouver, Clark College Economic & Community Development is hosting an informal open house. Meet some of our instructors, check out our downtown location and learn more about resources at Clark College. Open to the public. More information: Call 360-992-2939

May 30

Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce - Take Your Media Coverage Further

12 - 1 PM
GVCC Conference Room A
Attendees will learn from the Vancouver Business Journal's 2016 "Best in Business - Marketing" award winner: Kevin Getch of Webfor. Once you've interfaced with the media and you've earned some media coverage - what then? What is the best way to share, and market this coverage to the current and prospective customers? Kevin will share some social media, direct email, and promotional strategies that will elevate your earned media coverage to the next level.

May 31

Vancouver Community Library - Business Money

6 - 7:30 PM
Vancouver Community Library, Klickitat Room
A presenter from Craft3, a nonprofit community development financial institution, will review business lending in general. Learn the 5 C's of business lending and Cash Flow Projection. Attending is free. Please follow the link to register.

GROW Clark County: CoLaboration

5-7 pm
CoLab Shared Workspace 915 Broadway Vancouver, WA
Join us May 31 for our first Grow Clark County event of the year at Vancouver's newest coworking space, CoLab! Celebrating Small Business Month in Vancouver! Be one of the first to receive a sneak peak of this brand new space (opening to the public in June) and learn more about the growing demand for coworking space and advantages of workplace collaboration from our panel discussion. Enjoy an evening of high-energy networking with an adult beverage and delicious appetizers and help us welcome CoLab to downtown Vancouver!