Based on the highly successful program run by the Center for Business & Innovation in Thurston County, this 35-hour intensive is designed to provide small business owners with additional skills in financial mastery, operational efficiencies and marketing. Instructors guide owners through a proven curriculum that will help them improve profitability, control costs and grow their business with confidence.


Thrive! is designed to take second-stage companies to the next level. At this stage of growth, businesses often experience internal and external roadblocks to that keep them from growing larger or more profitable, such as those related to human resources, operations, finances, marketing, competition or new markets. Companies that are accepted into the Thrive! program work with a team of national experts to explore the most pressing issues, using data, best practices and research tools that are usually only made available to the largest corporations. This actionable information helps CEOs make informed decisions about their businesses, allowing them to overcome roadblocks that historically, lead to 15 to 30% growth in revenue. To help businesses, the Department of Commerce pays a large portion of the cost of the Thrive! program.

Global Entrepreneurship Month (GEM)

Held every November, Global Entrepreneurship Month is a series of events, webinars, competitions, panels, showcases and learning opportunities geared to entrepreneurs or future entrepreneurs who are interested in starting their own businesses.

Startup Centers

Startup Centers offer entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses a suite of consulting, mentoring, and educational programs and services designed to jump-start and grow local businesses. StartUp NCW in Wenatchee is affiliated with the Department of Commerce but economic partners throughout Washington operate other startup centers.

Retirement Marketplace

This employee or employer program allows owners and workers to plan for retirement through 401(k) and IRA retirement plans that are vetted by the state and offered by private plan companies.

Microenterprise Assistance

Commerce sub-contracts with the Washington State Microenterprise Association (WSMA) to provide microenterprise development associations across the state with the resources, access to capital and tools they need to help the state’s smallest business (five employees or less) seize new opportunities for growth and profitability.

Northwest Economic Development Course

The annual Northwest Economic Development Course is the premier event offering intensive training in the basic concepts, methods, and strategies of local economic development. 2024 marks the 34th year of this course that has graduated over 2,100 practitioners throughout the country. A diverse and experienced faculty provides an excellent blend of theory and practice. Course content is oriented toward practical application. Practitioners new to the field as well as those with experience seeking new ideas and tools are encouraged to attend.