By Gerald Patriarca

Tukwila is investing in its small businesses.

A representative from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) gave a presentation to the Tukwila City Council on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, and highlighted the benefits the SBDC provides to the local community.

Rich Shockley is the Director of Economic Development Programs at Highline College and has been an SBDC-Certified Business Advisor since 2008, according to the SBDC website. He said he speaks with councilmembers once per year to let them know what the SBDC is doing and how it benefits the city.

Shockley added that the City of Tukwila provides $12,000 per year in funding to the SBDC.

“Funding is a key part in the success,” Shockley said. “The SBDC has been around for just over 40 years. When it was approved, it required local funding before it can get federal funding. Our partners at the City of Tukwila and some other cities around here provide our base funding. We’re able to take that money to the Small Business Administration and get a dollar-for-dollar match.”

This is essentially doubling the city’s investment in the small business community, Shockley said. “That’s how we can provide our service at no cost.”

SBDC advisors provide one-on-one, confidential, no-cost advising on all phases of small business development and are often co-located with economic development specialists in community colleges, economic development agencies or government agencies. Other services of the Washington SBDC include no-cost or low-cost workshops on a variety of business topics and customized market research services, according to the SBDC website.

Those services include sales, marketing and finance. The SBDC helps businesses get started, assists with established businesses with challenges they may face, and helps guide businesses looking to expand.

Within the City of Tukwila, Shockley said there has been a capital impact of just over $1.3 million in 2021, with 148 meetings and 43 unique clients.

“There’s a need in Tukwila for this assistance,” Shockley said, adding it’s mostly been retail and service industries reaching out.

This program differs from a consultant as Shockley said they advise what’s needed to obtain success, and then together helps the business implement the plan. Advisors don’t come in, gather information then complete the work. All is done by the business.

The SBDC website lists 29 success stories from businesses in Washington ranging from consulting to pest control that have received assistance from the center. Interested business can visit for more information.

Watch Shockley’s presentation to the city council on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022 (starts at 30:42):

Gerald Patriarca has a BA in Communication from Seattle Pacific University with a background in journalism. He has written articles for his high school and college newspaper, spent time as an intern at KING 5 and KOMO 4 and worked at The Seattle Times. Aside from writing, Gerald, his wife Alma, and their son James own JAG’s Auto Detail in Tukwila. To schedule an appointment and for more information, please visit