One of the biggest questions entrepreneurs ask themselves is, “Where should I start my business?” For me, the short answer is: the best place to start business is where you want to be.
Moving to Bellingham to open our business was never a difficult decision. We knew we would open up our first office here to be part of the eclectic and entrepreneurial business scene that Whatcom County offers.
Although I am from the area, my career had taken me to Chicago, Illinois where I managed a digital marketing team overseeing the web assets for hundreds of local businesses throughout the nation. During this time, I was surprisingly hard-pressed to find communities where businesses supported each other’s growth; the business scene was typically adversarial and competitive even when there was no conflict in products or services.
When the opportunity arose to move back and share an office space with the Technology Alliance Group in the Bellingham National Bank building, I was ecstatic. My partners had been networking and building relationships within the Whatcom local business and nonprofit scene for several months so I knew I would be able to hit the ground running with home-court advantage.
Below are a few of the perks that we saw in operating out of Whatcom County instead of a larger area:
Perks for Whatcom County Businesses
- Community. Strong sense of community within the Whatcom business scene. Businesses tend to support each other’s growth rather than adhere to some sense of mercenary competition.
- Proximity. Natural hub of industry between Seattle and Vancouver BC. Proximity to the Canadian border provides a great cash infusion for local merchants which enhances Intellitonic’s ability help grow our digital marketing strategies.
- Education. Whatcom County is a great educational hub. With institutions like Western Washington University (WWU), Bellingham Technical College, and Whatcom Community College, we have access to inquisitive interns and freshly graduated students. Note: the Electrical Engineering program at WWU has produced some phenomenal talent
- The Great Outdoors. Access to world class recreation and outdoor activities (e.g. hiking, climbing, sailing, mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding, swimming, etc.) not only drives tourism, but continues to feed the community’s adventurous and inviting culture. Space. Diverse selection of office space, featuring a soon-to-be developed Bellingham Waterfront, including the newly-remodeled Granary Building. Bellingham hosts big room for big growth.
Overall, the largest employers in Whatcom County include heavy industry, retail, health, education, engineering, and so much more. We love that we’ve received huge support from people in all kinds of industries.
If you’re looking to start a business in Whatcom County, check out our post on starting a small business.
By Alex Bruner