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Big help for small businesses

From the idea stage to expanding an already existing business, the Kitsap Business Assistance Center (KBAC) is ready to serve you.

The KBAC, located on the fifth floor of the Norm Dicks Government Center, is a partnership with City of Bremerton, the Kitsap Regional Library, Kitsap County, Olympic College, SCORE, the Small Business Association, and the Washington Small Business Development Center.

“We don’t do the work for the client,” but the KBAC will do what it can to guide its clients said Sharon Zerr, business development specialist for KBAC.

The KBAC opened in December and provides training and assistance to new and existing small businesses in Kitsap County.

Although the KBAC has taken several forms over the past several years, organizers believe the pieces are in place that will help them help small businesses thrive.

“One of the main reasons businesses fail is people haven’t considered the unglamorous part,” Zerr said.

Lack of a business plan is also a detriment to any business.

“They provide a path on how the business is going to grow and you can hang all of your successes on that,” Zerr said.

Zerr is responsible for building business partnerships, marketing the KBAC to the community and counseling small businesses. She works with Wendy Miles, director of customized training & special programs, who oversees the KBAC.

Prior to her work at OC Miles was senior project manager for The Cobalt Group, a Seattle-based provider of e-business solutions for the automobile industry.

Zerr draws on her 12 years of experience working with small businesses and running her own business. She owned CommuniCreations, which consulted with businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions on communications and strategic and operational planning. She has also served as executive director of the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce, directing operations for the 500 member chamber, working with small businesses to promote themselves, and building business relationships in the community.

One of the goals for the KBAC is to provide 900 hours of business counseling to people.

The KBAC will host a grand opening celebration from 5 to 7p.m. on Thursday in the Norm Dicks Government Center.

Congressman Norm Dicks (D-Belfair) is scheduled to lead the ribbon cutting and give the keynote address. The grand opening event will feature representatives from Olympic College, government officials and local business leaders.

To RSVP for the grand opening call (360) 307-4220 or (360) 475-7786.

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