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Spokane County Libraries Win Grant To Train Small Businesses

Spokane County Library District

Libraries are usually known as places where people check out books and do research. They’re not typically known as business promoters.

But the Spokane County Library District recently won a new $61,000 grant from Google and the American Library Association to help entrepreneurs from low-income and underrepresented groups.

“They want to take existing programs in libraries around the country that support small business and expand on them and then, in their words, create a playbook of programs that are tried and true, if you will, that any library system that any library system in the United States would be able to recreate on some scale, either small or large, in their own community," said Stacey Goddard, a public services manager at the district.

The district operates small business education and promotional events on the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year. Over the years, it has helped businesses in Deer Park, Cheney, Medical Lake and Millwood.

 “Our idea was to expand our Small Business Saturday program into a small business boot camp where we would offer a cohort of small businessowners about a year of monthly training," Goddard said.

She says the library district will focus on businesses in Deer Park. It expects to work with volunteers from the Small Business Administration to begin a year-long virtual program in October.

“There will be all sorts of training. How to price your merchandise and services to how to set long-term attainable goals for your business to even the nuts-and-bolts, like, how do I do bookkeeping for my business if I’ve never done that before," Goddard said.

This year the district plans to hold virtual training sessions with two groups of 12-to-15 Deer Park businesses. It plans to accept applications in August, do orientation sessions in September and begin the training in October.