Spokane’s AHANA organization will move its administrative and counseling office this fall to the downtown Spokane Regional Business Center, the group’s executive director said.
AHANA — whose full title is AHANA Business and Professional Association — will move into the SRBC at 801 W. Riverside. It’s moving into a portion of the second floor which has been used by the U.S. Small Business Administration. AHANA’s goal is to support economic development of minority, immigrant and women-owned businesses in the area.
AHANA Executive Director Ben Cabildo said the move will allow the agency to establish tighter ties with the other services available inside the SRBC, including the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Spokane Area Economic Development Council.
The move will occur in October. AHANA’s current office at 823 W. Seventh will continue providing a small-business incubator, Cabildo said.
AHANA will be the first, but probably not the last, agency to move into the space being vacated by the SBA, said Chamber President Rich Hadley. The second-floor area that’s opening up has been used by the SBA for a Business Information Center, a gathering spot for anyone needing information on starting or running a business.
Spokane’s Business Information Center was started in the early 1990s, but the SBA is closing it on Sept. 30 as part of a nationwide cost-cutting measure, said Steve Lobdell, acting branch manager of the SBA in Spokane.
Hadley said the chamber sees an opportunity to create a “new BIC,” or a center with a different name, with the goal of being a one-stop service for small businesses, Hadley said.
He said he hopes the SBA allows the current collection of computers, library materials and cubicles in the Business Information Center to remain there.
The chamber has approached a number of other economic development agencies about adding an office in the SRBC, he said.
The move makes great sense for the businesses AHANA serves, Cabildo said. “This will allow us to help mainstream our minority- and immigrant-owned businesses with the rest of the key downtown groups,” he said.
During 2003, AHANA provided help for about 100 area businesses or individuals, he said.