Business Assistance

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Free and low-cost services for businesses. Expert advice for business owners, managers, and startups. Talk to people with firsthand knowledge of the challenges you face and secrets to success.

contact economic development staff at 209-385-6827

Small Business & Entrepreneurs

Valley Sierra SBDC

Valley Sierra SBDC assists business owners and senior managers, as well as startups, with planning; no-cost, confidential business consulting; and resources in all areas of operating a business. They provide one-on-one sessions with business experts, workshops and seminars, classes, and online resources. The SBDC is a member of the UC Merced SBDC Regional Network. Service areas include:​

  • Operations

  • Job costing

  • Pricing

  • Financial analysis

  • Marketing

  • Strategic direction

  • Business plans

  • Funding assistance and access

  • Support for veterans

  • Procurement services

Valley Sierra SBDC

(209) 386-1008

Modesto-Merced SCORE

SCORE is made up of local professionals with firsthand expertise in operating a business. These professionals are available to mentor small business owners and startup entrepreneurs. Services:

  • Free and confidential business consultation accounting, finance, marketing, management and business plan preparation

  • Business plan evaluation

  • Local workshops

  • Online library of business tools and resources

Modesto-Merced SCORE 

(209) 577-5757

UC Merced Venture Lab

Located in downtown Merced, the Venture Lab offers a toolbox for entrepreneurs and startups to take their project from concept to viable business. Services include:

  • Access to mentors

  • Market testing of concepts

  • Connection to legal assistance and intellectual property rights

  • Pitch sessions and networking events

  • Proof of Concept Fund for companies optioning or licensing UC Merced technology

  • Partnerships between UC Merced students, faculty members and community members

UC Merced Venture Lab


(209) 631-8217



College Connections

Merced College Business Resource Center

The Merced College Business Resource Center (BRC) provides an entry point for businesses to connect with college resources such as customized employee training and certification in the fields of medicine and office technology. Read more about Merced College's employee training programs under Hiring & Training.

Merced College Business Resource Center

(209) 386-6732

UC Merced Office of Business Development

The Office of Business Development collaborates with industry partners and facilitates connections with UC Merced research talent, new technologies, and potential employees. It is a first point of contact for businesses seeking partnerships with UC Merced. Service areas include:​

  • entrepreneurship industry alliances

  • innovation consulting

  • technology licensing

  • material transfer

  • sponsored research

UC Merced Office of Business Development

(209) 228-4341



International Trade

Merced College Center for International Trade

This regional program offers services to help businesses enter or expand their participation in international trade. Services include: ​

  • Import/export workshops and seminars

  • Assessment of export potential

  • Free One-on-one technical assistance

  • In-house training programs

  • Agribusiness technical assistance

  • International trade resource center

  • International service provider referrals

Merced College Center for International Trade

(209) 384-5892

California International Business Association

International business directory for international trade opportunities with California; originally an arm of the California Trade & Commerce Agency.

California International Business Association

(858) 483-7250

Federation of International Trade Associations

FITA (The Federation of International Trade Associations) promotes international trade, import-export, international logistics management, international finance and more. Its portal is a source for leads, events and international trade websites.

Federation of International Trade Associations 

(718) 871-0369

Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) International Affairs and Business Development

California's International Affairs and Business Development unit provides support on issues relating to international trade and investment opportunities, foreign relations, international agreements and partnerships with the countries that have a friendly relationship with California. On the California Business Portal you will find resources for export/import, foreign investment, and trade.

Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) International Affairs and Business Development

(877) 345-4633

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Websites of respective organizations (July-Oct 2017).