Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Small-town entrepreneur talks business with U.S. lawmaker

By Hope Belli Tinney, Washington SBDC
March 18, 2015

WASHINGTON – Andrew DePaula, founder and president of intelliPaper, a technology company in Edwall, Wash., that has developed a type of “smart paper,” met with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Monday (March 16) to talk about innovation, entrepreneurship and small business.

The visit to Capitol Hill was arranged by the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network as part of its annual meetings with U.S. legislators.

“Andrew is such an incredible example of what small businesses can do, not just for the economy in general, but for their communities in particular,” said Duane Fladland, state director of the Washington SBDC Network.

The Washington SBDC ( is hosted by Washington State University and receives funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Additional support comes from other institutions of higher education and nonprofit economic development organizations.

U.S. Rep. McMorris Rodgers, left, DePaula and
WSBDC's Stanford and Fladland

Novel communication tool

DePaula, an electrical engineer, worked with his SBDC business advisor Alan Stanford to obtain $770,000 in financing from Craft3, a nonprofit community development lender. 

It was the next step toward growing his company from a low-budget startup to a well-financed technology and manufacturing enterprise with both national and international sales.

DePaula’s invention, a paper USB drive, makes it possible to deliver reams of information – including images, sound, documents or video – on a strip of paper embedded in a business card, greeting card, trade show handout or recruitment brochure.

“I am continually inspired by Eastern Washington entrepreneurs like Andrew DePaula, whose innovative small business, intelliPaper, enables people to communicate and share information in ways never before possible,” McMorris Rodgers said.

Small businesses make a difference

The typical route to finance a technology startup is to find traditional investors, said Stanford, who came to the SBDC after a long career in banking. But, he said, DePaula’s challenge was to find a lender who would make a significant loan and still allow him and his advisory board to continue calling the shots, including basing the business in rural Edwall, 35 miles west of Spokane.

“We are delighted that Craft3 believed in what we are trying to do,” DePaula said. “Their support at this stage of our growth is going to make a huge difference down the road in the type of company intelliPaper ( becomes.”

“Andrew’s business plan is very purposeful,” Fladland said. “He wants to make a difference. That’s a trend we are seeing among small business owners these days.”

Duane Fladland, Washington SBDC director, 509-993-0556,
Andrew DePaula, intelliPaper, 509-343-9410,

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tech company highlighted at America's Small Business Development Center Reception

Tech company showcased at Capitol Hill anniversary reception

By Hope Belli Tinney, Washington SBDC

SPOKANE, Wash. – IntelliPaper, a technology company in Eastern Washington, was highlighted Monday, March 16 at the America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) 35th anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C.

ASBDC Reception
The company was founded in 2009 by Andrew DePaula, an electrical engineer who figured out how to make a USB thumb drive out of paper. This makes it possible to deliver reams of information, including images, photos, voices, music – whatever you can imagine – on a business card, greeting card, recruitment brochure or trade show handout.

“That’s gee-whiz technology,” said Charles “Tee” Rowe, president and CEO of America’s SBDC. “What a great idea.”

He said 11 SBDC clients from nine states were invited to the legislative reception in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill to highlight the diversity of businesses that benefit from SBDC advising and the sophistication and vision of SBDC clients.

IntelliPaper ( is but one example from the nearly 1 million SBDC clients across the country who receive expert technical assistance each year to help them with any business challenge, including business systems, cash flow management, market research, financing and strategic planning.

“The SBDC helps ‘Main Street’ retailers and service providers,” Rowe said, “but also cutting-edge entrepreneurs.”

With the help of his Washington SBDC business advisor, in 2014 DePaula was able to secure $770,000 in financing from a community development lender so he could grow intelliPaper from a low-budget start-up to a full-scale technology and manufacturing company in rural Lincoln County.

The Washington SBDC has been hosted by Washington State University since its inception as one of the first SBDC networks. Learn more at

“We are extremely grateful for the assistance the folks at the SBDC have given us along the way,” DePaula said. “The effects of our relationship with them are tangible and real: creating business growth where none existed before, new jobs and improving the local economy.”

The Washington SBDC network includes more than two dozen business advisors working in communities from the Canadian border to the Columbia River, providing one to one, confidential, no-cost advising to small business owners who want to start, grow or transition their businesses.

WSBDC State Director Fladland (left)
and Business Advisor Stanford
Duane Fladland, state director of the Washington SBDC, said he was excited that DePaula would be able to talk with Congressional leaders about his company and his experience as a small business entrepreneur.

“Andrew developed this incredible technology that could change the way we communicate, but getting the right kind of financing was key to his ability to keep control of his company and realize his vision,” Fladland said. “For more than 30 years SBDC advisors have been helping owners of businesses like this realize their dreams.”

Learn more about America’s SBDC at Read an earlier article about intelliPaper and DePaula at
Duane Fladland, Washington SBDC, 509-993-0556,
Andrew DePaula, intelliPaper, 509-343-9410,