Governor Kate Brown and Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, will invest $250,000 to support a new Inclusive Startup Fund created and initiated by the Portland Development Commission (PDC) and supported by Multnomah County. The fund will invest in Portland-area startups – from across industry – founded by underrepresented groups, including women and people of color.
Oregon has a vibrant entrepreneurial community, and studies show that small businesses and young companies drive job growth and wealth creation. But not all communities have benefited equally.
“Oregon is strongest when each and every one of us has the opportunity to thrive, including our emerging entrepreneurs,” Governor Brown said. “By extending access to underrepresented groups, we are unlocking the potential of even more small business owners to help contribute to Oregon’s economic success story. While this program begins in Portland, I am excited to bring similar efforts to entrepreneurs in rural Oregon.”
“We’ve invested seriously in rural innovation this past year, from cross laminated timber to unnamed aerial vehicles,” said Sean Robbins, Business Oregon’s director. “This investment in Portland reflects where the City of Portland says they need us most and fits squarely into the Grow Our Own approach.”
The Governor’s Office is working on a similar startup initiative to support entrepreneurs in rural Oregon.
About the Inclusive Startup Fund:
The Portland Development Commission, the City of Portland’s economic development agency, will lead a competitive process to identify and select a professional Fund Manager to oversee the fund. PDC is seeking $3 million in total contributions. The fund will start with $1.25 million in commitments with $500,000 each coming from PDC and Multnomah County. The commission will seek $1.75 million in contributions from private investors and foundations.
How the fund works:
The fund will make investments of $20,000 to $50,000 in startups in a variety of industries. The fund will also provide intensive mentoring and business advising services.
Startups and small businesses drive job growth:
In Oregon, small business helps drive our economy with nearly 90 percent of all firms employing less than 20 people. The Portland region ranks No. 6 in the nation for entrepreneurial activity, as measured by new business formation. A recent study by the Kauffman Foundation found that over the past 30 years startups and young companies have been the primary source of new job creation in the United States.