Business Oregon Announces Grant Awards for Organizations Focused on Under-served Small Businesses
Business Oregon is pleased to announce grants to 33 organizations that provide Technical Assistance (TA) to historically under-served and under-resourced small businesses across the state. The organizations will receive $8.75 million in total to expand their reach and scale up the assistance provided to these small businesses and entrepreneurs. The 33 organizations were selected from approximately 60 applications submitted, after review and scoring by an evaluation committee.
This grant program was established by the 2021 Oregon Legislature and builds on a federally funded pilot program to help businesses respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organizations selected serve historically under-served communities as outlined in Governor Kate Brown’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan.
The Oregon Native American Chamber previously received funding from the program, and is receiving an award in this round of funding as well.
“This Oregon State Legislature and Business Oregon investment in our communities through culturally specific and grassroots organizations will help our businesses not only survive but prosper,” said James Parker, Executive Director of the Oregon Native American Chamber (ONAC). “ONAC is excited about the future opportunities to support all communities that have been marginalized or left behind by policies and programs not built with them in mind.”
TA providers are selected biennially through a competitive Request for Applications process and reflect the program’s goals of ensuring small business assistance is widely available and accessible. Common types of TA for small businesses include business plan review and assistance; marketing and brand identity; technology services; access to capital; and business coaching, among many other critical small business services. Services provided by these organizations help see that economic recovery and growth is equitable and does not perpetuate long-standing disparities.
The 2021-23 TA program will result in a cohort of providers who offer culturally competent, linguistically appropriate, and geographically aligned resources to enhance and expand their efforts to support underrepresented/under-resourced small businesses. Each provider will — within the program’s framework — determine its own scope of work based on its capacity, experience, expertise, and assessment of client needs. This flexibility allows the program to embrace and fund a wide range of TA providers who in turn meet and reflect the equally disparate needs of Oregon’s diverse small business population, ranging from contractors to childcare providers.
A list of the 2022 grant recipients and their project information is below.
Lewis and Clark Small Business Law Clinic: Received $104,000 to support the SBLC Rural Entrepreneur Program, providing culturally specific transactional legal support to low income clients in Oregon, in addition to educational outreach presentations.
Adelante Mujeres: Received $120,000 to enhance the Empresas Small Business program, delivering one-on-one TA, business coaching, access to markets, and capital to 110 socially disadvantaged clients in Washington County.
Next Door Inc.: Received $157,000 to support Programa Promoviendo Prosperidad, providing bilingual small business TA, financial literacy, and access to capital to promote thriving businesses and economic opportunity for entrepreneurs in the mid-Columbia region.
High Desert Partnership: Received $750,000 to support a five-county, multi-stakeholder partnership in Eastern Oregon that will provide culturally specific TA to remote frontier businesses across approximately one-third of the state’s land mass.
RAIN: Received $250,000 to support organizational programming to help businesses plan and prepare to access a suite of capital access programs aimed at underserved and under-resourced entrepreneurs, including a crowdfunding platform funded by the US Economic Development Administration to help businesses raise capital.
Hacienda CDC: Received $400,000 to double the capacity of Mercado Empresarios Program to provide culturally specific TA with an emphasis on women, minorities, and Latinx small businesses outside the city of Portland.
Livelihood NW: Received $335,000 to provide in-depth, direct one-on-one TA, credit counseling, and loan application support to underrepresented entrepreneurs outside the metro area, broadening access to full spectrum programs for women, BIPOC, and economically disadvantaged businesses.
Professional Business Development Group: Received $400,000 to enhance capacity of programming for the target population in construction trades, enhance procurement opportunities, and contribute to the establishment of a lending program to increase access to capital.
Soul District Business Association: Received $185,000 to support the Business Impact Group program, designed to grow revenue and capacity for district businesses utilizing culturally specific and trauma-informed business support practices.
Latino Built: Received $260,000 to expand access to bilingual, bicultural group educational trainings, one-on-one business advising, and referrals to professional service providers for Latinx contractors and others in the construction trades.
National Association of Minority Contractors: Received $299,000 to expand support for minority contractors outside of Portland, with an emphasis on the Mid-Willamette Valley and Columbia River Gorge, including rural areas and residential contractors.
Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA): Received $300,000 to enhance and create stronger alignment between NAYA’s Native Business Accelerator, microenterprise programming, and vendor-focused technical assistance program to provide comprehensive support for Native businesses in the metro area.
Mercy Corp NW: Received $280,000 to support business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs across Oregon by providing tailored business advising, and access to savings grant programs and micro loans for un-bankable business clients through direct one-on-one TA and cohort-based educational trainings.
Oregon Native American Chamber (ONAC): Received $500,000 to support a partnership between ONAC and Nixyaawii Community Financial Services to provide business advising, connections to resources and capital, and access to culturally specific professional service providers.
XXcelerate: Received $250,000 to enhance the suite of resources supporting Oregon’s growing population of women-owned, growth-oriented small businesses with gender and culture specific TA, including mentorship, one-on-one advising, access to capital, growth education, and more.
Greater Applegate: Received $150,000 to provide small business TA including one-on-one advising, small group workshops, and peer learning opportunities to rural and Latinx businesses in the Applegate Valley.
Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO): Received $365,000 to provide high-quality, culturally and linguistically appropriate TA to business owners and entrepreneurs with the greatest barriers to accessing mainstream resources, specifically those in the tri-county area, mid-Valley, and Malheur County.
Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO): Received $375,000 to increase staff capacity to provide TA resources, including one-on-one advising, business education, and access for affordable capital, with an emphasis on BIPOC and low to moderate income microenterprise businesses in Washington and Clackamas counties, as well as rural southern Oregon.
Urban League: Received $375,000 to expand the Entrepreneurship Academy, which uses a cohort delivery model to provide group education and individualized planning and training services with a focus on business capacity building and growth.
Centro Latino Americano: Received $250,000 to expand the Cambios Business Program, the only dedicated Spanish language business resource in Lane County providing TA, educational programming, and other support to help launch and grow small businesses.
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO): Received $100,000 to add staff capacity to provide TA and other business resources with a particular emphasis on Asian American and Pacific Islander owned businesses in Washington County.
Centro Cultural: Received $300,000 to add staff capacity at Centro de Prosperidad, which provides full spectrum, bilingual client TA, including business formation, incubation, and growth resources to 98% low to moderate income business owners in Washington County.
Black American Chamber: Received $300,000 to expand staff capacity to provide culturally competent small business TA including resiliency, financial literacy, access to capital, resource navigation, and e-commerce support.
Rural Development Initiatives: Received $550,000 to support a multi-partner group aiming to provide culturally specific TA to rural entrepreneurs, including an emphasis on Latinx and tribal small businesses. Partners include RDI, Foundry, Bohemia Food Hub, Warm Springs CAT, and Indy Idea Hub.
Umatilla Electric (UEC): Received $75,000 to support staff at the Business Resource Center and the development and delivery of multi-stage bilingual small business curriculum with an emphasis on women- and minority-owned businesses, including those within the UEC service territory that are located on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and within the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO): Received $100,000 to increase existing EDCO programming to support more small business clients with evolving TA needs including workforce, supply chain disruptions, and access to physical space.
Neighborhood House: Received $150,000 to support a multi-group partnership with the goal of transforming Oregon’s child care industry. This partnership will provide technical support and training to address the statewide child care shortage while increasing wealth-building opportunities for women of color who operate child care businesses.
Philippine American Chamber of Commerce (PACCO): Received $250,000 to expand staff capacity to provide wide ranging small business technical assistance, including digital marketing, e-commerce, business coaching, and access to resources, with the aim of building inter-generational wealth.
Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (OAME): Received $100,000 to expand capacity to deliver comprehensive TA including microlending and incubation services to target businesses in the tri-county area.
CCD Business Development Corp.: Received $150,000 to coordinate a streamlined process for businesses and entrepreneurs to access information and communication networks, financial resources, business TA, and professional services.
Condon Chamber of Commerce: Received $75,000 to support a multi-stakeholder group delivering TA to 11 frontier communities in Gilliam, Sherman, and Wheeler counties to support recovery and build business resiliency, with an emphasis on creative placemaking.
Hispanic Chamber: Received $250,000 to support a project intending to narrow the digital divide, improve financial literacy, and deliver bilingual and bicultural business management skills to small businesses in the Portland metro area as well as the I-5 corridor and Deschutes County.
Strategic Economic Development Corp. (SEDCOR): Received $275,000 to support a multi-member partnership to provide a continuum of bilingual and bicultural business development services to underrepresented and difficult to reach businesses throughout the mid-valley region.