Last month, Bloomberg News reported that Oregon has the best performing economy in the country. While we’ve always known we live in a special place, the secret has clearly gotten out. Not because of mysterious economic forces beyond our control and outside state lines. Rather, it’s because Oregonians show the love we have for our home by giving a little piece of ourselves back to Oregon in everything we do.
Entrepreneurs who believe their products truly add value to people’s lives. Investors who give back to their communities by supporting underserved business owners who may not otherwise have a shot. And champions who are so proud of our state they tell the world about the great work we produce.
This all fosters an economy that encourages growth and attracts talent. When it came to employment, personal income, and the equity of its publicly traded companies, little old Oregon is leading the pack.
For investors, Bloomberg called Oregon a “superior bet.”
Now – on the heels of this historic momentum – it is my priority to ensure every corner of the state benefits from our progress and is also better prepared for the economic whims of the future. This is best done by increasing the ways for state government to add value to Oregon's overall economic enterprise – not creating more red tape for small businesses to navigate.
Today, we are putting to pen to paper in two ways.
I just convened the first meeting of the Small Business Advisory Cabinet. This group of nine have volunteered their time and perspective on helping me understand how state government can help small businesses grow. I convened this group to discuss this goal in a very focused way.
I’d like to quickly introduce the members:
• Mitch Daugherty of Built Oregon in Portland.
• Celeste Edman CEO of Lunar Logic in Eugene.
• Kanth Gopalpur, the incoming Chair of the Business Oregon Commission.
• Stephen Green of Elevate Capital and Albina Community Bank.
• Stuart Phillips of Red Wagon Creamery in Eugene.
• Representative Greg Smith of Heppner.
• Representative David Gomberg of Otis.
Not here today but participating in the group are Jamie Danek of Humm Kombucha in Bend and Rosa Martinez , Owner of PMG Abatement and Demolition in Portland.
I realize there are obviously a variety of issues small business owners are concerned about, but I have asked the cabinet to develop recommendations based on three areas:
• Access to capital
• The state’s role in promoting entrepreneurship and the mentorship of entrepreneurs
• Regulatory challenges that are specific to small businesses
The cabinet will deliver these recommendations to me by October 2016 - in time to consider their ideas as I build my budget for the 2017-2019 biennium.
We are also here to celebrate the signing of Senate Bill 1583. One my priority bills for the 2016 Session, this bill expands the Office of Small Business Assistance to help small businesses across the state navigate state and local policies and procedures.
Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins is here to tell you more about the Office of Small Business Assistance and the great work they do to address the challenges entrepreneurs meet when interacting with state government. But as I like to say, they are essentially cutting red tape to get small businesses into the black.
This work, coupled with the real world perspective of the Small Business Advisory Cabinet, moves us closer to the vision we all share for Oregon - healthy, vibrant communities that offer opportunities for all Oregonians to engage their full potential.