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Advocacy Services

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Coaching, Assistance and Investigation

The Small Business Advocates provide a unique service because we offer objectivity to small businesses and nonprofits who complain when they think Oregon state or local government has treated them unfairly.

The first thing we do is listen to the person's complaint or inquiry. For some, this is the first time they feel that anyone in government actually hears them.

Then, we determine the nature of the dispute and proceed in the most appropriate way with the goal of finding solutions and answers. We group our assistance to you in three categories: coaching, assistance, and investigation.

Coaching

Many small businesses and nonprofits resolve their own concerns once we inform them of the services available. We help educate business owners on the options available to them based on their specific situation. We help identify options, refer people to appropriate employees or departments, redirect to services outside our jurisdiction, explain agency policies, research policies and information, and offer conflict management strategies.

Assistance

Sometimes coaching isn’t enough and we need to facilitate communications and coordinate actions between parties with the goal of clearing up the inquiry or complaint. Our advocates continually work to foster relationships to enable efficient resolution of inquiries and complaints.

Investigation

Some issues are more serious, which may lead a business owner to file a formal complaint with our office regarding a unit of state government (we cannot receive complaints of this kind regarding local government). In this case, we conduct an investigation. We work with the impacted small business or nonprofit to ensure that the agency is complying with the law and being fair. Although we have no authority to compel an agency to follow our recommendations, most government administrators are eager to resolve problems and mistakes once we bring it to their attention.

If allegations made in the complaint are found to be unsubstantiated and the agency performed correctly, we explain our findings to the business that filed the complaint.

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