Oregon Small Business Boost results: Eugene’s Palo Alto Software gives away more than $3 million of software

That’s what made Eugene-based Palo Alto Software’s Oregon Small Business Boost was such a cool idea. So cool in fact that it was amazingly successful. Like $3 million successful.

[HTML4]It’s always great to see Silicon Forest companies giving back to the community. Especially given our current economic conditions. And with Oregon running neck and neck with Michigan for the #1 ranking in unemployment, every little bit helps.

That’s what made Eugene-based Palo Alto Software’s Oregon Small Business Boost was such a cool idea. So cool in fact that it was amazingly successful. Like $3 million successful.

That’s right. The program—designed to give anyone in Oregon a free copy of Palo Alto Business Plan Pro software—wound up giving away more than $3 million of free software to aspiring entrepreneurs. About 16,200 copies in total.

To give you a feel, here’s some video of the give away in Palo Alto’s hometown of Eugene.


And here’s some more interesting stuff. Guess what kind of people showed up to take advantage of the deal?

More than half of them were existing business, about a quarter of them were startups, and almost a quarter of the folks were pursuing a side project idea. And 75% of them already had an idea in mind. Which means about a quarter of them had absolutely no idea what they’re going to do, but they saw “free” and decided to take advantage of that.

But what does that really mean for Oregon? Well, Chelle Parmele of Palo Alto offers the following extrapolation based on those metrics.

If we assume that 10% of the 5000 who have already installed create plans for businesses, that would be 500 business plans. Of those, based on stats gathered from people installing software: 250 would be for existing businesses,125 would be for start-ups, and 110 would be for ideas for new businesses.[HTML2]

Of the 125+110 start-ups of business ideas, that is a total potential of 235 new businesses in Oregon. If 25% of these actually got their businesses off and running and employed an average of 5 people each, that would be 58 real businesses and 290 real jobs created here in Oregon. Even if you assume a very low average salary of $35,000.00 per year per person, that would be an additional $10 million dollars put into the Oregon economy.[HTML2]

Of the 250 existing businesses, if just half those companies create 1 new job this next year because the business is planning better, and managing better, and growing instead of shrinking, that is another 125 new jobs in Oregon. Using the same metrics as above for average salary per person, that is another 4.3 million dollars put into the Oregon economy.

Whoof. How cool is that? And here’s hoping that more than 10% of those folks actually use the software to build a cool new Oregon startup.

For more information on the one-day giveaway, see Oregon Small Business Boost.


  1. […] have sales goals and profit goals, but we are also passionate about helping entrepreneurs. We donate tens of thousands of products per year to different programs to help students, underserved entrepreneurs and minority […]

  2. This is a very good move to give free things, like in this case software to help entrepreneurs.
    It is great that a mixed group showed up to collect a copy. Hope it was possible to make some connections while they where there. Networking is the one of the best ways to have a better start.
    The 25% who had no idea, but wanted “free” stuff, hope that some of them got an idea and put the software to use.

    Good luck and I hope it was a win-win-win for everyone

  3. @Aarron,

    If I had a penny for every time we were asked about our name… 😉

    Tim Berry, our president and founder, started the company down in Palo Alto but moved up to Eugene because he was going back to University and also wanted a better environment for his kids. That was back in 90’s and here he stayed!

    Tim wrote about the whole thing here if you’re interested.

  4. I just went to their website, sounds like they may have moved to Eugene from that other valley. Perhaps I should research before I comment.

  5. Nothing says “Oregon Business” quite like a company named “Palo Alto Software”. I’m sure there’s a logical story… right?

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