It’s a well known fact that, far and away, the vast majority of jobs in the United States are created by small business. Oregon is no different. And an important part of the ecosystem that makes that growth possible—at least in the world of tech startups—is early stage angels and seed capital. Well, maybe not this year or next year or the next. Because there will be less of that early stage capital to go around, thanks to the Oregon legislature cutting $2 million from its budget.
The item in question is the Oregon Growth Fund, and it’s no longer in the state budget that is working its way through the Oregon legislature. It was included in the governor’s proposal but is not in the framework before lawmakers.
“It goes to angel conferences and other startup funds,” said Nitin Rai, president of the TiE Board of Directors, about the importance of this seemingly small pool of money. “It’s seed capital for funds. It could eventually get bigger and have a larger impact. It’s already happening.”
The Growth Fund is more flexible and can invest in new, unproven funds or support programs like Albina Opportunity Corporation, which offers loans to under represented entrepreneurs, or Craft 3, which offers loans to rural entrepreneurs.
“None of these are handouts, all have a (return on investment) factor tied in,” Rai said. He added, though, that if the Growth Account can’t invest in these groups and the Growth Fund goes away, “Who is going to do it?”
That’s the bad news. The good news? You can do something with the anger that just started crawling its way up your spine. You see, there’s still time to change this outcome before the legislature adjourns.
The folks at TiE Oregon have gathered the names and contact information for the lawmakers who can be most effective in helping reverse this decision.
I’m asking for your urgent assistance in supporting the Oregon Growth Board, and entrepreneurs in our state.
You can do so by writing to the State Legislators in support of House Bill 2276, as soon as possible.
For more information on the bill, see Oregon House Bill 2276 which is currently sitting with the Oregon Ways and Means Committee.