While the Portland startup community does its best to be incredibly collaborative and welcoming, we’re not always so good with communicating how best to engage with the community. And that can be a tad bit frustrating for folks who are looking to help — and even more frustrating for those who are looking for help.
Granted, Portland shops local year round. But there’s no more important time to put your hard earned dollars into the local economy than the holiday season. Because so many products and retailers rely on holiday traffic. Luckily, Portland also makes that easier. With things like My People’s Market and Little Boxes.
PitchBlack is the premier local pitch event for black and brown founders. Built Oregon is striving to be the voice for consumer products in Oregon. So when you put the two together, you get an interesting night of pitches on consumer products from some of the most promising entrepreneurs in the state. And it’s all happening as part of the Built Up Festival.
For all of the hype around tech and tech startups, we seem to be sorely lacking in events that celebrate all of the amazing consumer products that call Oregon home. That was the motivation behind last year’s Built Up Festival. And it seems to have gone pretty well. So well, in fact, that it’s happening again, September 28-October 5, 2018.
Way back when, I started Silicon Florist as an attempt to raise the visibility of a bunch of amazing activity I was seeing Portland tech startup community. Then, I helped start PIE—and continue to run it—because I felt that we needed to do more than talk about the community, we needed to help it grow through mentorship and connections. My motivations to help start Built Oregon came from similar desire to help the consumer product industries in Oregon. And now, I’m bullish on a new effort designed to enhance collaboration and innovation across all of those industries—and more—in Portland. Meet the Portland IQ.
There was a time, not so long ago, when Portland had an embarrassment of riches on the startup incubator and accelerator front. But as the pendulum swung from early stage to growth stage—and as regional offices and bigger players promised increasingly attractive wages and benefits—the once crowded incubator and accelerator community thinned. But all of that may be changing in 2018.
As we, as a community, continue to cope and process the recent senseless loss of Sam Blackman, many of our conversations have turned to remembering other amazing contributors to the Portland startup community. Contributors who inspired and impacted untold number of entrepreneurs. Contributors who, like Sam, were gone far too early. And of course, one of the names that has come up, time and time again, is Shelley Gunton.
While I like to drone on an on about tech startups, the truth is that there are any number of startups and industries that are thriving in Oregon. Perhaps none as obvious as the breadth of consumer goods — apparel, beverage, food, outdoor, tools… the list goes on an on — we have here in the state. But for all of the activity, there seems to be little opportunity to gather these amazing companies and entrepreneurs together. Until now. Meet the Built Up Festival.