The Portland startup community got the chance to hear from Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, this morning. Thanks to WeWork Labs Portland and its Manager Josh Carter — who also is the founder and lead organizer of Coffee w/ Co-Founders.
In my experience, Portland founders are pretty good at giving back. Through volunteer work. Or donations. Or participating in organizations like Business for a Better Portland. But like so many things Portland, the measurement of that participation is largely anecdotal. That’s why it’s nice to see a survey working to capture more details and metrics on this behavior.
It’s hard to believe, but Business for a Better Portland is turning two already. And like any milestone, it calls for a bit of celebrating. That’s why the organization — now more than 300 companies strong — is gathering the community for the BBPDX 2nd Birthday.
Speaking of interns… the Emerging Leaders Internship offers a compelling opportunity to source talented interns for your organization. That’s why Business for a Better Portland is encouraging local companies to participate in the program again this year. But you have to hurry because applications close soon.
I know I’ve said it before, but of all the inspirational folks with an entrepreneurial spirit here in town, few compare to the folks at Street Roots. Calling their business pursuits “life changing”? A staggering understatement. And like any founder or small business person, they could use our help. And there’s no easier time of year to help than now, thanks to the efforts of Business for a Better Portland.
Startup folks, am I right? They’re always thinking of creative solutions to problems. And in Portland, unlike some of our differently motivated neighbors to the south, they’re often thinking about solutions that make life better for everyone in our community. Like Business for a Better Portland. An ad hoc chamber of commerce that sprung out of a desire to inform a collaborative—rather than contentious—model of public-private partnership.
I always say that the Portland startup community is big enough to be statistically relevant, but not so large that you can’t move the needle. So the fact that our community is severely lacking in terms of diversity and inclusion presents both a problem and an opportunity for the community. Part of the solution must include ensuring that everyone has access to resources and support that give all entrepreneurs the greatest chance of success. That was the motivation behind Prosper Portland’s Inclusive Business Resource Network.
Historically, Portland’s transportation system and lack of congestion have served as hallmarks of effective metropolitan planning. But as an ever increasing population puts additional strain on our existing infrastructure, it’s going to take some creative approaches to resolve congestion in an affordable and equitable way. And business has a role to play. That’s why Business for a Better Portland is hosting a discussion about Portland’s transportation future.
You’ve noticed it. It’s difficult not to. As Portland has grown in popularity and population, congestion, traffic, and even crowded public transit are becoming more the norm than the exception in the City of Roses. It impacts everyone. And rising housing costs only exacerbate the problem, as the distance between work and home continues to expand. If you run a business, you’re seeing the impact from a variety of angles, from consumers to employees—especially when one of the primary hiring promises has been Portland’s “livability.”
While I’ve never had the chance to visit, I’ve heard a great deal about Medellin, Colombia. And how they have an incredible startup scene. And tons of government support. That’s why it’s no surprise that they’ve been called the Most Innovative City in the World. And now, representatives of that Innovative City are visiting the Rose City. And you’re invited to come chat with them.