Last night, the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) held their annual Oregon Tech Awards celebration gala, their biggest event of the year. (Coincidentally, GeekWire held their big Seattle tech awards last night, too.) And the Portland startup community was well represented.
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.
If you’re a startup that’s looking for some support, there are a couple of opportunities to apply for that sort of assistance. Cascade Angels is currently accepting applications for early stage startups seeking funding. And XXcelerate Fund is accepting applications for the next round of its XXcelerator program for women founded companies.
While it seems like the year has just begun, in reality, the first week in April isn’t that far off. But it’s a lot farther off than Portland Startup Week has been in the past. (We’ve traditionally organized the weeklong celebration of startups during the first week in February.) So given that we’ve got more time than we’re used to, it seems like a really good opportunity to make Techstars Startup Week Portland 2018 even more awesome than ever, right? Right. So let’s get on that. Like now.
While still striving to hold true to my promise to Jive cofounder Bill Lynch—that I would stop using Silicon Florist as a platform to celebrate fundraising announcements—I feel obligated to take a little tangential liberty to share a developing theme I’m seeing… Because this isn’t a typical. Portland companies have announced more than $51 million in venture capital, this year. And it’s not even a month old.
Startups can be hectic. And stressful. And unfortunately, that means that some very important things often get lost in the turmoil. Like culture. And managing your people and their professional growth. Worse yet, if you’re not taking care of those things early, they’re incredibly difficult to reverse engineer into your company later. That’s why, it’s great to see efforts like Human.School.
As a founder, you’re always looking for opportunities to promote your company. And locally, there are few opportunities as big as PitchfestNW, the pitch competition held as part of TechfestNW, Portland’s largest homegrown tech event. Plus, you get a free pass to the event.
Portland is lucky to be home to one of the most impactful and growing events for black entrepreneurs, PitchBlack, a pitch competition that has featured local black founders for the past three years and has now expanded to other cities. But where did the concept get its start? Free Enterprise sat down with founder Stephen Green to get the story.