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Portland Entrepreneurship Study

Portland Entrepreneurship Study

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A 2011 study examining entrepreneurship in Portland.
A 2011 study examining entrepreneurship in Portland.

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Published by: Envision Adams Morgan on May 02, 2012
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STATE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
 
IN PORTLAND, OREGON
 
April 30, 2011
Jon Down, PhDPeter RachorUniversity of PortlandJoe CortrightImpresa, Inc.Rob Wiltbank, PhDWillamette University
Contents
 
State of Entrepreneurship In PortlandApril 30, 2011
2
Executive Summary
The
State of Entrepreneurship in Portland, Oregon
addresses why entrepreneurship matters to Portland,how Portland is doing in generating entrepreneurship and what might be done to stimulate additionalentrepreneurial activity.The study involved gathering baseline information through employment and firm economic data,interviews, and surveys in order to assess the current state of the entrepreneurial climate in Portland.This was then compared to other key metropolitan areas. Based on this analysis recommendations weredeveloped on how the Portland Development Commission, the City of Portland and partners mightassist entrepreneurs and support the growth of these firms.For the purpose of this study
entrepreneurship
is defined to include starting and growing highpotential businesses that may be likely to take advantage of outside funding, as well as established smallbusinesses that are innovative and growth-oriented.As a result of this study we conclude:
 
Entrepreneurship is important to the economic health of Portland
 
Portland is an entrepreneurial city and is recognized as such by a large majority of the peopleinterviewed and surveyed
 
In comparison with other similar cities, Portland receives a reasonable amount of venturecapital, however venture capital backed firms in Portland over the past 15 years have had only amodest impact on employment
 
There is a significant disconnect between angel investors and venture capitalists who generallybelieve there is adequate capital to fund investor ready Portland based start-ups and growthcompanies while many entrepreneurs starting companies believe there is a lack of investmentcapital in Portland, this is especially true of first time entrepreneurs
 
Significant understanding gaps also exist in areas of tax burden and availability of humanresources, with many believing Portland is at a disadvantage in comparison with other areaswhich we find not to be the caseIn order to stimulate entrepreneurship we recommend the following:
1.
 
Leverage the work of existing organizations such as Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, SoftwareAssociation of Oregon, Oregon Bioscience Association, etc. by supporting their efforts toeducate entrepreneurs on business and funding success
2.
 
Create opportunities to motivate, educate and engage the creative, young talent in Portlandaround entrepreneurship. Highlighting entrepreneurial success stories was mentionedfrequently in the surveys and interviews as a means to accomplish this.
3.
 
Strategically support those firms with the capability and desire to grow their revenue in tradedsectors markets. While it is difficult to identify the firms that will grow into large companies
 
State of Entrepreneurship In PortlandApril 30, 2011
3while they are still young, by working with organizations such as OEN promising firms can beidentified and supported.
4.
 
Work to use the resources of the City to leverage relationships outside the state to bring inbuyers to meet with leaders of entrepreneurial traded sector businesses and venture capitalinvestment from outside the state to complement and leverage the venture capital within thestate
5.
 
Improve access to working capital for growth oriented small businesses and continue withprograms like the Portland Seed Fund that leverage City resources with the private sector. Alsoencourage the formation of additional angel investor groups and education programs toincrease the pool of active angel investors
6.
 
Continue to promote and cultivate a culture within the PDC and City government that isrecognized as a supportive partner to the entrepreneurial community. A tangible way to do thisis to continuously work on streamlining the process of starting a business in the City andlearning about resources
7.
 
Support a tracking and reporting system for the entrepreneurship indicators scorecard of Portland entrepreneurial activity
8.
 
U
se the City’s
real estate expertise and tools to develop excellent physical spaces forentrepreneurial companies to be born and to grow.Thousands of small to large cities around the world are working on how to enhance their economiesand to achieve greater entrepreneurial success for their region. This can best be achieved bycontinuing to develop Portland as a great place to live, work and learn; by using resources toleverage the existing organizations already devoted to improving entrepreneurship, and by beingentrepreneurial in trying new initiatives such as the Portland Seed Fund.

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