Growing Your Small Business: Do you know about Business Oregon?
Did you know that more people started new businesses in the United States in the past year than in any prior year in history? That’s right. Through the pandemic and economic roller coaster, more people decided to venture out on their own or with a small group of partners.
This is especially true right here in Washington County which saw a 26% percent increase from 2020-2021. Nearly 7,000 new businesses were started last year in the county, and this year is on track to equal or eclipse that mark.
I am not an economist, so I won’t try to offer theories or explanations. There are likely many interdependent factors underlying the spike in new business starts. Each entrepreneur will have their own story, their own reasons, their own goals, and their own dreams.
This is part of what makes our roles at the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce so engaging and interesting. Each week brings new contacts, new connections, new visions, and new requests for support in starting, managing, and building businesses.
If you have a business you are hoping to grow, you should do some research on Business Oregon. Business Oregon is the state’s economic development branch. They have a broad range of resources that can support new and existing business owners. They also oversee the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust – recognizing the significant impact of arts and cultural organizations throughout the state. Learn more at www.oregon.gov/biz/.
Business Oregon just announced a renewed set of offerings known as the SSBCI – State Small Business Credit Initiative. This program is funded through the federal government and will bring up to $83.5 million in support for small business throughout the state over the next nine years. While too complex to explain in a short article, if you are hoping to expand your small business you should explore the different options.
As most small business owners recognize, you need money to grow your business. Most small businesses struggle to save enough money to fuel rapid growth. To do that they need access to capital – money to buy equipment, expand production, hire additional staff, and broaden distribution. Typically, this additional capital comes in two forms – debt and equity.
Debt is a loan. You know this one. This is how you typically buy a car or a house. A bank or lender helps you pay up front, and then for the next three to thirty years you pay them back. The interest you pay is their return on investment. Businesses often secure loans to buy new equipment or to purchase or upgrade facilities.
Equity is ownership. It is money a business obtains by offering part ownership in the business. Corporations sell stock as their primary form of equity financing. People and investment firms “buy” part of the business in hopes for returns on investment. These investors get their return on investment through growth in stock value and dividends.
Another form of equity financing is venture capital. Venture capitalist firms sometimes give fledgling companies big money in the hopes of huge returns. They provide speculative financing to businesses with strong potential for growth. Over time, and often through complex legal agreements, venture firms expect to earn twenty percent or more per year for the risk they take in supporting growing companies.
The new Business Oregon programs include both debt and equity finance programs. They work through banks, credit unions, venture capital groups, and other organizations to help promising small businesses fund growth. Their aim is to help small businesses expand. Their programs are designed to leverage federal funding with other sources of capital to catalyze growth throughout the state. This growth will create jobs, attract investment dollars, expand markets, and increase revenues for state and local agencies.
Please keep in mind that many of our local small businesses are quite content to stay small. Many of our most beloved organizations here in Beaverton are happy to stay local and don’t have goals for growth or dreams to get rich. Their focus is on serving their local community and building long-term relationships with customers and other businesses. We need and appreciate them.
Whatever your goals for your business, we would love to hear your story. We are here to support you. Please contact us at the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce if you would like to learn more.
Here’s to strong sales, wonderful employees, and delighted customers!
By Rob Routhieaux, Director of Small Business Support & Development.
For more information about how your business can be involved or sponsorship opportunities, email us at email@example.com or call, 503-644-0123.