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Chair's Blog

Alliance launches small business advising program April 2015
By Debbie Kitchin

Here at the Portland Business Alliance, we are strong advocates of small business as a critical part of our regional economy. Portland-area small businesses drive the region’s entrepreneurial innovation and make up approximately 80 percent of the Alliance’s membership. As such, the Alliance works to enhance and improve this community by providing resources and education to help them thrive.

Last month, the Alliance launched a brand new program for small business owners. We are partnering with Portland Community College’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to provide advising to small business owners at no cost. The one-hour sessions are conducted by business advisors and are open to everyone. The sessions can cover topics such as how to incorporate innovative hiring techniques or any other aspect of growing a healthy business.
As a small business owner, I know it’s really important to take advantage of resources like these. With my husband Jim, I own InterWorks LLC, a general contracting firm, and I can tell you that something like this would have been extremely useful for us when we first started. In fact, I think it might even still be useful. We often get so ingrained in the day-to-day operations of our business that we sometimes forget to take a step back and get some outside perspective and, in this case, expert advice.

If you’re a small business owner, this is an opportunity not to miss! The advising sessions are available every Tuesday at the Alliance by appointment only. You can sign up at and be sure to mention “Portland Business Alliance” in the comments. If you have any questions, please contact Amanda Ray at the Alliance at or 503-552-6759.

The Alliance also helps small businesses grow through our Small Business Management Scholarship Program, which I’ve talked about here before. With support from Bank of America, we partner with the SBDC in providing a 10-month training program, designed to help experienced business owner grow to the next level. I’m a big supporter of this program because it produces real results – job and revenue growth – for businesses that are driving innovation in our community. We recently interviewed five graduates from the program about their experience. Check out the interviews on the Alliance website.

Lastly, we are close to wrapping up our annual Alaska Airlines Membership Referral Drive. If you know of a business that isn’t already an Alliance member and would be a good fit for membership, please recommend it here. If you submit a referral, you’ll be entered into the grand prize drawing of two tickets to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies at our Forum breakfast on June 12. The more referrals you enter, the greater your chances of winning!

Thank you for your support.
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