March 19, 2014 – Adventist Hospital Pavilion – 7:30am
It’s the middle of tax season but that didn’t stop our master of ceremonies from arriving early for another outstanding program from the Government and Economic Affairs Committee, (complete with breakfast rolls and coffee sponsored by Oregonians Credit Union.)
Kevin Minkoff, CPA, introduced two presenters who were invited to talk about micro-finance opportunities in the Portland market. Maggie Reilly, Director, from Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO)and Laura Alsenas, Business Loan Officer at PDC talked about alternative and available financing from sources other than the usual bank or credit union lender.
Maggie Reilly explained who is the Portland Development Commission (PDC) and what they do. The PDC is the city’s urban renewal and economic development agency. PDC adopted a new strategy for urban renewal about 5 years ago and have several industry clusters that they focus on. They also work with neighborhood economic development. An urban renewal area will generally have a tax “freeze” and the city will invest in development projects. Then the added projects will generate additional tax revenues so the projects are sustainable. In such districts, the PDC has funds set aside for tenant improvements, real estate acquisition, property development, equipment and working capital. The loans from PDC have common features with other business loans, comparable rates and require 1:1 debt coverage ratios. PDC also has matching grant programs available for storefront improvements and green features.
If you want to know where the urban renewal areas are, check out Portlandmaps.com.
The second presentation by Maggie Reilly of Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) covered the background and purpose of MESO. The team at MESO works closely with select small business to assist in their success. They offer both technical and financial assistance to underserved entrepreneurs, engaging in a wide variety of economic activities. The business entrepreneurs go through an education program, receive assistance with strategic planning and implementation. They can participate in classes for accounting, taxes, design and branding and building annual business plans. MESO works with 15 to 20 entrepreneurs per year and works with each of the businesses for two or three years.
One of the MESO programs to build business credit uses individual development accounts with a 3 to 1 match. That means for every $1 the business saves, the program matches with a $3 addition. MESO also partners with banks, PDC, Mercy Corp, Metropolitan Credit Repair, Black United Fund of Oregon, SBA and other micro lenders to ensure that an entrepreneur can get off to the right start. MESO has offices in Washington County and in St Helens.
This meeting offered a plethora of options for financing a small business. Both Laura and Maggie bring much enthusiasm and knowledge to entrepreneurs in need of funding or business expertise.Char Shinn
VP of Business and Community Development Oregonians Credit Union