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SBA Portland names small-business award winners

March 31, 2011 1 comment

Surprise!

Mercy Corps Northwest will be honored to accept two awards from the Small Business Administration this May. The Women’s Business Center at Mercy Corps Northwest has won recognition as the top office in our region (Pacific Northwest). In addition, our own Leslie Bevan, Director of the Women’s Business Center, will be given the “Women in Business Champion” award for her tireless efforts advocating for female-owned businesses.

The Women’s Business Center at Mercy Corps Northwest is responsible for the majority of educational programming, including the Business Foundations Course and evening Business Seminar program. Click here to learn more about the Women’s Business Center.

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The following was originally published in the Oregonian. Excerpted here. Click for full article.

More than a dozen Oregon companies and individuals will be recognized by the Small Business Administration during SBA Portland‘s upcoming Small Business Week awards gala.

“The small business winners and champions are an incredible group of people and I am honored to acknowledge and celebrate them,” said Robert S. DuCote, acting district director for the agency. “The award-winning lenders provided critical support to hundreds of small business owners and entrepreneurs, doing their part to help stimulate economic growth and job creation.”

The gala runs from 5 to 9 p.m. May 12 at the Oregon Convention Center. For more information, contact Sylvia Gercke at 503-326-5122 or Sylvia.gercke@sba.gov.

The honorees:

Winners & champions

Small Business Person of the Year for Oregon: John W. Lavrakas, president, Advanced Research Corp., Newport

Small Business Development Center Service Excellence and Innovation Center Award: Guy Faust, director, Oregon Coast Community College SBDC, Lincoln City.

Entrepreneurial Success of the Year: Travis Boersma, president, Dutch Bros. Coffee, Grants Pass

District Impact Award: Irene Firmat, Full Sail Brewing Co., Hood River

Minority Small Business Champion of the Year for Oregon: Richard M. Inukai, president, Dick’s Auto Sales and Leasing, Hillsboro

Women in Business Champion of the Year for Oregon: Leslie Bevan, manager, Mercy Corps NW Women’s Business Center, Portland…

Click for full article.

The food carts are coming.

March 23, 2011 Leave a comment

The 2011 Eat Mobile Food Cart Festival by Willamette Week

Foodies rejoice. Tickets are now on sale for Willamette Week’s 2011 Eat Mobile Food Cart Festival to be held on April 23rd. A mere $15 gives you access to 40 food carts featuring diverse cuisines and styles. Now in it’s fourth year, Eat Mobile promises to be bigger and better than ever, and will showcase Portland’s enormous and diverse community of gourmands operating out of mobile carts.

Proceeds from the event will support Mercy Corps Northwest and our business development programs. Your admission will be an investment in what we do best: supporting local entrepreneurs. Just like the ones that will be serving up delicious treats for you at the festival. So mark your calendars and get ready for a righteous feast.

What Willamette Week has to say about Eat Mobile:

“With more than 400 food carts selling their tasty goods within our city limits, Portland has become a destination for mobile eats. In July, Portland was named the No. 1 street food city in the world by CNN Travel, and according to Gourmet.com, the Pacific Northwest is “doing for street food today what it did for coffee in the 1990s.”

With an annual attendance of over 2,000, Eat Mobile showcases the food, music and people that make Portland’s food scene so special. Part food festival, part cart competition, Eat Mobile allows attendees to sample from 40 of Willamette Week’s favorite food carts as vendors compete for the coveted Carty Award.”

Get your tickets here.

The Lineup

A big win for LIFE

March 13, 2011 Leave a comment

On March 12th, Mercy Corps Northwest held it’s inaugural fundraiser to support business and life skills education for women in the Coffee Creek Correctional facility. The gala was a huge success, and apart from being a great time, raised $16,000 for the LIFE program. That’s enough to fund an entire 32-week class for 25 women, with more to spare towards another class.

In LIFE (Lifelong Information for Entrepreneurs) women inmates not only learn about business fundamentals, but other core concepts like financial literacy and goal setting. This training helps to build a base for a successful transition outside of prison. Once on the outside, Mercy Corps Northwest teams up with the ROAR Alliance (Reentry Organizations and Resources) to provide a continuum of support for ex-offenders ready to get on their feet again. With a full house, we were humbled by the strong vote of support from our community.

Even if you weren’t able to attend, take a look at the photos from this memorable night and watch the video by John Waskey, New Sky Productions.

This would not have been possible without the contributions and tireless effort of countless people. Special thanks to the LIFE participants who came, the auction item donors, the wineries and cooks, the performers, the volunteers, the guests, and so many others that touched our hearts with their generosity and spirit. Our most sincere acknowledgement goes to Rose Gerber, the volunteer superheroine who turned this dream into a reality.

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