Originally posted in Neighborhood Notes, excerpted here.
By John Chilson
On the southern tip of Portland, where Multnomah and Clackamas counties crisscross boundaries, the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek neighborhood is host to a new tenant: a garden plot that’s helping an underserved community while providing local produce for hungry Portlanders.
The 2/3-acre garden, once covered in weeds, blackberries and fruit trees, is being transformed into a thriving garden, thanks to a partnership between MercyCorps Northwest and nonprofit Grow Portland. The site was formerly owned by the city, and MercyCorps Northwest acquired it two years ago as part of their New American Agricultural Project that helps refugee and immigrant growers start market gardens.
Grow Portland’s Lauren Morse works with three Nepalese families and says the garden provides a small income for them. “We help with the brand for all the produce and sell in two farmers’ markets in Portland. We also have a CSA program,” she says.
However, it’s more than scattering seeds, watering, harvesting and trucking off kale to farmers’ markets. There are a lot of logistics to figure out, especially for distribution, such as the timing of harvest, so produce can be picked up at certain times of the week and trucked to different places. Morse trucks the produce off to market when harvested as well as ensuring that the wheels are turning in the production of food. It’s a very grassroots operation.
We are honored and excited for this new learning opportunity and the potential to scale up our services. Press Release is excerpted in the blog, go here for full article.
The Aspen Institute and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity announced today the five organizations selected to be part of the Scale Academy for Microenterprise Development. The Scale Academy is a program that offers grant funding, peer learning events, and technical assistance to a set of high-performing microenterprise organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to scaling up to serve more clients through working to help low-income entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
The Academy is operated jointly by FIELD at the Aspen Institute (Microenterprise Fund for Innovation, Effectiveness, Learning and Dissemination) and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, the trade association for microenterprise development programs in the US. Microenterprises are very small businesses requiring $50,000 or less in start-up capital and employing five or fewer people. The entrepreneurs targeted by microenterprise organizations tend to be women, minorities, immigrants, low-income and/or individuals with disabilities.
The five organizations, selected from among 33 applicants nationwide, are:
- Mercy Corps Northwest, Portland, Ore. With offices in Portland and Seattle, the organization served 958 clients in 2010 with business training, lending, Individual Development Accounts, and specially targeted services for the formerly incarcerated, refugees, and other high-risk populations. The Academy recognized Mercy Corps as a highly innovative organization and for its strategy to expand its microlending throughout Oregon and Washington using a new online portal for loan applications and a partnership referral program.
- MicroMentor, Portland, Ore. MicroMentor facilitates mentoring relationships between entrepreneurs and volunteer business mentors using a platform that integrates technology systems and other services to accelerate the growth of microenterprises. In 2010, it matched 900 entrepreneurs with mentors, and the organization aims to grow that, planning to make 2,500 matches in 2012. The Academy recognized MicroMentor for its total focus on scalability and its strategy to develop an affiliate program to help 150 microenterprise development organizations offer higher-quality mentoring services to disadvantaged entrepreneurs.
Date: Thursday, April 7, 2011, 10:11am PDT
“…United Way raised $21.13 million through its 2010-2011 Community Giving Campaign, its primary tool to raise funds through workplace giving.
About half of United Way’s funds go to organizations specified by the donors; the balance supports grants to local nonprofits working to improve the education, health and economic vitality of the community…
…Individual donations, typically by employees through workplace campaigns, accounted for 58 percent of all contributions, a figure that is rising.
“People do know that in these tough economic times every contribution makes a difference,” Carlo said…
…The money raised in 2010-2011 will support 31 projects and 150 partners as they serve 100,000 area residents in the coming year. United Way typically awards three-year grants that range from $100,000 to $200,000 per year.
Some of its current projects include a Mercy Corps Northwest effort to serve former inmates in Multnomah County, Self-Enhancement Inc.’s work to mentor disadvantaged youth, Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center’s work to provide medical care to low-income Washington County residents, and Clackamas Women’s Services’ work with homeless survivors of domestic violence…”
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.”
- 808 Grinds
- Aybla Grill
- Brown Chicken Brown Cow
- The Baowry
- Bora Bora
- Crème de la Crème
- The Dump Truck
- Eat This!
- El Gallo Taqueria
- Emame’s Ethiopian Cuisine
- EuroTrash Food Cart
- Fifty Licks Ice Cream
- Garden State
- Happy Grillmore
- The Kettle Kitchen
- Kim Jong Grillin’
- KOi Fusion
- Leroy’s Familiar Vittles
- Nuevo Mexico
- Oregon Ice Works
- Over the Top Wild Game Burgers
- PDX 671
- Philippine Cuisine Food Cart
- Pizza Contadino
- Pyro Pizza
- Robb’s Really Good Food
- The Rolling Stoves Gimme Sandwich
- Sawasdee Thai
- Shut Up and Eat
- Slice Brick Oven Pizza
- SomTum Gai Yang
- Wet Hot Beef
- Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwiches Food Cart
Joe’s work has the ability to evoke the optimism and conscience of both past and present, and captures the foodie zeitgeist with bright, poignant printmaking. We are proud to have this artist in our local community and amongst our small business students.
About The Victory Garden of Tomorrow (in Joe’s own words)
The Victory Garden of Tomorrow is a self-commissioned poster campaign designed to channel the bold energy of historical poster propaganda. It is committed to civic innovation and social progress– better food, better gardens, better cities. It is artful advocacy for the modern homefront.
In terms of conceptual design, The Victory Garden of Tomorrow is an exercise in blending WPA-era eat-your-peas propaganda with the awe-inspiring 1939 World’s Fair (motto: “The World of Tomorrow”) and its big-vision, world reshaping ambition. I believe the spirit and skills of that old generation lay within us today. We simply need to re-deploy ourselves if we are to shape our uncertain destiny.
Holiday Hair Studio, Portland, Oregon’s First and Only Hair Styling Cart, Opens Its Doors Valentine’s Day
by Robin Carlisle, MCNW Foundations Student
Holiday Hair Studio is a tiny salon tucked inside a vintage travel trailer and nestled into an old nursery, right in the Heart of Portland, Oregon. It is clear that Portland loves carts, so it is only natural that this love grow and evolve. That is why we are so excited to introduce you to this evolution. Holiday Hair Studio! On Holiday you are surrounded by twinkly lights, you sip wine or drinking chocolate and enjoy tiny sweets, while the experienced and talented Robin Carlisle transforms you into the prettiest version of yourself.
Everyone wants to be the first to tell their friends about an amazing new food cart that they found… Well, how about a brand new species of cart all together? The Service Cart. In this new version, not only do you take something away with you, but you get to climb aboard this cart and experience the mystique of it all for yourself. This is different from some guy with a mustache serving you a huge sloppy sandwich that sticks between your fingers and gums up your handle bars. This is a tiny whimsical hair salon with pink damask wallpaper and vintage vanity surrounded by a halo of bulb lights. It is a fully functioning beauty parlor with a shampoo bowl and all! It is everything you would find in a high-end salon, except it is especially tiny and adorable… And private! Clients are given a private session with one of Portland’s best hairstylists… How many Portlanders can say, “If you need me I’ll be in my trailer getting my hair done”? Well, now they can.
As well as being the first cart of its kind, Holiday is a fierce competitor for its brick-and-mortar competition. This place is like a treasure trove of enchantment! With fresh Parisian Macarons baking right on board in a miniature oven, its cute factor is through the roof. But it is also clean, open, and spacious considering the venue, with more room in its single station than in the cattle-stall layout of a traditional salon. One thing that makes Holiday special is that everything is special. There is not a detail that has not been thoughtfully executed. In a space this intimate everything must be worthy. And it is, from the custom-built alder cabinets with leather suitcase straps as handles to the refurbished 1929 seltzer bottle used to serve clients pomegranate spritzers. Everything is deliberate and nothing “will do.” From the environment to the services provided, it is all just a grand stage for beauty to happen.
So, yes, we have said much about Holiday herself offering charm and whimsy… But it is master hairstylist Robin Carlisle who clients are paying to see. With over ten years in her field, Robin has styled for a vast array of clients, including television shows, feature films, local newspapers, Portland’s top fashion designers, and more. Aside from an impressive resume, Robin’s personal clients are some of the most satisfied and loyal customers there are.
Now let’s talk location. All this magic is pretty much smack in the middle of our fair city, located in the heart of Portland, at 116 SE 28th Avenue, between Ash and Pine, nestled into the lush overgrowth of an old nursery. Holiday is in good company adjacent to and sharing the old nursery of Artemisia Gallery and Terrarium shop, which is another of Portland’s unique treasures all on its own, but I must say these two businesses compliment each other in so many ways. The setting for Holiday is incredible. Preceding the cart is a small tea patio and mini pathways winding amidst bamboo and fragrant floral greenery (come springtime that is). There could not be a more perfect location and setting for such a unique display of commerce.
The SBA Portland announced today that it will continue and expand the e200 Emerging Leaders’ executive-level training initiative for small business entrepreneurs, to include Native American business owners.
“I am very excited to be hosting the e200 executive training initiative once again in Portland. The initiative is a challenging program that enables top small business executives to participate in an intensive and comprehensive curriculum. The focus will be on developing growth strategies (3-5 year plans, new markets), access to new capital to fuel growth; mentoring and other training to target potential contracts in the local and federal government arena. This initiative is designed to accelerate the growth of companies that are poised for sustained expansion,” said SBA Portland Acting District Director, Robert S. DuCote.
“Over the last few years e200 has been a catalyst for expanding opportunities for many promising small businesses in underserved communities – in particular those who have been most impacted by these tough economic times,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “Graduates of the program have increased their revenue, created jobs and helped drive local economic growth in their communities. SBA’s commitment to not only continue, but expand the program, will build on this success and provide even more entrepreneurs in underserved communities with the support, resources and skills to succeed.”
Despite the recent recession/no growth economy, more than half of the businesses that have completed the e200 training have shown an increase in revenue of over $7 million. Nearly 60 percent have reported creating new jobs in their communities. Surveyed entrepreneurs also reported having secured nearly $10 million in new financing for their businesses, with an increase in confidence when applying for government contracts. As a result, post-trainees have reported securing nearly 500 federal, state and local contracts, worth more than $112 million.
Since its inception, e200 has identified business owners across the country who show a high potential for growth in underserved markets—and provided them with the training, networking, resources and motivation required to expand operations and create jobs.
This initiative for entrepreneurs in underserved markets has been a catalyst for expanding opportunities for both urban small business owners and, more recently in 2010, added emphasis on Native American communities. There were 121 urban area graduates in 2010 and 125 from Native American communities, with the combined 246 graduates representing the largest graduating class since the e200 initiative began in 2008.
The nine-month training includes approximately 100 hours of classroom time per participant and provides the opportunity for small business owners to work with experienced mentors, attend workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and financial community. Last year the Portland District of the SBA successfully graduated 16 businesses from the program.
By DEENA PRICHEP
Photograph by MOTOYA NAKAMURA
This time last year, Jessie Smith (left, in photograph) had a dream, a business grant from Mercy Corps and a nascent baking business keeping her up until 4 a.m. (after working her three day jobs). Now, she’s a full-time baker about to bust out of her Southeast Portland kitchen, has hired on high school friend Nicole Trueblood as a partner and will deliver breathtaking Parisian macarons to your door.
Smith is the founder (or, as she prefers, “sugar mama”) of Confectionery. She’s self-taught and has built a following at farmers markets with infused caramels, inventive cupcakes and adorably wee candied apples. But macarons quickly became the favorite. This year Smith added them to Confection Club, a subscription service where she’ll deliver a dozen macarons to your door every month for $15. This is a phenomenally good deal.
Smith, a painter, finds inspiration from concepts and color schemes, as well as seasonal herbs and berries. Her “Sunny” macaron brings warmth to April with rich sunflower seed butter playing off the slightly grassy herbal notes of chamomile flowers, and July’s “Frilly” riffed on the complementary colors of purple and green to discover the natural affinity between pistachio and lavender. Next up for March: “Maritime” pairs luscious coconut cream with a bright hint of lime.
Excerpted from “Pressed for success: Self-employed by necessity, a divorced mother of two says failure isn’t an option” By Tom Hallman Jr. for the Oregonian. Read Full Article here
When the end came, Shawna McKeown wasn’t surprised.
“I’d been there 10 years and saw the signs,” she said. “I was the one who shut down the classified department, got rid of the web editor and demoted the receptionist.”
In June, it was McKeown’s turn: She was laid off as general manager ofWillamette Week, a Portland alternative newspaper.
As the divorced mother of two boys — Thilo, 7, and Cian, 5 — she needed to find something else.
After months of planning, she opened a business, Oui Presse coffee shop on Portland’s Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. Now she maintains a complicated schedule of caring for her sons and running a shop that faces competition from not only national chains such as Starbucks but other independent shops with loyal followings…
…McKeown started a blog to chart her progress and build a following. She tried to borrow money from several banks, including the one that holds her mortgage. But with no paycheck, they all said no.
Next she turned to MercyCorps Northwest, which has a loan program for startups.
“What’s changed in the past couple years is that we’re seeing people who’ve been working for a company for years and then they lost a job,” said Scott Onder, the Portland organization’s fund development and strategy coordinator. “It’s a tough job market, and the only alternative is to become self-employed.”
MercyCorps gets 20 applications a month and approves four, he said. Since the program began nine years ago, the organization has issued just over 200 loans totaling $2.3 million. Now demand is so high, the agency is working with banks to get more money to loan.
“We’ve funded some businesses that you wouldn’t think would make it,” he said. “Craftsmen that sell jewelry. We’ve helped florists and photographers. What we look at is potential cash flow to make sure there’s enough profit to make loan payments on a monthly basis.”
McKeown was approved for a $20,000 loan, with a 12 percent interest rate. She opted instead to sign up for two more credit cards, which offered zero interest for the first year.
“I have to do what it takes to get going,” she said…
Our Loan Client Angela Garcia received special mention in El Hispanic News in “Escuela Viva prepares students to learn through building positive attitudes” By Richard Jones. Excerpted here. See full article here
Sitting at a work table, the director/owner of Escuela Viva explained what made her school different. A quiet hum of children talking to teachers filled the room.
From out of nowhere, a 4-year-old girl with a wide smile ran up and laid a huge bear hug on Angela García — or Angie, as most of the staff at Escuela Viva call her.
Just as quickly as she arrived, the 4-year old was off to resume her current project. García didn’t react as if that display of affection was anything unusual.
A glance at García’s business card explained the flash encounter. “Healthy Spirits, Open Hearts & Active Minds” the card promised.
The basic premise of Escuela Viva sounds simple — but totally logical. “Happy children are ready to learn,” García observes. “It’s important to have a nice, first educational experience to make them love learning.”…
Financing an expansion
Success has it price: too many students, not enough room. Last spring, the school was operating simultaneously at three locations. Even so, “It was getting pretty cramped for space,” García notes.
Thus a search ensued for larger quarters in which she could combine all Escuela Viva’s operations. After some searching, García located a site with 12,000 square feet of space.
Setting up a new center — and moving equipment — demanded some quick capital. Fortunately, García found Mercy Corps NW (MCNW) and Albina Opportunities Corporation (AOC), both of which provided her with the funding she needed after traditional lending resources proved nonexistent. In this case AOC contributed the majority of the loan proceeds and MCNW took a smaller share and agreed to service the loan.
Both MCNW and AOC actively look for chances to help well-run minority businesses to expand. They have teamed up on several other projects in Portland. For details about of this program, call Terry Brandt at 503-288-7292.
Brandt, executive director of Albina Opportunities Corporation, takes pride in helping such a forward-looking school. “Not only does it provide children with a unique educational opportunity, but it has created and will sustain living wage rate jobs in our community,” Brandt observes.