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.
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.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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…