Investments in Oregon's Entrepreneurial Ecosystem 2017 - 2021
In 2010, OCF began looking at ways for philanthropy to revitalize Oregon’s economy in the wake of the Great Recession. Our initial efforts are detailed in our report Economic Vitality: 2010–2016.
Since then, our board has placed a stronger emphasis on using three primary funding tools to support Oregon entrepreneurs:
Grants give us flexibility in helping nonprofits to build infrastructure and capacity and to provide tailored training, education and mentoring for entrepreneurs.
Equity investments in venture capital funds support entrepreneurs in the crucial startup and early growth phases.
Loans fund intermediaries that then lend to local entrepreneurs and small-business owners who lack access to traditional financing from banks.
Our latest report, Investments in Oregon's Entrepreneurial Ecosystem 2017-2021, highlights our support of Oregon’s entrepreneurial networks, particularly those that are providing equitable opportunities for women, people of color and people in rural areas. It compiles inspiring stories based on conversations with program staff and leaders from 11 organizations that exemplify the varied strategies, locations and focus of our investments. These stories are the heart of this report, highlighting experiences and voices that are critical to understanding the benefits OCF's commitment to nurturing entrepreneurship is bringing to Oregon communities.
As we celebrate our investments in the entrepreneurial ecosystem over the last five years, we also recognize that our work is evolving. The past few years have sharpened our focus on the structural and racial inequities in Oregon’s economic systems. Impacts of the pandemic and disasters such as wildfires have further highlighted those inequities in communities across our state. Moving forward, OCF’s economic vitality efforts will include a focus on the racial wealth gap and building wealth for communities of color. Our support of the entrepreneurial network as described in this report is a strong foundation from which to expand our work toward a more just future for all Oregonians.