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PDC launches Project Increase to aid small business owners of color

January 20, 2016

PDC Project Increase

A dozen small Portland businesses will participate in PDC’s newly-launched Project Increase, a pilot program designed to take established small business owners of color through a rigorous, tailored growth planning course.

"The Increase program is tightly linked to our strategic objective to foster wealth creation within communities of color through business development."

The culturally responsive, cohort-based small business expansion program will use Streetwise MBA™, developed by Interise, a Boston-based national nonprofit committed to accelerating economic and small business growth in lower income communities. The Portland class will run from February through July 2016.

Businesses will participate in bi-weekly gatherings with guest experts and actively participate in peer-to-peer learning sessions. The program culminates in a strategic action plan that participants develop for their own business. In addition, participants will receive a marketing grant, industry-specific mentoring, and access to meaningful financing to help execute the plan.

PDC Executive Director Patrick Quinton said, “The Increase program is tightly linked to our strategic objective to foster wealth creation within communities of color through business development. We welcome this opportunity to work with Interise to move these small businesses toward higher growth, by increasing owner know-how, access to markets and financing, and mentorship opportunities.”

“Interise is very fortunate to be able to partner with the PDC in bringing the StreetWise MBA™ curriculum to an expanding network of small businesses in Portland," said Interise Director of Programs Bernard Johnson. “Through Project Increase, small business owners will build capacity and gain access to a network of mentors and subject matter experts while creating and implementing a three-year strategic growth plan. I look forward to witnessing the sustainable impact and growth of business owners who participate in this program."

Participating businesses are:

Additional partners include Treehouse which has generously provided its space for the course, and PDC’s Microenterprise and Small Business Development Program partners who continue to support underrepresented small businesses: Hacienda CDC, Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon, Native American Youth and Family Center, Neighborhood House, and the Portland State Business Outreach Program.

Rachel Hestmark of Hestmark Designs said, "I'm excited to be in the PDC Increase Project to learn how to accelerate my business to a higher level for my family, community and for myself."

Jamaal Hale, Good Green Printing, said, “"What an amazing project for the city of Portland! I look forward to the knowledge gained from this program.”

Ro Tam, Tanglewood Beverage Company, said, “I'm excited for Tanglewood to be a part of this pilot program and work with a community of other minority entrepreneurs. It's a great opportunity to take our brands to the next level, learn from one another and help each other grow."

Jamaal Lane, Champions Barbershop, said, “Ambition and persistence birthed our small businesses. Growth opportunities, knowledge and execution will INCREASE our businesses! Thankful!”

Jasmine Tran, Essance, said, "Growth is a constant moving energy. To question the momentum of this movement is to understand the destiny of our own expansion."

Contact: Shawn Uhlman, PDC, 503-823-7994