Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Vancouver Celebrates Small Business

Since 1963, America has observed National Small Business Week to honor the significant roll these organizations play in the economy. From print shops to restaurants to high-tech startups and government contractors, the face of small business is as diverse as the people they employ. In fact, small businesses are responsible for over half of the nation’s jobs.

In conjunction with National Small Business Week, held during the first week of this month, the Vancouver City Council designates May as Small Business Month. Now in its third year, 13 partners and over 25 events highlight local resources and networking opportunities available throughout the city.

“The city of Vancouver takes this opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners, and recognizes that Small Business Month is a time for us to celebrate the successes of small business and to thank our small business owners for their contributions to our city, our economy and our nation,” said Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt.

According to Rebecca Kennedy, business assistance coordinator for the city, small businesses make up 95 percent of all businesses in Vancouver, which translates to 32,000 jobs. Clearly, companies with 50 or fewer employees have a substantial impact on the local economy.

Small Business Month is consistent with ongoing efforts to make business ventures accessible and take the confusion out of the process. Vancouver was the first city in the region to join Startup in a Day, a national initiative launched in 2015 that aims to streamline the permitting and application process to a 24-hour window.

Already this month, the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) has hosted workshops including an open house highlighting free or lost-cost business support groups that deal with everything from funding to training to market research and everything in between. The organization also held its first Small Business Crawl this week, which took place in Uptown Village. Attendees visited a selection of small businesses in an effort to draw attention to them as well as to demystify the power of connecting with other community business owners. On Wednesday, May 25, a second Small Business Crawl will be held in east Vancouver (for more information, visit www.vancouverusa.com).

Other events coming up this month include workshops from SCORE Vancouver and the Fort Vancouver Regional Library.

“We created May as Small Business Month to be a time when business assistance providers could concentrate programs into one month and then cross-promote each other’s programs for greater participation,” explained Teresa Brum, economic development division manager for the city of Vancouver.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Portland, Oregon Minimum Wage Rate Summary

Enacted by the 2016 Oregon Legislature, Senate Bill 1532 establishes a series of annual minimum wage rate increases beginning July 1, 2016 through July 1, 2022.  Beginning July 1, 2023, the minimum wage rate will be indexed to inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a figure published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In addition to a new standard minimum wage rate, the bill sets out a separate rate which will apply to employers located in the urban growth boundary of a metropolitan service district.  (Currently, only the Portland metropolitan area has an urban growth boundary.)  Finally, a third rate will apply within certain "nonurban" counties named in the bill.