PCC’s SBDC, Portland Business Alliance launch 2022 Small Business Management Cohort
Photos and Story by James Hill
The Portland Community College’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) have announced the 2022 Small Business Management Cohort.
Twenty-two small businesses were selected to participate in this comprehensive 10-month business development training course designed to help experienced business owners increase revenue, improve operations and recruit great employees. This year’s cohort is one of the most diverse groups in the program’s history, with 50% of participants representing minority-owned businesses and 64% woman-owned entities.
The PBA awards program scholarships to 12 small business owners. This year, however, the Alliance increased access to the program to meet the demand for participation. Each scholarship offers $1,300 toward the $1,800 course tuition. As an added bonus, each participant receives a two-year small business level PBA membership, valued at $820 per year, for a total scholarship package valued at $2,940. These scholarships are made possible thanks to a partnership with Bank of America.
The Strategic Plan: Responding to Workforce Needs
- The 2020-2025 Strategic Plan prepares the college for the future of higher education. Part of the plan is responding to community and workforce needs by developing a culture of agility. This means growing programs that lead to living wage jobs via industry partnerships and supporting career readiness and resources that include in-program coaching and career-launching support.
The course is designed for small business owners who are currently — or want to begin – selling products or services outside of the Portland region; have been in business for at least two years; have at least one employee; and, who are looking to grow their business.
“This course brings together the best features of a small business learning environment; real-life experience and knowledge from subject matter experts as instructors, business advising concurrently, and a cohort of individuals sharing ideas, resources and information,” said Tammy Marquez-Oldham, director of PCC’s SBDC.
Participants in the program run successful businesses, but have some gaps in their knowledge around some aspect of business. They are the experts at what they do but need additional help in building their business around their expertise.
“Small business is a tremendous economic engine in Portland,” said Art Avitia, Portland Business Alliance Board Member and Senior Relationship Manager, Global Commercial Banking for Bank of America. “As long-time supporters of PCC’s SBDC, we applaud the selection of the most diverse cohort of participants yet, and we will continue to work together to make sure that our region’s economic recovery and growth is equitable and open to diverse entrepreneurs and business owners. That starts with ensuring more access to these critical business development programs and the resources small business owners need.”
The program led by PCC provides them with a 360-degree approach to business and helps them fill in those gaps so they can be more successful.
“The biggest growth I’ve experienced during the Advanced SBM Program has been in changing my mindset from a startup founder to a small business owner,” said SBDC graduate Leo Ochoa. “Learning to shift my mindset from operating like a technician to a manager to an entrepreneur has tremendous value in how I operate my business now.”
Check out the full list of small businesses who earned scholarships.