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Recipe for Success: SBDC Capital Access Team celebrates years of service to small businesses

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Portland Community College is celebrating 11 years of one of its most important services for local small business.

PCC launched the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network’s (OSBDCN) Capital Access Team in 2011 to assist businesses coming out of the 2008 recession obtain funding through specialty business advising across Oregon. With 13 regional advisors throughout Oregon, the Capital Access Team (CAT) has worked with more than 1,300 businesses statewide to help them source funding in more than a decade.

Chef Ron at table

Chef Ron Stewart.

CAT Program Lead and Co-Founder Noah Brockman said that for years business owners have experienced challenges accessing capital in an evolving landscape of funding options, and discerning which type of capital best fits their need and how to access it. This is why small businesses seek out guidance with SBDC CAT business advisors.

“We thought we could help our clients be more successful by advising them on what funders are looking for and how to thoroughly prepare their funding request,” Brockman said. “It’s been eleven years since we started the CAT program and here we are today with $290 million in client project funding to show for.”

The program has assisted more than 425 clients to successfully fund their projects. CAT advisors work first to understand the client’s project needs before recommending sources of capital that best align with the project. Many business owners seeking funding are often unsure where to start and seek out an expert for guidance. Advisors help clients put together a business plan, collect financial statements and tax returns and at least 1-2 years of detailed financial projections to demonstrate business cash flow.

Chef Ron Stewart of Super Mineral Broth said it was great having that guidance every step of the way.

“After talking through my needs, we spent a bunch of time dialing-in my funding request documents and then had multiple conversations with different funders before finding the right fit for the project,” Stewart said. “I learned a lot from the experience and appreciate having an expert from the Capital Access Team guide me through the process.”

The pandemic caused further obstacles and opportunities for small businesses. Scores of new pandemic relief and recovery programs rolled out and the CAT team quickly learned the details and advised clients accordingly. As a result, PCC’s SBDC helped lead OSBDCN’s statewide pandemic response effort.

Chef Ron ingredients

Chef Ron’s branding and business plan was aided by PCC.

The CAT team is now adjusting to a post-pandemic environment as federal relief funding dries up.

“There’s definitely been a shift among our clients toward what looks like ‘cautious optimism,'” Brockman said. “We’re back to advising clients on debt and equity as the primary sources of capital.”

CAT program advisors provide clients business advising on funding request readiness, business planning, financial projections, loan packaging, financial analysis, finance strategies and help connect clients with funders. With a team of subject matter experts including several retired bankers, the Capital Access Team provides clients the guidance, insights, feedback and connections to help more deals get funded.

For more information, visit www.oregonsbdccat.org/

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, is the Public Relations Manager at Portland Community College. A graduate of Portland State University, James has worked as a section editor for the Newberg Graphic, Wo... more »