My Track Record: Supporting entrepreneurs
Did you know that less than 2 percent of venture capital goes to women and people of color? Back in 2015 I started working on ideas to address this disparity. I wanted to build a public/private partnership of investors and give seed funding to entrepreneurs who are normally left out of the process.
And so, I sought out partners at the City and we developed the Inclusive Fund.
That was 2016. That year Multnomah County invested $500,000 and the City of Portland invested $500,000 in the first ever public-private Inclusive Fund. We even got the Governor to invest $125,000.
Over the past few years I have continued to fight to get support for this fund -- as women and people of color, we're not allowed to fail. Having venture capital funds that are willing to invest initial seed money can make all the difference for folks normally overlooked in this process.
This summer, one of the startups funded by our fund made good!! RFPIO is a software company that just sold for $25 million and has now repaid most of its' original investors, including our Inclusive Fund.
Read the Willamette Week article here.
I believe that small and mid-size businesses are the economic engine that drive our amazing City. Portland would be nowhere without the businesses that employ five, 25 and 75 employees. When I am at the City I will continue to work to provide opportunities, so those business owners and entrepreneurs reflect the growing diversity of our great City.
In addition to creating the first of its kind Inclusive Seed Fund, I have also:
Lobbied to have Multnomah County join Greater Portland Inc. and have represented the County on that board.
Built a job training program for youth ages 16-24 and successfully grown the program from 25 to 650 this past summer.
Currently represent Multnomah County on the Travel Portland board to ensure the hospitality sector continues to thrive and has the support it needs from public partners.
If this kind of 'out of the box' policy making matters to you, take a minute right now to support my campaign. Together, we are about to make history.
In Her Life, Loretta Smith Has Been A Champion For The Most Vulnerable In Our Community.
As a single mother who raised a son in Portland Public Schools, Loretta learned from an early age how to advocate for and assist young people in obtaining a quality education. As a result, her son was a scholar athlete at the University of Washington.
Loretta is running to help those who are being left out of our new prosperity, and left behind with rising rents and expenses. She knows that we need to look out for those across our city who are struggling if Portland is going to remain a place where everyone can live, work, and play.
Portland needs a leader who understands why so many of our neighbors are falling behind, and who has a track record of making progress for the most vulnerable. With nearly 30 years experience working to create results, Loretta Smith is the right choice to make Portland a city that works for everyone – not just the rich and privileged.