The Tech Community & the Portland Economy

Companies less than five years old account for all of the net job growth in our country between 1980 and 2005. – The Startup America Partnership

Small businesses are engines of job creation – and the tech sector is unique in its ability to foster small businesses that become big businesses, really fast. Nationwide, this one of the few sectors in the American economy that’s growing – creating jobs, issuing new IPOs for companies like LinkedIn and Facebook (any minute now!).

My town of Portland is investing in tech to create jobs and spur economic growth. A recent Portland Development Commission grant of $500,000 funded investment in early stage companies based here, earning matching investment from private investors.

Sam Adams, the current mayor of Portland, has embraced the tech community – spearheading the PDC grant program and supporting partnerships with the Portland State Business Accelerator, Portland Incubator Experiment, Oregon Entrepreneurs Network and other tech associations.

As the 2012 mayoral election approaches, candidates are following Mayor Adams’ lead and building relationships with the tech community. Eileen Brady has emerged as an early tech front-runner, with endorsements from prominent folks like Merrick (just one name!), Josh Friedman, Nitin Khanna and Scott Kveton. She has followed this early splash with continued conversations about the ways her administration would support tech, like improving the regulatory environment and focusing on partnerships with educational institutions to foster innovation and develop the qualified workforce.

As a member of the Portland tech community, I’m eager to see more news stories like this one and this one and this one – about tech companies bringing growth and innovation to the Portland economy. With support from city and state regulators, tech can play a leading role in economic recovery. At this stage, it isn’t so important what Eileen’s specific initiatives are for the tech community – I’m more excited that she has made tech a focus both for her campaign and for her growth strategies for the Portland economy.

Learn more in person: Brady will be hosting a tech meetup,Tuesday, January 24th from 6:30-9pm at the Doug Fir (suggested contribution $15).

Image credit: danoStL on Flickr

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