Venture Portland is the support organization for all of Portland’s neighborhood business districts, providing members funding, training and significant staff support. Since 1986 Venture Portland has helped business districts city-wide best meet the needs of their diverse communities. We invite you to discover the ways Venture Portland can support your business district by navigating this section and contacting us today.

2021 was a year of hope as many businesses were excited to get back to business, albeit in a very different world! The work you perform within your district associations (BDAs) is more important than ever. In these continuing difficult times, BDAs truly hold communities together. Venture Portland is honored to be a part of your continued efforts. As Portland adapts to an ever-changing economy and faces monumental issues, Venture Portland is striving to keep small businesses open and front-and-center while preserving the unique character of Portland’s 50 neighborhood business districts. Renew your Venture Portland membership today to ensure your district can continue to take advantage of valuable benefits in 2022.

In 2021, Venture Portland streamlined our operations to be more responsive to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and fine-tuned our Board of Directors to be a “working board” of small business professionals. We have expanded our trainings to help BDAs deal with real time issues, increased our community engagement and marketing efforts, re-envisioned our grants program with a focus on DEI to amplify BIPOC-owned businesses, and supported BDAs through increased technical assistance. Venture Portland’s Executive Committee is a truly amazing powerhouse made up of small business owners who volunteer 100+ hours per month to support our work. Your membership makes all of this work possible.  

As we move into the new year, Venture Portland is excited to offer expanded efforts to aid business districts in recovery. Here is a short list highlighting a few of our on-going pivots: 

  • The upcoming launch of a brand-new Events Hub to assist districts with planning and implementation of events 
  • The upcoming launch of new district walking tours
  • Rebooting the Portland Small Business Podcast
  • Partnering with like-minded organizations to offer topical monthly webinars
  • Offering biannual grant opportunities to fund BDA projects
  • Promoting district activities with weekly press releases and Friday Emails
  • Partnering with Mayor Wheeler’s office for ongoing BDA advocacy
  • Continuing our board and committee work to further the efforts of our organization

 In 2021 Venture Portland: 

  •   Donated 5,000 of volunteer time to business district associations 
    • Venture Portland’s Board, Executive Committee, Grants Committee and Equity and Outreach Committee work to make our programs more equitable, engage with BDAs, and advocate for districts with City partners throughout the year.
  • Provided 4,300 hours of technical assistance and trainings to business district associations
    • Webinars in 2021 included:
      • 6-part Social Media Series
      • Storefront and Window Design
      • Summer Events and Promotions
      • Street and Sidewalk Activation
      • Strong Membership
  • Awarded $83,000 in grants to business district associations
    • Available Grants in 2021 included:
      • Events and Promotions (Holiday Events, Advertising/Marketing Campaigns, Websites, Social Media, Mailers)
      • District Enhancement (Holiday Lighting, Outdoor Seating Winterization, Public art, Accessibility, Livability)
      • Staffing (new or ongoing district staff)

Join Venture Portland now to ensure that your district receives all of these valuable benefits in 2022!

2022 Membership Benefits

Grants and Emerging District Support

Your business district association is eligible for up to $10,000 per year! Build your bottom line through Venture Portland’s grants.

  • Marketing and Membership Grants – provide tactical financial support for year-over-year growth
  • District Enhancement Grants – fund physical improvements that enhance customer/visitor experience, reinforce district identity and promote district as destination
  • Staffing Grants – invest in first-time or ongoing district staffing
  • Grants Office Hours – provide grant planning, writing, implementation and evaluation support

Webinars and Panel Discussions

Attend free monthly webinars and panel discussions, network with business district colleagues, address challenges, strengthen your programs and achieve success for your district and its businesses.

  • Learn best practices from local and national experts; easy-to-use templates and samples help business districts implement training information

Personalized Technical Assistance and Consulting Services

Last year we provided 4,000+ hours of assistance in areas including economic development, governance, membership, revenue and personnel.

  • Events Hub – information and assistance, technical support, and resources to help your district plan and execute public events and promotions.
  • Fee-for-Service Consulting – expanded menu provides design, membership, staffing and strategic governance options with deeply discounted member prices (see Consulting Menu)
  • Annual Check-Up™ – helps associations implement best practices and prioritize activities with easy-to-use templates
  • Mentoring Connections – links business district leaders to discuss shared issues and best practices
  • Just Ask Joy – Venture Portland’s Executive Director answers your burning questions in her monthly advice column

Marketing and Promotion

Stretch your reach and your marketing dollars with Venture Portland’s eblasts, social media and website.

  • Weekly Press Release – sent to our media list and our list of 2,800+ subscribers, highlights district events, promotions and businesses
  • Friday Email – a weekly letter from Venture Portland’s Executive Director with updates about Venture Portland activities and business district-related news
  • – continually updated with district-related information including district profiles, resources, training videos, news, a business district map and more.
  • Social Media – business district-related posts to 3,600+ followers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
  • Small Business Portland Podcast – features interviews with business district leaders and industry-specific developments
  • Sponsorship Opportunities – get your business or district featured on our eblasts, website and webinars


Harness the power of Venture Portland’s advocacy efforts for your business district. Venture Portland has strong relationships with elected officials, bureau staff, opinion leaders and community stakeholders.

  • City Council Liaison – Mayor Wheeler’s office provides direct support to neighborhood businesses and business districts
  • Reputation & Rebranding and Recovery & Events Action Tables – Venture Portland staff work directly with City stakeholders to help guide pandemic recovery efforts

Interest Groups

Connect with colleagues from business districts city wide during informal, peer-based conversations.

  • Just Ask Jacob & Joy (quarterly) – connects Presidents with fellow district leaders and Venture Portland senior staff
  • Staffer Support Group (quarterly) – creates peer network and increases staffing skills by sharing best practices

Representation on Venture Portland’s Board of Directors

As a current member of Venture Portland, your business district association (BDA) may choose to nominate one of your current board members to be on the Venture Portland Board of Directors. As a member of Venture Portland, your BDA is NOT required to have (or to nominate) one of your own board members to serve on the Venture Portland Board of Directors.

Criteria for Nominations:

We highly encourage you to nominate a person who:

  • Currently works at a business within your district
  • Is a current member of your board
  • Demonstrates a high level of confidentiality, loyalty, and active volunteerism
  • Has time to dedicate up to ten hours per month to the Venture Portland Board of Directors
  • Understands that they represent your BDA rather than representing their own goals and/or agenda
  • Will act as the liaison between your board and Venture Portland’s Board of Directors
  • Brings new ideas, has a positive “working” attitude, and who represents your district and your board

This position is ideal for your new board members who may have limited experience on a Board. Serving as a Venture Portland Board member will give them insights into governance, advocacy, and trainings that they can then share with your own board.