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.

Grants and Emerging District Support

Apply for up to $14,000 per year! Build your bottom line through Venture Portland’s grants.

  • NEW | Financial Bonuses – offered for Benchmark Achievement
  • Benchmark Grants – provides tactical financial support for year-over-year growth
  • Economic Development Grants – provides strategic financial support to create and/or retain neighborhood businesses and jobs and grow business revenue

Personalized Technical Assistance and Consulting Services

Call us! Last year we addressed 445 individual requests from business districts and provided 2,034 hours of assistance in areas including economic development, governance, membership, revenue and personnel.

  • NEW | Fee-for-Service Consulting – provides design, membership and strategic governance services with deeply discounted member pricing (see Consulting Menu)
  • NEW | District Demographic Data – provides access to district specific metrics and analysis
  • Annual Check-Up™ – helps associations implement best practices with easy-to-use templates
  • Benchmarking Success™ – helps associations prioritize activities for strong and vibrant districts
  • Grants Office Hours – provides grant planning, writing, implementation and evaluation support
  • Mentoring Connections – links business district leaders to discuss shared issues and best practices

Interest Groups

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

  • NEW | Treasurer’s Roundtable (quarterly) – connects Treasurers to share financial best practices
  • President’s Council (quarterly) –connects Presidents with fellow district leaders
  • Officers Training (annual) – trains Officers and explains their legal responsibilities
  • Industrial Districts (biannual) – connects district leaders to discuss industry trends
  • Staffers (bimonthly) – creates peer network and increases staffing skills by sharing best practices

Trainings and Workshops

Attend 10 low-cost trainings and workshops (just $5/$10 each!), network with business district colleagues, address challenges, strengthen your programs and achieve success for your district and its businesses.

  • NEW | In-District Training – brings personalized training to your district (see Training Menu)
  • NEW | Workshops – dives deep into district identity, events and membership; develop action plans with hands-on coaching (see Course Catalog)
  • Trainings – shares best practices from local and national experts (see Course Catalog); easy-to-use templates and samples help business districts implement training information

Marketing and Promotion

Stretch your reach and your marketing dollars with Venture Portland’s coop ads, earned media and PR.

  • Earned Media – gets your district and its businesses in the news; in 2016 we secured 76 positive news stories highlighting neighborhood business districts
  • Annual Marketing Campaigns – ‘#pdxLOVESsmallbiz’ (Feb); ‘Portland Celebrates Small’ (May); ‘Summer Local’ (June–Sept); ‘Fall into Local’ (Oct); ‘Localize the Season’ (Nov–Jan) – promotes business district’s seasonal activities with easy-to-implement marketing materials

Online Media

Feature your events and activities on, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our electronic newsletters distributed to more than 3,000 city stakeholders and Venture Portland supporters.

  • NEW | Venture Portland Productions Videos – expands access to critical tips/instruction online
  • NEW | Business District Spotlight – profiles individual business districts with in-depth reporting
  • Website – promotes districts with map and calendar featuring 1,200 district events; provides training tools and resources (
  • Social Media (com/VenturePortland;;; – promotes neighborhood businesses and business districts; in 2016, 700 social media posts highlighted 77 district events and 1,059 businesses
  • ‘Venture Out’ e-Newsletter – highlights district events and seasonal campaigns
  • Strategic partnerships – Emma and Neighborhood Notes provide discounts for members


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.

  • Commissioner Nick Fish – provides direct support to neighborhood businesses and business districts as Venture Portland’s City Council Liaison

Current issues being watched on behalf of business districts include:

  • NEW | Street Closure Permit Cost Reduction – secured an 86%reduction in parking removal rates for event closures; ensured all 2016 street fair permits were approved
  • NEW | Holiday Construction Blackout (no permits issued) – protected retail sales with a City moratorium on construction/closure permits between Black Friday-Christmas
  • Human Resources and Public Safety – helped districts implement new state and city ordinances while mitigating unintended consequences (new overtime rules, minimum wage increases, Fair Scheduling, Sick Leave Ordinance, Ban the Box, Recreational Marijuana); advocated for additional public safety services in neighborhood business districts
  • Industrial/Employment Zoning – advocated to maintain Industrial Sanctuaries/Employment land
  • Transportation and Freight Issues – promotes the efficient movement of goods and services from business districts to customers; safe and appropriate commercial corridor cycling infrastructure; business district walkability/pedestrian safety and Bureau of Transportation budget priorities
  • Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Changes – facilitated neighborhood business owner focus groups to discuss major changes to Mixed Use and Design Overlay Zones; organization represents neighborhood business district interests as Portland updates its Comprehensive Plan including zoning, apartment building parking, non-conforming use and fees

Office Use

  • NEW | Mail Services – forward district mail to Venture Portland, avoid losing PO Box access
  • NEW | Design Software – design high quality district collateral with professional Adobe Suite
  • Low-cost meeting room for up to 40 people
  • Corporate Document Storage – we will help you sort through your documents and offer a consistent archive location for key documents (bylaws, etc.) Locked storage also available
  • Business District Resource Library – books, guides, toolkits and best practice resources
  • Business District Computer Bar – provides office technology and space to work on business district projects including grant applications/evaluations with staff support as needed

Representation on Venture Portland’s Board of Directors

Shape the future of Venture Portland. Board delegates make critical decisions about Venture Portland’s priorities, finances, programs and services. Committee members provide expertise to Venture Portland’s programs and governance and leverage best practices to bring back to business districts.

Benefits Eligibility

Business district must pay dues to Venture Portland to be eligible for these benefits.  Contact Brad Forkner at or call 503.477.9648 for more information.

Venture Portland Benefits
Membership Form