Mayor Proclaims ‘Venture Portland Day’ for Organization’s 35th Anniversary 

On Monday 4/26, at Venture Portland’s Annual Membership Meeting, Mayor Ted Wheeler proclaimed Monday, 4/26/21 as ‘Venture Portland Day’ in recognition of Venture Portland’s 35th anniversary. The organization was originally incorporated on January 31, 1986 by a small group of volunteers representing ten neighborhood business districts as the Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Associations, changing its name to Venture Portland in 2011. Over three decades, the Alliance grew into a powerful economic engine made up of 50 business districts containing 23,600 businesses and providing 308,000 jobs. 98% of Portland’s neighborhood businesses have 5 or fewer employees. As those dedicated business owners know, in Portland, SMALL is really BIG! 

Over the past year, Venture Portland has adapted to meet the needs of Portland’s neighborhood businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization has provided more than 4,000 hours of training and technical assistance and $121,000 in grants to business associations across Portland. With multiple e-newsletters and social media posts each week, the organization increased its marketing support for these groups 300% since 2019 and has expanded access to its programs with the addition of a YouTube channel. In order to better serve BIPOC-owned businesses, Venture Portland formed an Equity and Outreach Committee in 2020.

Currently, Venture Portland staff serve on Mayor Wheeler’s Economic Recovery Action Tables and continue to engage with new partners. Venture Portland also manages Organizers in six underserved business districts as part of the Catalytic Investment Initiative. Finally, Venture Portland’s volunteer board members contributed nearly 7,000 hours of volunteer time in the past year to help ensure Portland’s neighborhood business districts continue to thrive.

Read the full Venture Portland Day proclamation here or watch on YouTube.