North and Northeast Portland businesses are barely scraping by during this tough economic season.
However, armed with a new development grant, the North/Northeast Business Association hopes to jumpstart local enterprise with a special awards event as well as fresh resources for small business owners along the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard corridor.
"What we're doing is we're bringing in a majority of the business owners that have gone above and beyond the call of duty," said marketing and business outreach director RJ Floristan. At a gala event Dec. 5, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., at the NorthStar Ballroom, 635 N. Killingsworth Ct., the group will bestow special awards to area business owners, and present information about N/NEBA's new initiatives funded by its new state of Oregon Transforming Main Street grant.
"Our focus is the revitalization of this community," Floristan says. "When you drive down Sandy Boulevard you see Welcome to Hollywood, when you drive in the Northwest, you see Welcome to the Pearl District, well when you drive down MLK we want you to be welcomed to the Soul of Portland District."
A bedrock focus of N/NEBA's future work will simply be in helping small businesses market their services to area residents an the larger region.
This weekend's gala awards ceremony will honor some of the city's movers and shakers, and encourage the larger community to dig in and invest in their neighborhood vendors, nonprofits and professional services.
"It's really a celebration of business, it's something we've talked about before that we all have to work together and be community driven to make this all possible," said N/NEBA Director Joyce Taylor. "It's hard for small business owners because they work so hard during the day that it's hard to get out at night to meetings and events."
Mayor-elect Sam Adams is expected to speak, and N/NEBA will also play a Power Point presentation looking at the group's – and the neighborhood's – next steps.
"Were do we go from here? What just happened with the elections, what's happened for the vision of King for the next 40 years, of putting the vision to work and trying to complete the plan and move to the next steps and complete it," Taylor says.
The event is sorely needed in part because small businesses are reeling from the recession.
"Everyone is worried about the bottom line, what they have to spend, their costs just to keep their doors open," Taylor says. "Some small businesses have closed due to the economics, and our goal is really to assist with their bottom line and keep the doors open."
She says the new state grant will be a key factor for many local entrepreneurs.
For more information call 503-445-1321.