BUILDING A COMMUNITY WHERE YOU CAN START SOMETHING BIG
Article by Tiffany Edwards, Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce
Stories of incredible innovators and creators can be found everywhere when you look around Eugene’s growing business community. Famous innovators such as Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, as well as modern innovators like the creative folks at PakTech, SheerID and Coconut Bliss have all called our region home and started something big.
Being a community where people generate ideas, take risks and are supported to “just start” takes dedication, cooperation and a
concerted effort from our elected officials and community leaders to make this a great place for entrepreneurs. The Eugene Chamber and partners are working to build an environment ripe for big things to happen. It will take a village working on these critical elements to help us get there.
REDUCING THE REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
We’ve heard often from our members that policy-makers continue to impose new taxes and regulations that are making it tough for businesses to succeed. We also know that funding for schools, public safety and other critical services are declining due to an unsustainable funding model. The message of the business community has been loud and clear—reduce barriers to help us flourish and we will create the jobs that pay the taxes which support the services. We’ve engaged successfully in helping our decision-makers understand that if barriers can be removed that help businesses thrive, there will be positive impacts to the
BUILDING THE TALENT PIPELINE
Ensuring that employers have a pool of talented, trained workers is a primary function of the Chamber. We work with local and regional partners to bring opportunities in education together with needs in industry and advocate for those resources—whether that be expansion of Career Technical Assistance (CTE) or funding for schools and higher education. We connect employers with
needs and take a solutions-oriented, data-driven approach.
RIGHT-SIZE THE COST OF LIVING
We know many of our community members are paying far too much for housing and many are unable to afford to meet basic needs for food and healthcare, despite being employed. If we can’t close the gap between costs and earnings, employers will continue to struggle to recruit workers and entrepreneurs will look elsewhere. As a lead partner of Better Housing Together, the Chamber is working diligently to improve the affordability, availability and diversity of housing in our region. We’ve made good and needed progress, but the work is far from done.
INCREASING FUNDING ACCESS
Small, emerging and growing entrepreneurial businesses face a unique set of challenges related to accessing capital to grow and create jobs. The Chamber has its pulse on the various loans, grants and other funding sources and is a resource for members looking for options. And for some businesses who cannot meet funding criteria for traditional forms of capital, the Chamber has been working to help them share their story and advocate to the State Legislature to prioritize state-supported funding programs.
The Chamber is proud to work on behalf of the gritty, dedicated, passionate entrepreneurs who are building companies, growing
our community and improving the lives of citizens in our region.
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