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Community Capital

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NEOEDD’s mission is to provide resources and facilitate quality decision making for the benefit of entrepreneurs, businesses and communities in Northeast Oregon.

The Northeast Oregon Economic Development District (NEOEDD) is a public organization established in 1985. Baker, Union and Wallowa counties formed the District by Intergovernmental Agreement as a way to enhance community and economic development services in the region.

Our staff members are dedicated to the communities they serve in northeast Oregon and have strong business networking, facilitation, financial, organizational and project development skills.

If you are starting or growing a business, ask us about our business finance and business training programs.

If you are working on a public infrastructure or a community project ask us about services for local governments and community groups.

If you are part of a non-profit organization ask how we can help your board and workers strategize, fund and operate in ways that best meet your mission.

Agora Improves the CEDS Process

One of NEOEDD’s most important responsibilities is to publish the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). This document, redrawn every five years and updated annually, provides an overview of the region’s social and business landscape, an analysis of the region’s economic and community development issues and opportunities, and a list of potential economic development and civic projects within the region that need funding. Check out our website for the 2013-2018 plan and 2015 update.

This year, a new innovation is available that will connect project supporters with potential funders, create greater visibility for projects, and keep project descriptions up-to-date. That innovation is an online platform called Agora.

“Agora was originally piloted with the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District in 2014,” says NEOEDD Executive Director Lisa Dawson. “We and a few other areas of Oregon make up the next phase of expansion. I like this platform because it brings more life to a project than a description in a spreadsheet, and it will give us a way to see what’s being proposed across the state.”

Community leaders, such as city and county staff, elected officials, regional coordinators, and nonprofit directors, are encouraged to register projects for which they seek funding by March 31, 2016. NEOEDD staff will then review each project proposal and provide free consultation about ways to make each proposal stronger and more compelling to potential funders.

In order to take advantage of the Agora platform and NEOEDD's technical assistance, project supporters need to create a profile for their organization here. Once logged in, users can create networks of other community leaders and organizations and view their projects. And users can, of course, upload their own projects, called “deals.”

Private capital providers, such as state and federal agencies, community foundations, and banks, and philanthropic sector individuals and organizations are also encouraged to register so they can view projects and consider them for funding.

A quick video overview of Agora (picture above) is available here. Testimonials from the beta phase are here. If you have questions about creating an Agora account or uploading a deal, contact Lisa, Sara, or Kristy at NEOEDD, 541-426-3598. The deadline to upload a deal for the 2016 CEDS update is March 31.

NEOEDD offers a free, six-week workshop series to help entrepreneurs and small-business owners build the basis for a successful enterprise. Register by Feb. 19 to reserve your seat in Baker City, La Grande, or Enterprise. But, don’t wait—class size is limited!

Lisa Dawson has taught the Business Foundations program for ten years, and her students—existing and aspiring entrepreneurs in Baker, Union and Wallowa counties—continue to give her rave reviews. This hands-on class covers the basics of running a successful business: overhead and inventory costs, goal-setting and sales projections, marketing, taxes and licensing, and other considerations, and brings it all together in a business plan.

Best of all, thanks to a Community Development Block Grant through Wallowa County, the classes are offered free of charge!

Workshops take place:
• Enterprise:  Mondays, Feb. 29, Mar. 7-28, Apr. 11; from 6 to 9 p.m. at Fishtrap, 400 E Grant St.
• Baker City:  Wednesdays, Mar. 2-30, Apr. 13; from 6 to 9 p.m. at Baker County Chamber of Commerce, 490 Campbell St.
• La Grande:  Thursdays, Mar. 3, 17, 24, 31, Apr. 14, 21; from 6 to 9 p.m. at EOU Small Business Development Center, 1607 Gekeler Lane, Room 147.

To register, call NEOEDD by Friday, Feb. 19 at 541-426-3598 or 800-645-9454, or email kristyathens@neoedd.org. Preference is made to people with low-to-moderate incomes; income verification will be required.

The workshops last six weeks, with the following topics:
• Gaining Perspective: View business concept from a high altitude in order to define vision and get a good look at the main topics to be addressed.
• Laying the Foundation: Define line of business and analyze financial essentials, from overhead costs to break-even points.
• Getting into the Flow: Cover the financial bases of cash flow, sales forecasting, and financial documents.
• Mission & Markets: Revisit mission, discuss market research, and identify competitors in order to align with target markets.
• Get the Word Out: Discuss creative marketing strategies and give peer feedback on marketing materials.
• Goodbye & Good Luck: Present business plans, share final pitches, and plan for next steps.

Here’s what former class participants have to say about the Foundations class:
• “[I appreciated Lisa’s] low-key and helpful attitude, and her desire to help each of us regardless of our business choices.” –Participant in Halfway
• “I hadn’t looked at break-even point, overhead costs, and marketing costs before this class.” –Participant in Enterprise
• “[I valued] being able to get a grasp on my business intentions and the necessary work involved to be successful.” –Participant in Baker City
• “I felt included as an important part of training from Day 1. Lisa was able to get us to engage in her workshop activities, even though we were all shy at first.” –Participant in La Grande
• “It was a fun and safe environment that helped me learn a ton!” –Participant in Enterprise
• “Lisa made the lessons and process enjoyable and in sections small enough not to be overwhelming.” –Participant in Enterprise
• “Lisa is a great facilitator—very knowledgeable, patient, gets the class thinking/talking/
participating/engaged.” –Participant in Baker City
• “Not once did I go home confused about something.” –Participant in Enterprise

February 2016 newsletter

Check out our February 2016 newsletter here! Back issues are available on the right-hand sidebar.