|The divide||| Print ||
|Articles - July/August 2012|
Page 5 of 5
For his part, Langeler says he recently was appointed to the Oregon Growth Board, a new umbrella group designed to coordinate activity at the state level to promote business growth and development. The urban innovation group “should absolutely have a place at the table,” he says.
Six months after the roundtable was first proposed, funding challenges have already led a number of community leaders to suggest Green define his objectives more clearly and consider separating out the education and entrepreneurship aspects of the project to better target and attract potential donors and participants, including foundations, universities and investors.
The roundtable “is very novel and worthy of pursuit,” says Jaymes Winters, CEO of Blue Leopard Capital, Oregon’s first minority-owned private-equity fund. “But it’s a tough row to hoe if you’re expecting the investment community to invest in something that is a matter of public policy or a think tank.”
Green says he is open to different options. “The mission is so important, we cannot allow the lack of funding to undermine or restrict our progress,” he says. “Between the time we started and now, we have exploded. We are drinking from a fire hose of opportunity across the nation.”
So back in Medford, where seeing another black person “is an unusual sighting,” he is going about the business of connecting the disconnected, working with Womack and Holifield on a second Minority Gathering of Angels event this fall, this time in Silicon Valley, and hooking up Montgomery to a FundingPost.com pitching event. And when New York-based television production company Al Roker Entertainment was looking for an African-American entrepreneur and family guy to feature, Green put them in touch with Ben Berry, CEO of AirShip Technologies Group, a Lake Oswego startup developing drones for the commercial market.
Green does have a long-term plan in mind for the roundtable, one that includes a clear organizational structure — a governing board and three working groups — and a national launch party, the National Urban Innovation Conference and STEM Expo that would be held in Portland and feature thought leaders from all over the country, including the White House, Silicon Valley and Silicon Forest.
Eventually the urban innovation roundtable pilot would be replicated in cities across the country, resulting in a nation transformed. “We see an innovation nation connecting an entire community: investors, innovators, all the way down to high schools,” Green says.
If that vision comes true, America21 will be an Oregon story for the ages, about an African-American guy in Medford, a white city and the 21st-century black tech revolution.
Correction: This article has been revised to reflect the following correction. Between 2002 and 2007, 1.9 million black-owned businesses produced less than one percent of the gross domestic product and 1.8 million were sole proprietors. In the original article, those figures were reversed.
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Oregon Business magazine's 5th annual
100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
From Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute: OTRADI today announced its plans to open and operate a 13,000 square-foot multi-tenant bioscience complex in the Willamette Wharf building at 4640 SW Macadam Avenue. Slated to be complete in spring 2013, the OTRADI Bioscience Incubator (OBI) will house up to six companies.
MEDIAmerica, publisher of Oregon Business and Oregon Home magazines, announces a new retail website: HalfOffOregon.com. The website offers lodging, dining, recreation and many other items at half off their regular cost.
As you probably know by now, The Vernon Company is a national leader in the promotional products industry with annual sales of over $60 million. We are a family owned business, led by the fourth generation of the Vernon family.