Sponsored by George Fox University
Home Back Issues November 2008 County payments: a VC chance?

County payments: a VC chance?

| Print |  Email
Archives - November 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008

STATEWIDE  If Oregon’s counties were start-up companies, they would be freaks. In the midst of economic crisis, the state’s rural governments scored $800 million in what could be described as VC funding — a massive cash infusion in the form of federal timber payments that will keep them afloat for another four years. The money came in the nick of time; some counties were literally facing bankruptcy.

But like any check from an angel investor or VC firm, the money for the counties is finite. Over the next four years the county timber payments will decrease dramatically each annum. And then Oregon’s rural communities will be back to square one.

So what can Oregon’s counties learn from their private counterparts? Some of the funding is earmarked for basics such as roads and schools, but Carolynn Duncan, a Portland- and Seattle-based start-up consultant, says counties need to have an investment mindset with discretionary funds.

“Don’t spend a dime until you bring in someone who knows what the hell they’re doing with regional economic development — and at the same time, will operate as a venture capitalist would, to generate a return on the $800 million investment by creating self-sustainable new economies,” she says.

Like any startup company, rural counties should be identifying their competitive advantages and then using those funds to capitalize on that, says Eric Rosenfeld, with Portland’s Capybara Ventures and the Oregon Angel Fund. “This is a gift from Washington. Counties can use it to identify the role they want to play in their region,” he says. “Because at some point they have to become self-supporting economies.”

And there’s the rub: self-supporting. The previous round of payments ended without the majority of counties ever reaching, to continue the metaphor, profitability. Those governments will never be able to act exactly like businesses. But like their counterparts in the private sector, someday they’re going to have to prove their fiscal sustainability. Four years isn’t a lot of time. But for a startup rich with VC dough, it’s an empty slate waiting to be filled with innovation and plans for the future.      

ABRAHAM HYATT


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Powerlist: Credit Unions

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation about credit unions with the CEOs of Advantis Credit Union and OSU Federal Credit Union, followed by June's Powerlist.


Read more...

13 West Coast seafood species now 'sustainable'

News
Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Fishing OrBiz Fishing 0357 ADOBErgbCiting the transition to catch shares management as a key to rebuilding stocks and reducing bycatch, 13 species caught by the West Coast trawl fishery today earned designation from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as sustainable.


Read more...

Oversight? Or gaming the system?

News
Monday, July 14, 2014
AmazonBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.


Read more...

Detox fashion

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Remember mood rings? A team of scientists at Oregon State University has designed what might be considered a 21st-century analog of the ’70s jewelry fad: a bracelet that reveals one’s exposure to pollutants.


Read more...

Interview: Dr. Mark Goulston

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 10, 2014
JustListenBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.


Read more...

The business of running a food cart

News
Thursday, June 05, 2014
OBM1BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

What does it take to launch and run one of these mobile food businesses?  


Read more...

Moving the needle

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014

I was in a rut. A few months ago, I was at my desk trying to come up with cover story ideas for our June “green” issue.  But I was stuck on a concept that is a bit too tried and true in the magazine business.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS