Sponsored by George Fox University
Home Linda Baker's Blog Kate Brown ramps up small business

Kate Brown ramps up small business

| Print |  Email
Linda Baker
Thursday, June 13, 2013

BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

06.13.13 Blog KTBBy her own accounting, Secretary of State Kate Brown is taking more risks her second term than the first.  In May, the Senate approved a B-Corp bill championed by her office that would allow companies to register under a moniker that reflects their commitment to social and environmental sustainability.

Brown is also pushing full steam ahead on a (controversial) proposal to automate voter registration and several small business bills aimed at addressing the state's business-friendly ranking.

I met with Brown earlier this week at Oui Presse in Portland’s Hawthorne District.

Here are a few highlights from our 40-minute conversation.

Benefit Companies

"People ask: why are we doing this? But why in Oregon wouldn’t you want to do this? We need a legal structure for companies to operate for public purpose in addition to profit. When I talk to students in MBA programs, social entrepreneurship is what they want to do. They want to save the world but make money doing it.

I don’t know that  [B-Corp legislation] will change the business climate in Oregon, but it is a great marketing and branding tool.

We did a couple of things differently from other states' B-Corp legislation. We allow LLCs to become benefit companies, so it's a little bit broader in that respect. But we are more restrictive in terms of shareholder restrictions. We wanted to be able to have the support of our Fortune 500 companies moving forward."

Office of Small Business Assistance

 "We built a portal for the state of Oregon to help businesses navigate regulations, and it became really clear there was a problem because there was no help line. Everybody says small businesses get in trouble with state government or regulations, but we had no help. So we looked at other models from other states. We just came out of committee this morning on the Office of Small Business Assistance.  It will give us ability to hire two [full time employees] to provide assistance and advocate for new entrepreneurs or the small business owner who wants to expand.  

Our office has no regulatory or enforcement authority; we are ministrial so we can be a real help. We are required to report back to the legislature about barriers for businesses. We keep hearing that Oregon is so difficult to do business in, but for the first time that information won’t be anecdotal."

House Bill 2643

"This was introduced by Caddy McKeown, legislator for the South Coast, requiring us to study the local fee situation and take a look at fees charged by local governments."

Business Friendly

"People have this perception we're not business friendly, but if you look at the national rankings we do ok. Last year, Oregon was ranked No. 14 on Forbes' ranking of business friendly states and the year before we were 9th."

Risk taking

"The second term is much more fun than the first term. There is a level of freedom and willingness to take risks. And honestly, I have a different staff.  My first term staff was a little more cautious.  Now I’m saying: guys this could be it. I may not ever be in elected office again. Let’s go for it. 

So we have the voter registeration proposal. I’m appalled Americans allow us to have an election system that is subpar in the world. Are you kidding? People have to wait in line to vote? In a lot of other countries you are registered by virtue of being a citizen. Even Iraq has an automatic voter registration system. 

In general, I'm looking at how we move, shake and have a paradigm shift while we’re here."

Linda Baker keeps tabs on CEOs and public policy issues.

 

More Articles

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...

EPA Standards: A breath of fresh air for the region

News
Thursday, June 12, 2014
EPABY ANDREA DURBIN | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Last week, the Obama administration took an important and welcomed step in the effort to protect the health and well-being of all Oregonians by limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants.


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...

OB Video: Dress for Success

News
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
DFSOBY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR

Dress for Success Oregon promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools.


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...

Creating a culture of compliance

Business tips
Thursday, June 19, 2014
DataBY MONICA ENAND | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Nine tips for building habits among employees to respond when needed.


Read more...

Who said we should sell in May?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, July 18, 2014
BullMarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”


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