Startup unemployment program gets grant

Startup unemployment program gets grant

Oregon's Self Employment Assistance Program, an unemployment program that helps businesses launch, has landed a $332,600 federal grant.

The program plans to offer counseling for entrepreneurs, who get six months of unemployment benefits while they launch startups.

The program has gained national attention for its track record in the economic downturn, with Portland mobile technology startup Urban Airship as its star success. Urban Airship now employs 120 in Portland, about four years after the company's founders enrolled in the Self Employment program and presented their initial business plan.

Self Employment Assistance has been around since 1995 in Oregon. Officials say the program gives entrepreneurs a chance to focus on their business and work to make it profitable. People enrolled in the program are exempt from looking for work, a key requirement of regular state benefits.