January 21, 2022

Business Oregon TA Grant to SBLC

Julieanna Elegant Julieanna ElegantAfter a highly competitive evaluation process, Business Oregon has awarded Lewis & Clark’s Small Business Law Clinic (SBLC) a $104,000 grant from the 2021–23 Technical Assistance for Underrepresented Businesses Program. This program supports organizations that provide Technical Assistance (TA) to historically underrepresented and under-resourced businesses across the state as outlined in Governor Kate Brown’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan, a Roadmap to Racial Equity and Belonging.

Under the leadership of Executive Director Julieanna Elegant, the SBLC routinely provides legal services to low-income small businesses and entrepreneurs. Legal services are necessary throughout a business’ growth, particularly in the early stages. In Oregon, the majority of the businesses and employers are small businesses. Low-income small business owners rarely consult lawyers, but instead rely on Internet searches or decisions that other small business employers have made, such as how to pay an employee or what type of contracts are needed. These complicated issues are compounded for low-income microenterprise owners from communities of color and recent immigrants. This Business Oregon grant will help address this problem; it will allow the SBLC to continue and expand their successful Rural Entrepreneur Program, which brings legal transactional support to rural businesses throughout Oregon in developing strong legal foundations. Business Oregon funding will support legal service hours and additional outreach over the next 18 months, allowing the SBLC to provide Native and Latino/x clients in rural Oregon with culturally informed support by experienced Staff Attorneys. These activities are well aligned with several goals and objectives in Lewis & Clark’s Strategic Plan, Exploring for the Global Good.

With Business Oregon support, the SBLC will join a statewide network of TA providers who offer culturally competent, linguistically appropriate, geographically aligned resources to enhance and expand their efforts to support underrepresented and under-resourced small businesses. A recent Business Oregon Press Release further discusses this program and provides a list of new TA providers, including the Small Business Legal Clinic.

January 2022