PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) – The Soul District Business Association is reaching out to entrepreneurs across the city with the goal of increasing the number of local Black-owned businesses.
Located in northeast Portland, the nonprofit primarily focuses on growing local businesses in this part of the city.
On Monday, the Soul District Business Association held a town hall meeting with Senator Ron Wyden, where he answered questions and heard the concerns of local business owners.
Soul Zone Business Association. Senators Wyden and Jeff Merkley received $750,000 in 2022 as part of federal funding to help ensure economic development in Oregon. The association’s executive director, John Washington, said this federal funding makes a world of difference.
“Over the past few years, we’ve launched more than 200 small Black businesses in our region,” Washington said. “We were fortunate to launch some of our agenda at last year’s fundraiser to bring it to the attention of some of the biggest names in politics.”
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Soul Zone Business Association. Has been working in the community since the 1970’s, providing guidance and financial assistance to local entrepreneurs who want to start and grow their businesses.
“Technical assistance, like helping them do their taxes, being able to go out and show them how to set up a business structure, all the basic stuff,” Washington said.
Santaj Jacque opened her own salon, All Things Beauty, in Northeast Portland about a year ago after nearly 2 years as a stylist. She also has her own line of hair products. Jacques said the Soul Zone Business Association is a big part of her and others’ success stories.
“It’s very much needed as a black female entrepreneur, let alone as a black entrepreneur,” Jacques said. “We need all the help we can get, so I really enjoy being a part of it.”
Other prospective business owners who received assistance from the Soul Zone Business Association said they planned to pay it off once their doors opened.
“With our space, we can help a lot of other people succeed in their businesses, as Soul District has done for us,” said Roderick Edwards, co-founder and owner of Café United. “Our cafés can be a place for people to connect in a way.”
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