Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything – George Bernard Shaw
Built Oregon was officially launched two years ago this week.
The idea, concept, and passion behind the project was born through a shared belief amongst the founders that a simple concept — telling the stories of founders — could change the conversation for businesses and entrepreneurs throughout Oregon.
Over the past two years, we’ve managed to tell 85 stories, both written and spoken. What’s more, we’ve gathered people together through numerous events to hear those stories firsthand. Those events — those face-to-face moments of community building — have enabled us to actively engage in lively and wide-ranging talks about cross industry and regional entrepreneurship activity, explore both rural and urban economic development challenges and opportunities, highlight the need to have underrepresented communities participate and have a voice in the conversations, and revealed the unique collaborative elements that make up the Oregon entrepreneurial DNA.
All of these conversations, more than anything, have reinforced our shared desire to continue to follow the original Built Oregon mission around storytelling. But simply continuing isn’t enough. We are driven to do more. We believe we have a unique opportunity build upon this foundation to have an even greater impact for Oregon entrepreneurship.
To reflect our dedication to this mission and our continued willingness to champion it, Built Oregon is now a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
It’s a decision that aligns well with the mission focused impact we want to have — a mission that will always follow a guiding star pointing towards supporting cross industry and regional entrepreneurship and collaborating with other organizations and entities to create a cohesive narrative and vision of Oregon.
Built Oregon was launched through our community on Kickstarter and helped via an investment by Oregon Story Board. It was that initial support and the ongoing support of partners like the Oregon SBDC, Anvil Media, and others that have enabled us to keep telling the stories.
But the stories are just the beginning. We’ve happily donated hundreds of hours of our time to discussions around statewide economic development, broad based access to capital, innovation that is inclusive, and ways to engage underrepresented communities.
These discussions illuminated and forged Built Oregon’s path forward.
It’s a path that allows us to play a critical role as a conduit for the opportunities and challenges throughout the state, while continuing to raise awareness around what is happening in every community.
It is a path that creates more opportunities to collaborate with partner organizations to catalyze the next wave of entrepreneurs, while continuing to grow the established brands and those companies that are already off to the races.
It’s a path that will take into account our mission to add value to all voices and ideas.
As founders, we strongly believe that our evolution to an nonprofit is one that will allow us to reach our long term vision for Built Oregon. But more importantly, it crystallizes how we can have the most positive impact around the state.
Do we have big ideas? You bet. Will our path forward be easy? Nope.
But we have a firm belief in our mission, a dedication to this state and commitment to the people who get up every morning to chase their entrepreneurial dreams or build up the communities where they reside.
We look forward to continuing this journey with you.
Mitch, Terry, and Rick