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A message from our Executive Director (May 2023)

The Key To Growing Oregon’s Economy Is Finding And Growing Business Owned By People Of Color

The Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity (COBID) is where the public and private sector turn to find businesses of color for contracting opportunities in Oregon. The problem with this system is that the process to become certified is so challenging that many business owners of color, especially Black business owners, struggle to complete the process or simply choose not to pursue COBID certification. As a result, the COBID database is not representative of businesses of color that are licensed to operate in Oregon.

Every business that wants to operate in the state of Oregon must apply for a business license and renew the license annually through the Secretary of State’s Office. While it is possible to view all businesses that are licensed to operate in Oregon through the Secretary of State website portal, there is no way to identify which businesses are owned by people of color.

There are many businesses owned by people of color that are licensed to do business in Oregon, but it is difficult to find out who owns the businesses and where they are located. This makes it challenging for private sector businesses to find businesses of color for contracting opportunities. It also makes it difficult for organizations that can help businesses get COBID certification, identify and locate businesses owned by people of color to help them get certified. Businesses owned by people of color are not getting enough contracting opportunities in the private and public sector because of this issue and legislative proposal can help remedy this problem.

A new approach to help Oregon do a better job in helping create opportunity for businesses owned by people of color, is legislation that would allow every business that applies for or renews a business license, to identify the ethnicity of the business owner or principal of any corporation legally operating in state of Oregon on the business license application. In addition, the Secretary of State website portal should be updated to allow the non-profit organizations that serve businesses owned by people of color to request a list of businesses using the race or ethnicity of the business owner as a filter.

2022 marked the 20th year for Annual Leadership Summit, a forum that draws business, community, and elected leaders from across the state to address policy issues critical to Oregon’s economy and life.

In preparation for the event, Oregon Business prepared a preliminary 10-point policy agenda with an overarching vision of Shared Prosperity, that will present opportunities for action in 2023 and beyond. Point number 9 of the policy is, “Economic Development: Create an economic development infrastructure that supports business expansion statewide.”

The preamble of Policy Point 9 states, “It’s time to rethink how we organize for economic development. Effective economic development efforts bring community leaders together to provide responsive services and to make the case for doing

business here. Currently, Oregon’s public and private efforts are well-meaning, but scattered and misaligned. As a result, Oregon is missing opportunities to create, recruit and grow businesses.”

One of the 3 recommendations in this section is to, “Create a state-level forum to identify and address the specific challenges of minority and women owned businesses.”

To be successful with this recommendation, it is important for the state to be able to identify the individual businesses that are owned by people of color and where their businesses are physically located. This is the best way to identify and address specific challenges of businesses owned by people of color.

State Representative Janelle Bynum State Representative Travis Nelson, introduced Oregon House Bill 3272 which permits the Secretary of State to collect and share and communicate with approved organizations information about ethnicity, domicile and gender, veteran status and street address or electronic mail address of owner or principal of large business that applies for or renews license, permit or registration in Oregon. The bill requires local agencies and state agencies to collect and report information about ethnicity, domicile and veteran status of owner or principal of large business.

This legislation calls for the establishment of a Business Registration Information Center within the Office of the Secretary of State to collect culturally specific data from existing and new registrants and share the information with community-based organizations that foster economic development and engage in substantive efforts to increase the number of minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses and businesses that veterans own. The data will also make it easier to find these kinds of businesses that already exist so that they can receive services to help them grow and expand.

Oregon House Bill 3272 is currently in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. It is important that this legislation be passed out of this committee and referred to the Oregon House and Senate for full approval.

If this legislation passes both Chambers and is signed by the Governor, it will help us truly understand the diverse make up of businesses in Oregon, make it easier for culturally specific business to find businesses of color and help grow and expand. This in turn will not only improve the economic condition of communities of color but will also improve the economic condition of the entire state of Oregon.

I encourage our elected officials to pass this legislation so that all businesses can be successful and help grow Oregon’s economy.

The BBAO Launches Foodie Passport to Support BIPOC Restaurants in the Portland Region

Portland, Ore.: As part of its partnership with DoorDash’s Accelerator for Local Restaurants, the Black Business Association of Oregon is creating and releasing a Portland Metropolitan Foodie Passport Program to encourage people to visit BIPOC restaurants in the Portland region by offering discounts on food. Participants will be entered in a drawing to win a $500, $300, or $200 gift card at the completion of the program. 

Participants in the program are comprised of over 50% women and/or BIPOC-owned restaurants including: AkadiPDX, Bamboo House, DB Dessert Company, Pollo Bravo, Downtown Freddie Brown Deli, Fat Cupcake, Jelana’s Bakeshop, Sunee Thai and Lao Kitchen, Le Bontemps Café + Catering, Love Belizean, Pinky’s Pizza, Thai Yummy Foods, The Joynt Juice Bar, Trapkitchen, Unicorn Bake Shop, Viking Soul Food, The Lodge Bar + Grill, and Xōcotl.   

“DoorDash is proud to have partnered with the Black Business Association of Oregon as part of our work to empower local restaurateurs,” said Kierra Phifer, DoorDash’s Northwest Public Engagement Manager. “We’re excited to see participants of the Portland cohort of our Accelerator for Local Restaurants leverage the network they built with their cohort. In addition to the training, grants, and networking opportunities each restaurant owner received, the Foodie Passport Program is another way that participation in this cohort helps restaurants share their cuisine with new customers.” 

The Foodie Passport program is designed to take the passport holder on a journey to experience some of the best food and drink establishments in the Portland Metropolitan Area. During the journey, the holder will enjoy a discount at the participating bakeries, bars, and restaurants from the participants who graduated from the Accelerator Program in December 2022.    

“It was indeed a pleasure to work with DoorDash on the Portland Accelerator Program. The grant dollars that were given to the restaurants not only helped them recover from the pandemic but also helped them stay in business,” says Lance Randall, Executive Director of the Black Business Association of Oregon. “The Foodie Passport Program is a way to encourage food lovers from across the region to visit the wonderful restaurants that participated in the program to help them continue to thrive.”  

Present the Passport to a server to receive a 10% discount on the purchase, then meet the owner or manager of the establishment and have them stamp your Passport. At the end of the Foodie journey of visiting all 20 establishments, turn in the Passport to the last establishment visited and become eligible to receive up to $500 worth of gift cards from the participating establishments of their choice. The Passport expires on December 31, 2023. The drawing for the gift cards will take place on January 8, 2024. 

On Monday, April 24, graduates from the DoorDash Accelerator Program and the BBAO met for fellowship and business updates and to receive their Foodie Passport booklets and stamps to kick off this campaign. “I am excited to be working with BBAO and Black-owned restaurants to help each other out,” says Tam Cao, co-owner of Bamboo House and DoorDash Accelerator Program participant.” I see how food and culture bring everybody together, and I look forward to ways we (restauranteurs) can collaborate.”    

About DoorDash: DoorDash (NYSE: DASH) is a technology company that connects consumers with their favorite local businesses in more than 25 countries across the globe. Founded in 2013, DoorDash builds products and services to help businesses innovate, grow, and reach more customers. DoorDash is building infrastructure for local commerce, enabling merchants to thrive in the convenience economy, giving consumers access to more of their communities, and providing work that empowers. With DoorDash, there is a neighborhood of good in every order. 

About Black Business Association of Oregon: The Black Business Association of Oregon (BBAO) is an economic development organization striving to achieve economic equity that is sustainable and lasting for Black-owned businesses in Oregon. For more information, visit  


Message from the Executive Director- April 2023

It Takes Everyone to Bring Sustainable Equity to Oregon 

On March 9, 2022, I had the opportunity to present the First Annual State of Oregon’s Black Economy. The event was a part of the Portland Business Alliance’s “Breakfast Forums” series sponsored by Alaska Airlines, the Portland Tribune, and U.S. Bank. The purpose of my address was to share the work the Black Business Association of Oregon has done to fulfill the objectives of the Black Economic Prosperity Agenda (BEPA), which are: 

  1. Develop a Regional Black Economic Dashboard 
  2. Develop a Regional Strategic Plan for Black Economic Prosperity 
  3. Establish a New Role and Potential Organization to do the work, including a Regional Center for Black Economic Advancement 

The forum also featured a panel of speakers discussing the importance of the BEPA and the BBAO, why equity is necessary, and how uplifting Black-owned businesses and Black residents is integral to Oregon’s overall economy. 

Leading up to my presentation, I took the opportunity to scan the room. I was elated to see the diverse audience, which consisted of people from the government, the private sector, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, religious organizations, and other ethnic communities. Seeing so many people representing the different factions of our society in attendance gave me hope that the future for Black businesses and residents in Oregon can be brighter than ever. 

Bringing true equity to Black Oregonians requires a team effort, and to be an effective team player, everyone must have a clear understanding of sustainable equity. To provide clarity, it is essential to dissect and understand the meaning of “equity” and “sustainable” as they relate to Black economic prosperity. 

The simple definition of “equity” is everyone having what they need to live a comfortable and prosperous life. However, the word is also used to acknowledge that for Black Oregonians, fairness and justice were not available to us from the start of our tenure in this state, and it is time to solve that conundrum. The simple definition of “sustainable” is something long-term that will stay in place to achieve and maintain a desired result. 

Therefore, sustainable equity is the acknowledgment and acceptance by everyone in Oregon that Black businesses and Black residents have been denied equity for far too long, and it is going to take a long-term plan not just to bring about equity but to maintain an improved level of equity for the future generations of Black Oregonians. 

As we work to bring equity that is sustainable to Black Oregonians, I am optimistic that the team that is evolving will acknowledge that the time is right to commit themselves to a long-term agenda that is long overdue. While the BEPA aims to improve the economic status of Oregon’s Black population, it will take all of us to bring the plan to fruition and maintain it going forward. 

Message From the Executive Director

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was murdered near the intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota, by Derek Chauvin, a 44-year-old white police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department. Floyd’s murder led to worldwide protests of police brutality, police racism, and lack of police accountability. This event also incited a movement to bring about economic justice for Black businesses that have not been afforded ample opportunities to grow and prosper in the state of Oregon.

On June 9, 2020, Black members, and past Chairs of the Portland Business Alliance issued a call-to-action for economic justice for all Black Oregonians. The members were Sam Brooks, Janet Campbell, Andrew Colas, Alando Simpson, and Charles Wilhoite.

These change agents determined that the George Floyd murder was a clear representation of an “Invisible Knee” that has been pressed on the necks of Black Americans as an unobservable force that has prevented Black families from building, growing, and sustaining generational wealth within the state of Oregon. They insisted that if we are to achieve justice that is lasting, and durable, we must include an unapologetic Black economic resilience agenda for our region.

The very next day, June 10, 2020, the development of the Black Economic Prosperity Agenda (BEPA) began when members of the Portland Business Alliance (PBA), the largest area chamber of commerce in Oregon, came together to unite on the economic agenda that would create an inclusive economic economy for all Oregonians. In addition, a partnership agreement was reached with the National Association of Minority Contractors – Oregon Chapter (NAMC) to be the organizational steward to ensure anonymity and mission alignment.

The goals of the BEPA are:

A Regional Dashboard of Black Prosperity

The dashboard will measure key metrics that track the economic state of Black residents in the region. The dashboard will also analyze trends and produce public reports on the progress of the BEPA.

A Strategic Plan for Black Economic Prosperity

The strategic plan will use key metrics from the dashboard to develop action items to increase economic prosperity for Black business and residents in Oregon.

A Regional Center for Black Advancement

The regional center will be a facility that provides all of the necessary space and tools Black businesses, and residents need to grow and maintain intergenerational wealth. The center will have incubator space for new businesses, office space for other Black led organizations, space for networking and educational events, mentors, technical assistance experts and a community development financial institution (CDFI).

The Black Business Association of Oregon (BBAO) is an economic development organization that strives to achieve economic equity that is sustainable and lasting in the state of Oregon. It was established to fulfill the goals of the BEPA.

I am honored to serve as the initial leader to build this much needed organization that will bring partnership, progress, and prosperity to Black Americans in Oregon.


Lance Randall Executive Director

BBAO + Community Partners Treat Students to Blazers vs. Lakers Game

Last month, the BBAO, the University of Oregon, the UO Black Alumni Network, and the Portland Trailblazers invited 40 of UO’s Black Cultural Center students to Portland for food, fun, fellowship. . .and the game.

The short programming consisted of catered food, Lance (Executive Director) welcoming the students and giving them a quick background of BBAO, and services, offering support on how to start their careers in Portland, and why Portland is a place where Black students can thrive. Wrapping the event up, Sarah Kutten (UO) spoke briefly about the Portland Internship Experience, followed by remarks from the UO Black Alumni Network President, Ericka Warren.

With full stomachs and trash-talking to some of the brave students (and community members) who wore Laker jerseys, a Blazer staff member arrived to lead the group down to their seats just before the game began. All in all, this event was a great success!

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