January 25, 2022

Native, Latino/x entrepreneurs in rural Oregon receive clinic support

Business Oregon awarded Lewis & Clark Law School’s Small Business Law Clinic (SBLC) a $104,000 grant allowing the SBLC to provide Native and Latino/x clients in rural Oregon with  legal transactional support.

After a highly competitive evaluation process, Business Oregon awarded Lewis & Clark Law School’s Small Business Law Clinic (SBLC) a $104,000 grant from the 2021–23 Technical Assistance for Underrepresented Businesses Program. The grant 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.

The SBLC routinely provides legal services to low-income small businesses and entrepreneurs, 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.

“The Business Oregon grant enables the SBLC to continue and expand our successful Rural Entrepreneur Program, which provides legal transactional support to rural businesses throughout Oregon,” said SBLC executive director Julianna Elegant. “The grant supports additional legal service hours and outreach over the next 18 months, allowing the SBLC to continue to support Native and Latino/x clients in rural Oregon with culturally informed support by experienced staff attorneys.”

With Business Oregon support, the SBLC joins 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  provides more information along and with a list of new TA providers, including the Small Business Legal Clinic.