SOREDI’s Annual meeting underway at Inn at Commons.
Bill Thorndike, SOREDI Board President, introducing an array of dignitaries Matt Stephenson, Chief Operations Officer at Rogue Credit Union will become the board president.
In the past year, SOREDI has loaned $1 million to nine businesses to fund expansion.
SOREDI has pushed to extend enterprise zones in Jackson County, hoping to add Gold Hill, Phoenix and new property in Central Point.
Any eligible business in the area should have access, Fox said.
Mike Koch of AmericanWest Bank: Our economy depends on our ability to create jobs. Companies featured during the meeting are often start-ups.
SOREDI Executive Director Ron Fox: In the past year, SOREDI has assisted nine companies, receiving tax incentives to invest $63 million in capital improvements, creating 400 jobs.
PROSPER AWARDS: Four business and inspiration award.
Ingenuity Award: Highway Products in White City, started in 1980 as a trucking company.
Tenacity Award: MasterBrand Cabinets has grown from 300 to 450 employees in Grants Pass in the past year.
Collaboration Award: Quantum Innovations, a participant in Southern Oregon High Performance Enterprise Consortium leader from Central Point.
Prosperity Award: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a long-time non-profit that has expanded beyond Ashland and investing with a facility in Talent.
Inspiration Award: Dean Wendle, helped found SOREDI in 1987 and was an early board president.
National marketing effort, Southern Oregon Edge is unveiled.
Appeal made to share personal stories about conducting business in Southern Oregon.
Speakers: Brad Niva, Rogue Wilderness Adventures, Grants Pass.
In the U.S., 98% of companies have fewer than 20 employees. Reworked business plan this past year.
“We were on the brink of crash and burn.” Then Niva met with SOREDI and made advancements.
How I got Laura Bush to take a trip: “You Answered the phone.”
Niva got into an additional business, Wine Hopper in 2010 and more recently acquired a charter transportation service with a 40-passenger bus.
Craig Bramscher of Brammo: I’ve given a lot of presentations, tired of talking how we started. Talked to a businessman in China. Starting 20-person businesses. This isn’t all about work, but work is the life blood that makes everything else go around. 10 reasons Brammo is in Southern Oregon — Great people, great weather, great cost of living, great support from government, great place to start and raise a family, community support for our business, great roads for our motorcycles, cost effective facilities, overall cost of doing business. His presentation was capped by a series of of still photos of the region’s lifestyle.
So far, Bramscher has raised $80 million for the business and attempting to raise $30 million more.
Brfamscher: As Brammo hits its stride I want to figure out how to bring in more business to Southern Oregon.
Looking to bring $35 million through an EB-5 Foreign Investment center.
Jeff Blum, Procare Software: Company’s 50 employees are skilled labor earning an average salary of more than $75,000. Biggest density of 25,000 users are from outside Oregon, bringing new money into Jackson County. Had no trouble finding people for company’s needs.
Looking for good people, Blum said, don’t necessarily need the degree.
Jay Cross of Webster Global Site Selectors suggests any win in the region is a win for the region.
Let the community sell itself, let small business leaders answer the questions. Build the brand and the region.
“You can’t underestimate the importance of people going to your website; the more likely you will be able to talk with them directly.”
Infrastructure and cost structure are important.
Every project is important, Cross said, the one you are working on is the most important.