Small Biz Training

Business Basics Series

The Soul District Business Association Business Basics Series is an ongoing business navigation and education series designed to help small business owners with the challenges of operating successful and profitable businesses. The Business Basic Series is sponsored by the Soul District Business Association, Sussman Shank LLP and is produced by Flossin Media.

Learn more here.

Get COVID Clarity.

The Soul District Business Association COVID Clarity Series

If you missed episode one of the ongoing COVID Clarity series on business navigation during the pandemic, you have another opportunity to tune in and catch the rebroadcast of “The Truth About the State Foreclosure Moratorium & Evictions Moratorium”. Presented by award-winning attorney Bryson Davis of Sussman Shank, this 45-minute zoom stream covers the current status of Multnomah County, State and Federal eviction moratoriums as they relate to businesses in Portland and throughout Oregon.

Learn more here.


Overview of Soul District Business Association: Founded in 1977, The Soul District Business Association (SDBA, formerly known as North/Northeast Business Association, or NNEBA) is one of the largest and most diverse business districts in the city. SDBA has devoted 40 years of service, advocating for economic opportunities for our business district with emphasis upon client engagement with historically marginalized/ Black entrepreneurs and business owners. Notable founders of our organization include the late Neil Kelly, founder of the prestigious remodeling company Neil Kelly, Sam Brooks, an award-winning Black entrepreneur and founder of theOregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (OAME), plus a host of predominantly Black business stakeholders from inner-North and Northeast Portland. Together they sought to create a culture of unity and equity with regards to economic opportunities and outcomes for all businesses within the N/NE boundaries. They initiated networking events, business training sessions and gathered to navigate City and State governing systems in order to create better outcomes for the Soul District business community.

As City planners missed opportunities to invest in culturally responsive business district leadership, while green lighting development decisions that led to the severe displacement of thousands of Black businesses and residents, the SDBA has maintained a presence. The Soul District remained at the table as advocates for our community, so much so, that in 2010, in response to the district’s rapid development, the SBDA experienced resurgence in business engagement, with the bulk of that engagement coming from Black businesses. With the help of community impact partners, SDBA began to once again hold their historic “Red Beans & Rice Networking events”, a forum where experts and professionals were brought in to present business impacting subject matters such as zoning, financing, etc. We initiated advertising and marketing campaigns for the district such as the MLK Dream Run event in order to create opportunities for businesses to share in a collective promotion while learning how to create marketing messaging for their businesses, meet key deadlines for inclusion and build relationships with their business cohorts. We ignited training programs like the Soul Fellows Youth Entrepreneur Career Training program (YECT) that engaged real time professionals in their field of expertise, in advising, mentoring and training the next generation of entrepreneurs. This created a culture of collaboration to break down the barriers of business isolation as more entrepreneurs, many who are Black, began to once again see themselves as capable, significant and influential.

Program Overview: This Is B.I.G. —- Business Impact Group (BIG) was founded by the SDBA and our community partners to deliver culturally specific technical assistance services that yield multigenerational wealth creation opportunities and outcomes for businesses, with a particular emphasis on minority/Black businesses, who operate or who want to return and operate businesses within the Soul District geographical boundaries (inner N/NE). Over the last 10 years, N/NE Portland has grown exponentially, experiencing robust and vibrant economic gains as a byproduct of rapid gentrification and population expansion.  However, not everyone within its geographical boundaries are benefitting equally from the boon of economic progress.

Grave socioeconomic disparities continue to persist for communities of color within these boundaries. The NNECDI 2017 action plan outlined a severe 32% decline in Black population and 31% decline in income, while white population and income continues to steadily rise in N/NE Portland. Our approach to achieving success will center on delivering technical assistance through the following focuses.  1) Navigating The System-equipping business owners with the skills necessary to successfully navigate the compliance systems required to effectively operate and maximize economic benefits. 2) Effective Business Networking-Training job seekers and business owners skills that teach them how getting together with focus can get them ahead. 3) Too Legit (and Legal) To Quit – increase the sophistication of business owners with regard to important legal practices and concepts that significantly impact the strength of their businesses. 4) Business Checkup – A reality check to help businesses assess, analyze and interpret the fundamental factors that impact healthy business outcomes  5) Building Business Confidence- Using psychological training methodologies to support our clients in developing essential skills necessary to operate with the essential confidence techniques needed to sell products/services, lead staff, connect with customers/collaborators, break negative cultural barriers and stereotypes and feel more capable, significant and influential among their business peers. Training will be held throughout the year in 5-6 small group training events and monthly one on one counseling.