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Portland Employment Service Named 2020 SBA Oregon Family-Owned Small Business of the Year

Owner Joanne Bell of BeginRight Employment Services Takes Top Honors, Shares Business Journey Before and Through Coronavirus Outbreak
Release Date: 
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2020 Oregon Family-Owned Small Business of the Year is BeginRight Employment Services founded by Owner/CEO Joanne Bell.

Founded in 1986, BeginRight Employment Services provides staffing, recruiting and human resource services to its clients in the light industrial, warehouse, clerical, food manufacturing, and trade industries.

What started in a basement when the business first opened its door has grown into five locations in Portland, Tigard, Milwaukie, Redmond, and Vancouver, WA employing 23 full-time employees and supporting more than 500 job positions for its clients. Her son, Tyson Bell, joined the company in 2003 after graduating from Oregon State University taking over sales and marketing operations.  Today, Tyson is president of BeginRight working in the company his mother founded 34 years ago.

The small business awards program is part of National Small Business Week, which is typically held during the first week of May every year since 1963. National Small Business Week award announcements and celebrations were postponed this year due to the Coronavirus outbreak. National Small Business Week is Sept. 20-26, 2020 during which SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza will highlight it with a three-day national virtual event.

“National Small Business Week is a time to recognize the impact entrepreneurs and small businesses have on our economy and in our local communities,” SBA Pacific Northwest Regional Administrator Jeremy Field said. “Like many things in 2020, the journeys of this year’s award winners took a turn most didn’t anticipate. However, themes of ingenuity and tenacity remain the same as small business owners continue to inspire us in new and meaningful ways.”

The SBA Portland District Family-Owned Small Business of the Year honors a family-owned and operated business which has been passed on from one generation to the next. The owner must also serve as a majority owner and operator or bear principal responsibility for operating a small business with at least a 15-year track record.  Winners must also show growth in net worth and business expansion, increase in jobs and sales, innovativeness of products or services, response to adversity and contributions to community-oriented projects.

“National Small Business week takes on a special meaning this year as we celebrate the resilience small businesses continue to demonstrate as they pivot and recover toward a stronger economy,” said SBA Portland District Director Martin Golden.  “Entrepreneurs like Joanne and her son Tyson represent the thousands of small business owners who dedicate themselves every day to building a better life for their families, employees and are a source of strength for their communities.”

With an ever-growing demand for new employees in various local industries, BeginRight needed a strong presence where it could be the most responsive to the needs of their community. To make a difference in the communities it serves, the company realized it needed to help local businesses grow while simultaneously giving people hope to find their next career. This required both expertise and capital to make it a reality.

With the help of  SBA Funding Programs, the company was able access the capital needed  to purchase and remodel several of its locations where it could effectively outreach to rural and underserved communities.

When the realities of the Coronavirus pandemic emerged, BeginRight implemented risked mitigation measures to keep its staff and clients safe. With the help of the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), BeginRight was able to keep its doors open and all its staff employed. The company attributes its successful pivot from the effects of the pandemic to its long-term business relationships.

“We were always communicating with our clients asking what are their needs? Where are they at? Do they need masks?”  said Tyson Bell. “The relationship we have with our clients is that their success is our success.”

“What I love most about working at BeginRight is that every day you can make a difference in somebody’s life,” said Joanne Bell. “Whether it’s the person who comes in looking for a job or the client, you can say at night that you made a difference in someone’s life. That’s what I love about it – the people.”

Other SBA local awards include Oregon Small Business Person of the Year, Director’s Award for Excellence, Nano Business of the Year and Small Business Champion.

For more information about National Small Business Week, visit



About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit The Portland District serves Oregon and southwest Washington with its office location in Portland.