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Success Stories

Music Together of Portland Co-Directors Mary Beth Camp (left front) and Bonnie Singer at the microphone performing with their team members to a sellout audience during their annual scholarship program benefit concert at the Alberta Rose Theater.

Making Music Together and Building Community in Oregon

With a mutual passion for helping families discover the joy of making music together, Bonnie Singer and Mary Beth Camp teamed up to open Music Together® of Portland in 1998. Part of a worldwide network, Music Together is an early child development program for children from infant through age five that emphasizes families making music together to stimulate early learning and mobility. Starting with 23 families at one location, Music Together of Portland has grown to 1,300 families singing and dancing together in seven locations throughout the Portland metro area, making it one of the largest Music Together centers in the world.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit... Read More

Turning Up the Heat on Oregon’s Food Scene

When Nikki Guerrero moved to Portland from Phoenix, Arizona to pursue a career in commercial photography in 1999, Mexican cuisine had not yet made a significant impact on Oregon’s food scene. Guerrero grew up making salsa and tortillas with her grandmother from Mexico and was always asked to bring the salsa to social gatherings. One day, a friend from Arizona who had just purchased a local produce and grocery store in North Portland, asked Guerrero if she could supply fresh salsa from locally sourced ingredients for the store. After convincing a neighboring bar to let her use their kitchen before opening, Guerrero was able to put Hot Mama Salsa on her friend’s shelf for the first time in 2008. Demand quickly grew for Guerrero’s traditional salsa and she knew she could use some help managing her growing business.


Guerrero turned to the Portland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Portland... Read More


Since Trackers Earth’s founding in 2004, owner Molly Deis wanted to create innovative education and outdoor programs for people of all ages focusing on building a connection to the land. The company’s first summer had 40 students and three weeks of camp with just a handful of employees.  With dwindling wild spaces in the Portland Metro area, Deis knew that in order to preserve this precious resource  for future students; she had to expand the business’s footprint beyond the classroom.


When a rare opportunity to purchase two 80 acre parcels of wilderness land in Sandy, Oregon came up, Deis knew she needed additional capital to bring her vision for Trackers Earth’s future to life. With the help of SBA Funding Programs, Molly was able to get the capital needed to purchase and improve the company’s spaces in Portland and Sandy.


Today, Trackers Earth serves more than 20,000 students, youth and adults, offering day camps,... Read More

Keeping Oregon on Its Feet One Step at a Time

As a single parent working as a community organizer, Julie Derrick realized the demanding work environment prevented her from being the parent she wanted to be. Derrick took on a new job working for a shoe repair shop and discovered a trade that truly spoke to her. After years of mastering her craft under the tutelage of master cobblers, the repair shop she was working for had to lay off its entire staff because of the Great Recession in 2008. Derrick learned that repair businesses can do well during recessionary times and decided to opened JD’s Shoe Repair in 2009 in northeast Portland. After seven years in the same location, Derrick was able to purchase a new location in 2017 but knew she could use some help in expanding her business skills in order to take her shop to the next level.


In 2018, that help came when Derrick learned about the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative, a six-month “mini-MBA”... Read More