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If funded, the project proposeed in the grant application would benefit local business owners

The city of Estacada is in the running for a grant that, if received, would create a series of opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

Business Oregon's Rural Opportunity Initiative Grant focuses on projects that support entrepreneurship in rural communities. Estacada's proposal, one of 18 submissions that made it to the final round of the application process, includes three components to support local entrepreneurs.

The project would create an analysis of areas in which local residents are spending money outside of the community, additional events for small business owners and new strategies for communication.

Estacada has applied for a $45,000 grant from Business Oregon. City leaders will likely know if the project has been funded in March.

The study of where residents are spending money outside of their local community is known as a leakage analysis. It will create data for current and future business owners that shows items that could be purchased locally, but are not.

"It will identify gaps and opportunities," said Matt Lorenzen, Estacada's Economic Development Manager.

The second part of the proposal involves creating events and training opportunities for small business owners, along with a business plan competition.

"We want to create a series of learning and networking opportunities for entrepreneurially-minded people to be able to get together and learn something from an expert," Lorenzen explained.

The proposal also suggests developing a strong communication strategy "to let people know what resources are available for businesses," Lorenzen said. One way that this might be done is by creating a website that consolidates all of Estacada's local resources for businesses.

Lorenzen described the proposed program as as a "grassroots, homegrown economic development strategy."

"The focus is on what we do have rather than trying to artificially create an economy that we don't have," he said. "If the project is funded, it will give us the ability to really grow our own jobs rather than relying on a big outside company to come and save the day."

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