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Blending big, small businesses with public sector is goal of entrepreneur organization.

TIMES PHOTO: DANA HAYNES - Jorge Guerra, left, and Sam Brooks of the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs discuss inclusion efforts in Washington County.In just its second meeting in Beaverton, the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs drew more than 30 people last week to hear about the city's equity and inclusion policies.

The organization has its headquarters in Portland but serves the entire state, said Sam Brooks, founder and chairman of the board. He said he had spoken to Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle about expanding outreach to Washington County. Now two meetings in — the first meeting, earlier this year, drew more than 80 people — Brooks called the outreach a success.

"I'd been talking to the mayor about all the languages spoken (in Washington County) and wondering, why aren't these folks participating?" Brooks said. "That's why we're here: To get people working together."

The goal of the association, known as OAME, is: "We're Oregonians. Everyone's in; nobody's out," Brooks said.

Jorge Guerra, association president, said one of the goals is to get people around the same table. "How are we connecting the small-business community with the large companies and the big public agencies?" He asked. "We have to be partners."

Guest speaker for the meeting was Alexis D.R. Ball, equity and inclusion manager in Doyle's office.

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