Why You Should Start a Business in Oregon | Fora Financial Blog
Why You Should Start a Business in Oregon
October 09, 2019

Why You Should Start a Business in Oregon

Many people know Oregon for its diverse landscape, temperate climate, never-ending breweries, and of course – the quirky city of Portland. Oregon also boasts over 320,000 small businesses and is home to household brands like Nike, Adidas, Precision Castparts, and Columbia Sportswear.

What makes Oregon so appealing? Business owners love it for its pro-business incentives, favorable tax system, and access to capital. It’s also a great place to live, whether you love the outdoors or prefer city living. In this post, we’ll list the top reasons the Beaver State may be the best spot to start your business!

6 Reasons to Start Your Business in Oregon:

1. Pro-Business Climate

Oregon offers several incentives to attract and encourage small business. For example, Oregon Investment Advantage is a creative incentive that encourages small and medium businesses to start or locate in selected counties in the state.

If you create at least five full-time jobs within an eligible county, your business can substantially deduct and possibly even eliminate its state business income tax liability for up to ten years. In addition, Oregon’s Emerging Small Business certification program gives preference to small businesses in a variety of government contract opportunities, many of which include municipal contracts and city contracts.

2. Favorable Tax System

In 2019 Oregon ranked seventh in the U.S. for business friendliness, according to the Tax Foundation, and the Beaver State has maintained a top 10 spot since 2014. With no state sales tax, retailers are the single largest beneficiary of Oregon’s favorable tax system. Oregon also allows corporate net operating losses to be carried forward for up to 15 years without a cap, which can meaningfully reduce your business’s tax liability and allow you to invest those savings back into your business.

3. Highly Educated Workforce

Oregon’s rapidly growing population benefits small businesses in numerous ways, not only resulting in more potential customers but providing a diverse and talented labor pool. In fact, the region’s workforce of more than one million is growing at six times the national average. Technology-focused, manufacturing, and creative companies alike continue to draw highly educated employees to the Beaver State – meaning your chances of finding strong teammates to join your business are high.


4. Thriving Startup Community

Oregon – and Portland in particular – is quickly becoming a mecca for motivated entrepreneurs. In fact, Portland ranks tenth on Inc.’s 50 Best Places in America for Starting a Business list.

Portland’s startup scene spans a variety of industries, from tech companies, early-stage food businesses, and innovative apparel stores. The city offers entrepreneurs and startups a variety of resources, events, training and development programs, and meetups – all to encourage new business and collaboration.

5. Access to Capital

According to data from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association, venture investment in Oregon reached nearly $350 million in 2017, an increase of almost 75 percent from investments made in 2013. Although these numbers are still relatively small compared to states like California, New York, and Texas, venture capitalists are becoming increasingly more willing to invest in solid ideas outside the traditional startup hubs.

For example, Portland Seed Fund is one of the top seed-stage investors in the Pacific Northwest and continues to raise money to support promising new startups, especially those with diverse leadership teams.

6. Lower Operating Costs

Portland is a relatively inexpensive location to start your business compared to nearby Seattle, San Francisco, and San Diego.  The average price per square foot for office space in Portland is 75 percent less than in San Francisco and 20 percent less than in Seattle.

In addition, Oregon boasts lower-than-average healthcare and energy costs compared to the rest of the country. By saving on your overhead expenses, you can invest more money back into your business at the end of the day.

Conclusion: Consider Starting Your Business in the Beaver State

Whether you have an established small business or are just entering the startup scene, Oregon offers something for everyone. With its favorable business climate and tax incentives – not to mention lower operating costs than traditional startup hubs – you may see your business grow at a faster rate in the Beaver State.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].