What is the Southern Oregon Entrepreneur to Entrepreneur (E2E) Network?

Inspired by communities from Bend to Boulder, management consultant Cynthia Scherr and financial consultant Linda Ganim, along with other local entrepreneurs, started E2E three years ago.  They challenged their friends and clients, most of whom own businesses, to come together as a loose group of entrepreneurs to focus on promoting, developing and enhancing a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem in Southern Oregon. 

E2E has a clear mission, but no official structure or dues. The group meets at a different company every month to learn about the business, hear the ups and downs of the owner’s entrepreneurship story and talk about any challenges it faces moving forward. Entrepreneurs share experiences, inspiration and resources. People’s Bank of Commerce sponsors the pizza and beer.

Cynthia also works with Jefferson Public Radio to curate a podcast called “The Ground Floor” that highlights the entrepreneurial adventures of businesses in Southern Oregon. You can hear the segment on The Jefferson Exchange the third Monday of every month.  

The goal of E2E is to create space and time for entrepreneurs to learn from other entrepreneurs in their own community without requiring formal membership or a regular commitment.  The group hopes to augment the efforts of the chambers of commerce, service clubs and economic development organizations in our region.

If you are interested in learning more about E2E, request an invitation through the Southern Oregon E2E Facebook page.

E2E Vision and Purpose

What is our vision of a Southern Oregon Entrepreneurial Ecosystem?

Southern Oregon is a uniquely balanced, authentic entrepreneurial community with reliable and visible collaborations, connections, resources, publicity and energy that supports new, growing and established businesses.

Why do we need an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem?

To make Southern Oregon fertile ground for enterprise and a sustainable high quality of life.

To maintain a dynamic economy with job and career opportunities for people at all ages and stages.

What is our mission as E2E?

E2E’s mission is to shape our Entrepreneurial Ecosystem into a vibrant business community by inspiring and engaging entrepreneurs to lead.

How will we measure our progress?

Early stage:

  • Stories about companies in media outlets that cover business news
  • Number of entrepreneurs leading community enhancing efforts in the ecosystem
  • Business database that lists type of enterprise, number of employees, year founded
  • Number of entrepreneurial resources in the network
  • Central website that is kept up to date
  • Central calendar of events for a range of resources that is kept up to date
  • Number of EE partners
  • Number of network partner meetings
  • Number of EE events listed on central calendar
  • Number of attendees at E2E events

What are our values?

Positive: encouragement is the best fertilizer

Active: GSD (get stuff done), adjust, try new things

Inclusive: everyone brings ideas and contributes

Dynamic: generate innovation and change

Generous: freely paying it forward

Goals 2017-18

  • Strengthen the infrastructure that supports starts and growth, development and retention, connectivity and acceleration of businesses.
  • Create an asset map (June 27 meeting); build it with partners like SOREDI.
  • Make assets visible (July 25/August 22 meeting); business database (Jim Teece/Plexis/SOREDI), E2E Fb group, central calendar and directory, marketing.
  • Strengthen network (August 22 meeting) simple web-based directory of resources; people take individual responsibility and ownership for raising the bar with existing resources.
  • Identify the resources people ask for most, find out who is asking questions, learn what kinds of businesses are being developed here, what are the skillsets of local resources, what’s missing.

Types of Businesses

Innovation-led, R&D brings forth an innovative product or process. Usually involves IP that gives it a strong competitive advantage and serves as a foundation for high growth rate.

Second stage, survived startup phase and owners focused on growing and expanding; usually between 10-99 employees and $750k-$50 mm.

Main Street; large segment of our economy, not driven by rapid growth, founders create them to build a career in their area of expertise and plan to work there for a long time.

Microenterprises, businesses that take less than $35k in capitalization to start and will remain small, less than 5 employees.


How to Make Your Community’s Economy Sizzle, Jim Schell

Start Up Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City, Brad Feld

Great website with resources for entrepreneurial ecosystems: http://www.joinsourcelink.com/

Research, funding and best practices resource for entrepreneurship: www.kauffman.org

Example of Central Oregon’s resource site for businesses (parallel site for Southern Oregon is under development): Bizresourceco.org