Oregon Overcomplicates Entrepreneurship for Unemployed

Oregon is trying to get people who are receiving unemployment to start a business. Because it’s a government program, though, it’s a bit more complicated than it needs to be.

All enrolled Self Employment Assistance Program claimants must attend self-employment assistance counseling/training and engage in self-employment activities on a fulltime basis. Participants must complete both a written business plan and a market feasibility study. The program operates as a collaborative effort between the Oregon Employment Department, and the Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC).

Does it really take all that counseling and training to try to sell something?

OregonLive.com has more on the complexity:

The self-employment program is tiny, currently enrolling less than 1/10th of one percent of the approximately 111,000 Oregonian’s collecting unemployment. Those in the program get no extra money for training or business costs, and are not allowed to extend their benefits beyond the normal 26-week period.

They do, however, get a chance to fully dedicate themselves to starting a business, and any business earnings are not deducted from unemployment checks. “It’s just a bare bones thing,” Sanderlin said. “But for people who are really motivated, it’s an opportunity.”

To enter the program, an unemployed person must have a worker-profile score showing poor chances of getting a job and must be approved by the Small Business Development Centers, a network of 19 centers throughout the state that provides business training and mentoring.

Program enrollees have a month after admission to submit a business plan that has been approved by one of those small business centers.

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