A Celebration of the Power of Collaboration

I was so pleased to see so many of our friends and family at our Hatch Birthday and Thank you Celebration last week. It was a proper celebration of the work we have done together. Last year is a year to go down in history (and I had a lot to say!)

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It was a little hard to know where to start. One high point of the year was hosting Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown in HatchLab at the opening night of ComCap15. She honored us by staying nearly an hour and showering everyone with her genuine attention and interest.

Our 2015 was full of new staff, new programs, new opportunities, and a new mechanism for startup capital. We visited twenty-two cities in two tours. And a dozen new Oregon entrepreneurs. And $350,000. And so on… the list is long!

The agenda was to provide a report-out on our accomplishments, make appropriate thank you’s, and offer a little reflection on our year. I have linked to a presentation of some of our year’s statistics. It’s a fun review (with pictures of many of you).

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Last week I was also pleased to introduce you to a new example of the kind of social entrepreneur we are so proud to help – why we do what we do! Lisa Ramirez is launching Two Tongues, a clothing store in Portland launched to serve the LGBTQ+ communities, offering a creative and safe place to find apparel and accessories. She combines her love of art with her commitment to individual expression in this new entry into Portland’s hip clothing market.

If you live in Oregon, you’ll soon be able to read her prospectus on HatchOregon.com, and learn more about Two Tongues!

So, it is an auspicious day for us, being a birthday for a few important things. It’s been a year since new rules became law, and two years since we launched HatchLab.

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2015 was the year when power returned to the people.

The truth is, in 2015 everything pales in contrast to the creation of the brand new law for Oregonians. I’ve come to believe it is the most transformational thing to happen to Oregon.

We pushed ourselves to take on this opportunity, and it ended up defining our year. From Astoria to Ashland, Joseph to Bend, we reached out to educate and connect with Oregonians all over.

Stuart from Red Wagon Creamery with Charlie Hales and Kate Brown. Photo by Katharine Kimball.It was 2014 when this opportunity presented itself, and we stepped up, grabbed it by the reins, and made it Oregon’s. That’s the job of our innovative nonprofit. We pushed this year nearly as far as it could go. In fact, it nearly pushed us over the brink! I’m really proud of  this team and this state for going for it.

We had our first success with local investing with Red Wagon Creamery. Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Governor Kate Brown pose with Stuart Phillips, co-founder of Red Wagon Creamery, with high hopes of a full raise from Oregon investors. He reached that goal soon after, and we were there in Eugene to celebrate with him. It was a first for Oregon.

While we will build on that work in 2016, such as continuing to educate investors, build out the statewide network, and improve programs for those who are ridiculously underserved, I wanted to share a few things that we’ve learned along the way. What have we learned and what will we do next?

The first, is to remember that anybody can do anything.

If a woman who does not have a business degree, a law degree, or a finance degree can drive new securities law, then there are no excuses. With a clear purpose in mind, most anything is possible. We are going to draw purpose back into our core.

The second? Being on the bleeding edge is bloody hard.

We need to get better at how to communicate about new ideas. I wish I had a magic wand with the power to help people imagine ways to do things better – a way to help people see and take advantage of new opportunities.

Number three. Practically everyone has been excluded.

The full scope of becoming more diverse and inclusive is astounding. A wonderful metaphor for my year was being reminded that the wall of Wall Street was built to keep out the Native Americans. And it’s been doing a great job ever since.

One of our amazing team members here at Hatch says don’t talk about it, just do it. Harder to do than say, but it is a higher priority now more than ever. Being mindful of reaching those who have been actively ignored now more clearly defines our work.

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2015 was a year we committed to moving this law across the state of Oregon, and we chose to put some things on hold while we got behind this rock and started to push. I don’t regret it, I think it was a fascinating and powerful learning experience for so many people. Did we make inroads into growing community capital? Sure. Do we have miles to go before we sleep? Heck yeah.

So, while it has been a year since this Oregon law was born, and two years since we launched HatchLab, it has been nearly a dozen years since we started Hatch Innovation. And I have one thing to say to all of you.

Thank You!