Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More on crops, and seeds of entrepreneurship

Today we have two new twists that build upon yesterday's highlight about the growing season.

Unlike the dismal conditions previously mentioned for Lane County's crops, a Capital Press Agricultural News story says that Oregon and Washington pear farmers expect a bumper crop this year. Estimates for the fall total 19.2 million 44-pound boxes, which is 8 percent more than last year's level.

Indoors, a program run by the Oregon Employment Department attempts help the state's unemployed population sow seeds of entrepreneurship. A story from The Oregonian highlights OED's Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP). Participants in the program receive unemployment insurance benefits but in lieu of regular job seeking activities they follow a structured program to develop business plans and launch their own companies. The window of opportunity lasts for six months; after that, if a SEAP participant hasn't launched a new business, s/he must resume regular job seeking activity to continue receiving unemployment insurance benefits.

SEAP Coordinator Pat Sanderlin gathered estimates from program participants starting in 2004, and found that approximately three-fourths (77%) were still in business. The combined payroll of these businesses totals nearly $8 million.

Get more details about SEAP in the full story, or by visiting the program's page on the State of Oregon website.

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