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KeyBank gives $250,000 grant to Micro Enterprise Services to support its work in East County

OUTLOOK PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - KeyBank and MESO celebrate a $250,000 grant to support small businesses in East Multnomah County.A local organization has received a grant to support its entrepreneurial programs for minority and women-owned businesses in East Multnomah County.

Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) was awarded a $250,000 grant by KeyBank Thursday afternoon, March 22. It was the largest sum of money ever given by KeyBank in the Oregon and Southwest Washington market.

With the grant, MESO will offer business development and technical assistance to more than 150 clients, many of whom are linked to the future Rockwood Rising project.

"Our mission is to help our communities thrive, and nowhere is that more important than in underserved communities that often lack access to business expertise and funding," said Michelle Weisenbach, president of KeyBank in Oregon Southwest Washington.

The services the grant supports include business education, planning, goal setting, accounting and tax assistance, market research, mentoring, and access to financing and savings programs.

The money will also help the Rockwood Rising project, which is expected to break ground this spring and be completed in 18 to 25 months. The development will include a Market Hall featuring space for micro-entrepreneurs, food vendors and pop up shops.

"MESO's ability to attract experienced, culturally-competent staff, mentors, volunteers and partners gives us an edge in understanding client's challenges and the best approaches for overcoming barriers," said MESO Executive Director Nita Shah. "We appreciate KeyBank's generous support to bring these proven programs to Gresham entrepreneurs."

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