Apply now for the 2020 Small Business Internship Grant

Do you want to provide a meaningful experience and mentorship to a young diverse leader who will in turn bring unique insight and energy to your organization?

Prosper Portland is seeking small business partners, committed to developing future, diverse leaders, to apply for the 2020 Small Business Internship Grant by Tuesday December 31, 2019. This Small Business Internship Grant was created to help small business who needed extra funding to take actionable steps towards hiring, championing diversity, and empowering young leaders of color. The grant allows each of these companies to hire interns through Emerging Leaders’ ELI program.

Take 15 minutes to apply now

The ELI program matches recent graduates and college students of color with paid internships at top companies across the Greater Portland area. Since 2016, more than 300 interns have participated with many successfully transitioning into full-time roles.

With the funding provided by Prosper Portland’s Small Business Internship Grant, small businesses can support an intern at a significantly reduced cost (a saving of up to $5,350 at a cost as low as $1,700 for the company).

Prosper Portland partnered with Emerging Leaders in 2018 to create this Small Business Internship Grant opportunity in order to broaden learning opportunities for students of color while empowering local small businesses. The grant helps local small businesses gain unique insights as they diversify their talent pipelines while supplementing their employment cost.

Who should apply: Small business candidates should meet the following criteria:

  • Employ fewer than 50 employees
  • Have offices in the Portland metro area (home offices are not acceptable)
  • Are new to the Emerging Leaders Internship program or expanding presence
  • Can support a paid internship ($15+/hour or greater)
  • Can provide consistent mentorship to support intern’s success

Grant Timeline

  • 12/31/19: Small Business Grant Application Deadline
  • 1/21/20: Grant recipient confirmation (phone call)
  • 2/6/20: Small Business Grant Recipient Orientation
  • March 2020: First Round of Intern screening by Emerging Leaders (in 2019 they had 900+ candidates for about 100 positions). 
  • April- May 2020: Interviews (companies interview 3 candidates per position & makes an offer)
  • June 2020: Intern starts

This is the second year Prosper Portland has offered the Small Business Internship Grant. In 2019, 6 A&O small businesses received the grant. To learn more about previous grant recipients, read Prosper Portland awards 6 A&O brands a Small Business Internship Grant


Emerging Leaders Internship (ELI) removes barriers to access by connecting talented students of color with leadership-track, paid internships at top companies throughout the Greater Portland area. In 2018, the ELI Program had 876 students applications, conducted 435 interviews and placed 80 interns.


Prosper Portland creates economic growth and opportunity for Portland. Our vision is to make Portland one of the most globally competitive, healthy, and equitable cities in the world by investing in job creation, encouraging broad economic prosperity, and fostering great places throughout the city. We aspire to be a workplace of choice with passionate staff excelling in an open and empowering environment and sharing a commitment to our collective success.


Portland A&O powered by Prosper Portland aims to support the success of Oregon’s 800+ Athletic and Outdoor firms through community, peer-to-peer learning, events, and programming.