Prosper Portland awards 6 A&O brands a Small Business Internship Grant

Prosper Portland partnered with Emerging Leaders to create a Small Business Internship Grant opportunity in order to broaden learning opportunities for students of color, and help local businesses gain unique insights as they diversify their talent pipelines support employment cost.

In February, six Portland Athletic & Outdoor brands were awarded the Small Business Internship Grant.  The six A&O recipients of the Small Business Internship Grant are Dorsum, Flipside Hats, Portland Garment Factory, Cycle Dog, No End of Clothing and Orox Leather:

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.

“I applied for the grant to expand my company’s horizons to build a team. We are excited to bring someone on that is open to learning willing to grow with us and help us with our short term goal to launch our next collection and summer fashion show. The event announcing the winners made my heart feel whole because we are able to give back to our youth. We are the future. This grant allows small businesses to continue to thrive and build a future for the next generation to truly shape the future.”No End of Clothing CEO and Creator Palani BearGhost.

The grant covers part of the ELI program match fee and up to 80 percent of an intern’s salary for a 10-week placement. Amounts will vary based on the company’s size and financial capacity.

“We are so pleased to embark on this joint venture with Emerging Leaders to expand the program to small, growing businesses that might not otherwise be able to finance an intern. We are helping small businesses grow and meet their strategic needs and at the same time offer students of color meaningful professional development,”
— Prosper Portland Executive Director Kimberly Branam.

Eligible businesses had to be based in Portland, have fewer than 50 employees, and be new to the Emerging Leaders Internship initiative. They also needed to be traded sector companies, selling some of their products and/or services to people and businesses outside the Portland area.


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.