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  • David Lawrence

2021 Built Festival: What a turnout!


Please tell me you attended the Built Oregon Festival this year!


If not, you missed out on a fantastic opportunity filled with guest speakers in various consumer product goods industries sharing their stories.


We had the honor of listening to speakers such as Kim Malek, founder of Salt and Straw; Kamelah Adams, founder of MIMIS FRESH TEES, Juan Barraza, director of student innovation at Portland State University, Michael Pan, founder of Pan’s Mushroom Jerky, Carrie Ericksen, Matt Olosfsky, Jelani Memory, and many others!


Some of the topics mentioned by our speakers addressed employee and business culture, financial forecasting, creating a roadmap, supply chain and inventory processes, and how scaling comes in many forms. However, most talks addressed their individual stories and the inspiration for the road they chose. Each business may vary in the product or services that they offer, but they all share one commonality, passion.


The guest speakers may have been the highlight, but we must also recognize the local vendors who showed up to highlight their latest products: Leslies Lumpia, The Better Bar, Dtocs Palm leaf tableware, Hab Sauce, Koa Roots, SiBEiHo.


All brought not just their product but their heart and passion for their craft. We had the opportunity to network with a few and learn their story. Each expressed a connection with their products that drives deeper than the surface level of aspiring to create a business. Their stories reflect aspirations for change. Whether it is a gluten-free product for a growing community with a lack of dietary options, reduction of plasticware use combating global warming, or vegan appetizers that express cultural roots in a new age society for all to enjoy.


Amid all the products offered to us, we had the sweet treat of gluten-free bars, delicious brewed hand-ground coffee, all while listening to the vast array of guest speakers who were in that very same position at a point in time.


Built Oregon has done more than create a marketplace for vendors and local start-ups; they have created a home and community for aspiring entrepreneurs or go-getters. Our community and many others still are dealing with the unforeseen circumstances that have hindered many in a professional and personal setting. The amazing turnout goes to show the community Built Oregon has been able to well... build.


All precautionary measures were taken to make this year’s Built Festival happen. We see being able to safely come together as a sign of promise for communities fighting back against the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We see this step as a sign of hope as last year’s festival was canceled because of the circumstances. That looks different for all, but for a community to come together in this capacity and create a positive environment like this is phenomenal.