You are probably already familiar with Supportland (if not you can read up here—don't skip the comments, which both raise and answer questions that didn't make it into the main article). Up until now it has largely functioned as a local business-specific rewards card, but its potential has always held more. In the next few months the first phase of Portland Made will launch, a joint effort between Supportland and ADX, who aim to create what Supportland's Katrina Scotto di Carlo describes as an "ecosystem" for products manufactured in Portland, from clothing to beer to mattresses and beyond. This will take shape at first in small ways: a new edition of the Supportland card branded with the Portland Made logo, a search function on the Supportland site that allows users to find businesses that sell locally produced products, small business-building workshops and classes, and so forth. But ultimately there are goals like creating a collective online shopping site where users can shop locally made products, see which stores have them, and buy it from the location of their choosing. Even better, and something that Supportland already does with its retail clients, is the ability to create metrics, which really don't exist for micro-manufacturers. As Scotto di Carlo points out, in the political world you can't get anywhere without numbers to back you up. By generating useful numbers (read: accountable job creation), Portland Made will have the power to begin political lobbying on behalf of the wide but relatively disparate community of small manufacturers.
I'll be keeping a close eye on this as it develops because it's pretty damn exciting, so stay tuned for more as things roll out.
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