Ruth Miles, Small Business Advocate, State of Oregon

Small Businesses in Oregon Have a New Hero in Ruth Miles #ORBIZSOS

This evening I had the pleasure to meet Ruth Miles. She is the Small Business Advocate for the State of Oregon. The town hall meeting was hosted by Senator Mark Hass and Representative Tobias Read. Ruth’s position was only created in January of 2014. When she told us what she does, she’s good at marketing, she replied, 

“I cut red tape.”

Reminder that a small business is one that has 100 or fewer employees. She is the “fixer” before litigation and hopefully to prevent litigation.

She told us some case studies with happy endings and that have led to the review of several procedures and rules and begin the change to streamline the process.

Her tasks include three areas:

  1. Solve problems for businesses – such as licensing and registration issues.
  2. While she’s solving problems, she looks for systemic problems in state agencies.
  3. Then, she reports back to legislators, to the public and to businesses.

She answers to the Secretary of State. You can find her office here.

Oregon’s Office of Small Business Assistance serves as an​​ independent voice for small businesses within state government.

Small businesses account for 98 percent of Oregon firms, employ over half the state’s workforce and play a vital role in our economy. That’s especially true for rural Oregon, which depends on small business for economic growth.

When problems arise, the advocate works collaboratively with small businesses and state agencies to resolve issues. ​The Small Business Advocate brings together businesses and government to continuously improve Oregon’s business climate.​

She is unique in a government position in the fact that she is a former small business owner that switched to work for the legislative branch to understand the process better. She has never left – that was nine years ago.

A phrase that was tossed around was, “Eat what you kill funding.” This isn’t as gruesome as it sounds. It means that an agency is funded by fees and without collecting fees they have no budget. More fun to say it the other way.

Ruth wants to help. She works in tangible problems – not “what if” scenarios. If you are trying to get your business licensed, have difficulty communicating with other state agencies as a small business – RUTH is your contact. You can reach her directly here: Her official office is the Office of Small Business Assistance.