We’re pleased to introduce Ann McQuesten from Perkins Coie as this week’s Sponsor Spotlight.
OEN: Hi Ann, thanks for supporting OEN as both a General Sponsor and Board Member. What’s your role in the entrepreneurial community?
AM: Perkins Coie has a long history of working with entrepreneurs, businesses and investors at the cutting edge of their fields, ever since our founding days representing Boeing as an early innovator in aerospace. We serve as the go-to advisor for companies throughout their life cycle — from the early stages when a founder comes to us with an idea and wants to know how to move forward with it, through the typical trials and tribulations of running a growing company, all the way through major financing and exit transactions, and everything in between. We’re a full-service firm serving the entrepreneurial and business community, with a goal of supporting companies so they can be the next big thing or provide jobs to people in their communities, along with supporting the many other societal benefits of entrepreneurship.
OEN: What type of entrepreneurs are you best suited to support?
AM: Entrepreneurs that have a passion for what they’re doing, appreciate the value of building a company that is going to benefit its stakeholders, and want to do it in a way that is going to best set them up for the long-term. Where we work best with entrepreneurs is when we can be a partner with them, see where they’re going and what their vision is, and be involved in those decisions to make sure they’re set up in a way that is both legally compliant and reduces barriers to their success.
OEN: What are your most common recommendations to first-time entrepreneurs?
AM: Start early anticipating how to set yourself up for long-term success. Even if you’re small, and it’s just you or you and your co-founder thinking through ideas, it’s always important to anticipate the future and plan ahead for legal challenges. Protecting your intellectual property is a big one in the tech space for sure, and really in any business. Every company has something special that differentiates it, so making sure that you’re protecting that and retaining the value in whatever creates that differentiation. And be conscious of those compliance and legal issues, but also don’t be afraid to push boundaries and think about the big picture and how you’re going to distinguish your company from the rest of the market.
OEN: What do you think is an opportunity for this community to grow?
AM: One thing that OEN and other organizations within our community continue to work on is the inclusion of underrepresented groups. In terms of growth, there’s a huge amount of opportunity in the Oregon entrepreneurial community to expand our reach and be more inclusive of groups that haven’t historically had access to entrepreneurship and the services that support it. Those individuals and businesses are already there, and it is our job to ensure that they are aware of our services and feel welcomed into the community, and that our services address their needs.
OEN: Why do you think OEN has an important role to play in this entrepreneurial ecosystem?
AM: I think there are a few things that put OEN in a good position. One is the history, deep knowledge, and connection that it has with the Oregon entrepreneurial community, all of which we can leverage in seeing that community through its next phase of growth. We also have a great group of volunteers, members and people who have benefitted from OEN’s services over the years who are really well suited to adapt to the evolving needs of the community. Overall, we’ve got the capabilities and talent to cast a wide net of support for our community, and to be nimble by focusing or expanding our reach based on the needs and demands of our community. We can also help fill an important role in funding with events like Oregon Angel Food and Angel Oregon Tech.