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Southern Oregon University

Seminar: Entrepreneurship: The Golden Ticket?

Privately owned micro-enterprises make up nearly 90% of all US businesses. Earning potential for women small business owners is up to 46% higher than those in traditional jobs. Entrepreneurship levels the playing field for women, removes the glass ceiling and can empower the transformation of communities around the world. This talk will share valuable tools available locally, nationally, and internationally to start your own business, empower yourself, build community, and live your dream. "Be the change you want to see in the world." - Gandhi


Jessica Gomez is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rogue Valley Microdevices, the first Microelectronics Manufacturing Company in Southern Oregon.  Jessica began her technical carrier at Standard Microsystems as a Wafer Fabrication Operator in the mid 1990’s.  She relocated to Southern California in 2001 to join Integrated Micromachines Inc., a telecommunications hardware startup company. While working at Integrated Micromachines, Jessica became immersed in the company’s startup culture and developed a love for entrepreneurship.  She also built many relationships that would later become integral to the success of Rogue Valley Microdevices.   In 2003 Jessica relocated to Southern Oregon and founded Rogue Valley Microdevices, Inc.  Jessica is an active member of the community and is dedicated to supporting economic development.  She holds a liberal arts degree from Suffolk Community College, is a member of the Medford Rogue Rotary Club, a founding member of the Sustainable Valley Technology Group. Jessica has served on the “Job’s And Economy Team” for Governor Kitzhaber’s 10 Year Outcome’s Based Budget.  She is also married and is the mother of a beautiful two year old girl.

Heather Stafford is Executive Director of Sustainable Valley Technology Group, an incubator/accelerator in Southern Oregon. She is a passionate advocate for local investment strategies and an avid coach for entrepreneurs and start-ups. Sustainable Valley Technology Group is an independent, non-profit, economic development initiative founded to create a more prosperous and sustainable economy. Founded in July 2010, Sustainable Valley is the only business accelerator in the six counties of Southern Oregon to support the growth of innovative, start-up companies. They are also one of a very few accelerators in the world dedicated to incubating and accelerating technologies like semiconductors, MEMS, biotech, nanotech, clean tech and agricultural tech. Also, Co-Founder of the Southern Oregon Chapter of Slow Money, Heather works with regional food entrepreneurs, investors, government leaders, economic development, workforce development and education partners to educate the community about the local investing movement and opportunities to get involved. She is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and worked as a digital media and video producer for Fortune 500 companies during the dotcom craze of the late 90s, which is where she first fell in love with entrepreneurialism. Ms. Stafford earned a Master in Business Administration, a Master in Management from SOU School of Business and holds a certificate of Non-Profit Management.

Amy Pearl is the executive director and co-founder of Springboard Innovation. She draws on extensive experience in the education, corporate, and social sectors to create a vision of addressing global challenges with citizen-led solutions. She founded Springboard in 2004 to enable citizens to create new kinds of enterprises that transform how we build a livable future. Over her career she has developed many innovative programs to help address our shared challenges by activating a new kind of community leader. Her own career has taken her from public television to the classroom and school district, to the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, to managing Intel's online education program implemented in dozens of countries. By making innovative strategies "learnable" she teaches social entrepreneurship skills and strategies to youth and adults in order to foster a more equitable, innovative, and capable society. She believes we need to move 50% of our strategies upstream to allow us to get in front of our accelerating challenges. She is currently building unique infrastructure to better enable social innovation to flourish.