Vancouver is Ranked Number 5 in the List of the Best Value Towns

"If you’re relocating to Portland and want the best value for your money, there’s a good chance you won’t be house-shopping in Portland. Or even in Oregon. You’ll be looking in Vancouver. Not the Vancouver in Canada but the one across the Columbia River from PDX, in income-tax-free Washington State. Here’s why: You have kids. That’s what happened to Jody Bamford, who moved with her husband and their young daughter from a condo near the Pearl District to the suburban city six years ago. “So many families are moving to Vancouver because the public schools are all very good,” says Bamford. But the city has a lot more going for it than high test scores. “It’s so peaceful, with wide streets and sidewalks and maple trees in storybook neighborhoods,” she says. “And every little neighborhood has its own park—from our house, there are two within walking distance. It’s like Vancouver was built for kids.” The five-year-old Vancouver Community Library definitely was. The third floor looks like a children’s museum, with tipis and a kitchen area, plus a cafe on the first floor. “We hang out there a lot when it rains,” says Bamford..."

Vancouver Ruby Meetup - January 19

Join Vancouver Ruby every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month to hang out, talk web development, and work on whatever strikes your fancy. Brewed in downtown Vancouver has food, coffee, and plenty of great beer selections -- all the fuel a programmer could ask for!

You don't need to have a project to attend, but if you do, feel free to bring it along to get help from the group or just get a few extra coding hours logged.

The next meetup is:

Thursday, January 19
Brewed 360 Micro Beers & Wine Restaurant
603 Main Street, Vancouver, WA


VanTechy Meetup - February 7

VanTechy is the social starting point for the Vancouver Tech scene.

The beginning of a startup is about people and ideas. VanTechy, is our local meeting point for meeting each other in a relaxed, casual format. Our goals include:

Welcoming new people to the growing Vancouver tech community.
Sharing and discovering local events, opportunities, connections.
Growing our skills and learning new things.
Sharing our experience by mentoring new members.

For beginners, VanTechy is where you should start.
For veterans, VanTechy is a place to share and mentor others.

Tuesday, February 7
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Columbia Collective
810 Main Street, Vancouver, WA

VanCoffee Meetup - January 24

Designed for tech executives, but welcome to anyone, this meetup is a birds-of-a-feather discussion group for those who are looking to benefit from the shared experience of Vancouver’s tech community. Why so early? Because when you run a company or manage a team, your free time either happens before employees show up for work or at the end of the day (and the last thing you want to do after a day of meetings is entertain a group discussion).

Feel free to bring your breakfast and a mug; we will bring the coffee, creamer, and sugar.

Tuesday, January 24
7:30am - 8:30am
Columbia Collective
810 Main Street, Vancouver, WA

Columbia Collective Afterhours - January 9

"Located in our NEW space above Boomerang.

Let's make this happen. This event is specifically for those interested in diving into the creative/entrepreneur scene. We are calling this Afterhours due to the nature of our industry. Most solopreneurs start out part-time. This means we are tied  up with our day jobs, and have to wait until afterhours to get going with our businesses.

Interested in starting your own creative business? Come meet the people already doing it, and get some support and ideas for how to get your feet off the ground.

Feel free to come hang out, drink a few beers, play some ping-pong, and meet other local creatives. This is networking time with no specific agenda. Let's share ideas and struggles as we establish the local creative core.

Hosted by Columbia Collective."

Columbia Collective
810 Main Street, Vancouver WA
Monday, January 9, 2010

VanTechy Meetup Featuring The Bridge Accelerator - Decemeber 6

Tuesday is the inaugural showcase of the Bridge Accelerator! Over the last few months, five exciting startups have worked with a host of mentors to refine their strategies and accelerate their businesses. The Showcase is an opportunity for you to learn more about the startup community in Vancouver, the Bridge Accelerator, and these exciting companies. Join us!

Tuesday, December 6
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Columbia Collective
810 Main Street, Vancouver, WA

cheQitout hosts deals to help local communities thrive

"The pathway to achieving sustainability in a community differs from place to place, but one of the fundamentals that makes sustainability successful is a commitment to the well-being of local businesses.

cheQitout has dedicated its business model to “keeping it local” and with each transaction, helps neighborhoods and local businesses thrive. The Vancouver-based company offers a unique mobile and web-based e-commerce platform for local businesses that allows them to directly compete with large, big box stores and advertisers. When merchants partner with cheQitout, they’re given the opportunity to gain customers and expand their brand in a crowded digital shopping marketplace. When users purchase a deal from cheQitout, they’re giving back to the community.

Joe Mazzarella, president, and Ed Frankel, chairman, first met at WSU Vancouver, where they regularly serve as mentors to business students. Frankel shares that the initial concept for the e-commerce platform took about three and a half years to develop and earlier this year, they officially launched a new, native app that can be downloaded through Apple or Google. Frankel is passionate about what their platform can offer to local businesses.

“We encourage the community to come together in a homogenous atmosphere,” he explained. “Every time someone purchases or gives through our website, they go to the store to pick up the service/product. When they’re in the shop, they can buy more when they get there.”

For local merchants, that translates to direct communication with buyers that they may not normally have been able to interact with..."

Vancouver Winter Brewfest celebrates fifth year December 9-10

"For the fifth year in a row, the Vancouver Winter Brewfest will take place at Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver.

Held December 9-10, the beer festival will offer at least 20 winter ales from the Northwest and feature two Vancouver breweries: Mount Tabor Brewing and Loowit Brewing Company.

“Winter ale festivals are extremely interesting as they offer specific and creative beers only found at those festivals,” noted Tim Ahaus, marketing consultant for the Vancouver Winter Brewfest. “However, the problem lays in trying to find that beer again once you leave. We want to provide great, locally produced winter beers that attendees can find at their local stores or pub.”

The festival will be held in a large tent between the Esther Short Park clock tower and the lighted Christmas tree.

Brian Davis, Brewfest director, said that this year’s event comes with a lower cost to attend: $12 to enter instead of $25. Entry fee includes one mug and five tokens.

Additional tokens can be purchased for $1.

“We want everyone to be able to taste the Holiday from the great Northwest and Vancouver Breweries,” said Davis. “Listen to Christmas music and drink with friends and family in gigantic festive tent on the bricks. The Vancouver Winter Brewfest and other Brewfest are really turning the heads of Portland patrons. It also gives are community a reason to stay in Vancouver and not travel across the bridge.”

The event will be open December 9 from 3 to 10 p.m. and December 10 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For more info or to volunteer at the event, visit"

Clark College targets manufacturing, region’s needs

"At 22, Jordan Mazi is still studying for his mechatronics degree at Clark College. But he’s already got a job.

Mazi, who was drawn to the “hands-on work” the program offers, is doing maintenance and repair work on wafer manufacturing machines for Linear Technology in Camas. It’s the kind of success story that highlights the growing demand for skilled workers in 21st century manufacturing sectors.

Clark College has singled out these types of programs in its Academic Plan, a five-year look at how the campus plans to grow programs and improve its curriculum. The Academic Plan, which was adopted in April, points to six goals for the college through 2020.

It’s not exactly an easy read, filled with academic jargon that may mean little to an average student or stakeholder at the college. But one of the plan’s chief goals — a desire to “align program offerings with regional workforce and community needs” — lays the foundation for the college to work with industry leaders and economic development groups to develop programs with jobs in mind. Many of these jobs are in manufacturing sectors, such as Clark College’s welding program, which recently began offering certification testing at a cheaper price than private test administrators.

Tim Cook, vice president for instruction at Clark College, said those relationships are an “informal process,” but are allowing the college to make an investment of time and energy into improving programs with companies in mind..."

Tech company Kolau talks DIY, globalization from Vancouver

"Danny Mola’s office in east Vancouver is little larger than a cubicle, peering into a thicket of trees so clustered it could be mistaken for camouflage wallpaper.

The 34-year-old Spaniard relishes it. When asked why he and his wife moved here, of all places, he juts his excited palm toward the window to serve up the view.

“We thought of Vancouver, it’s a very, very nice area that not a lot of people were talking about,” Mola said in a thick Spanish accent. “We like the outdoors and we like hiking. Life is better.”

From this vantage — and the dual-monitor computer at his desk — Mola orchestrates Kolau, one of the more unique businesses in Clark County, with 21 total employees spanning Alaska, Hawaii, Florida, Spain and even Kazakhstan.

Kolau is a marketing and technology company billing itself as a one-stop shop for search engine optimization. Its service hinges on helping small businesses reach as many potential customers as possible. Businesses today often live or die on the first page of a web search. A florist, accountant or local grocer who can’t or won’t pay a marketing consultant would turn to Kolau, the company hopes.

“The whole model is do-it-yourself,” he said. “We provide them the tools to do so. … We make it so easy.”


The idea for Kolau began in the mountains. Two years ago, Mola and his wife hiked through the Ko’olau Mountain Range in Oahu, Hawaii, talking about internet-based platforms that made their name by making online resources easier to access.

Websites such as WordPress and SquareSpace help people with virtually no programming experience create websites. TurboTax helps people manage taxes without an accountant. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 4.47 million of the 6.69 million businesses in the United States employed 19 or fewer people in 2012. Small businesses are growing and those online platforms are giving people more tools to be their own bosses..."


Fast-growing branding firm taking industry by storm

"Just a half-year after opening its first office, Core Brand Solutions, a Vancouver-based branding and advertising company, is expanding in the face of rapid growth.

With a team that already consists of more than 45 employees, Core Brand works with clients to help them create and outline a media advertising plan.

The company’s main office is located inside downtown Vancouver’s historic Heritage Building (601 Main Street, #100). A second office opened this week in East Vancouver’s Columbia Tech Center.

Leading the company is CEO Nate Eastburn and his two business partners – Angela Eastburn, CFO, and Brett Weaks, COO. Sales manager Joe McCallum heads up the firm’s sales team.

“We didn’t necessarily plan to start as large as we have, but through working in the sales and advertising industry for several years together, Nate (Eastburn) and I created a bit of a name for ourselves,” said Weaks. “When we left our previous jobs in the Portland area to create this company, people who knew what we had to offer trusted us and wanted to continue working with us.”

Core Brand Solutions has quickly established relationships with businesses around the nation, including regional brands like Shilo Inn, Pizza Schmizza, Kaiser Permanente and Keller Williams.

Much of the company’s early success, said Weaks, has to do with Core Brand Solutions’ creative, innovative approach..."

Columbia Collective's Campaign to Expand

One of the most import resources for a small business is a good co-working community. Columbia Collective, the first co-working space in Vancouver, was formed eight months ago. Columbia Collective is home to a collective of diverse companies, freelancers, remote workers, non-profits and more.  Columbia Collective’s rapid growth has resulted in a need to expand the work space. For more information on this effort, visit:

New program aims to accelerate innovation in SW Washington

"Business startups in Southwest Washington now have the power of a business accelerator within reach. The Bridge, a Vancouver-based brand incubator focused on building startups in Southwest Washington, is in the midst of its first seven-week accelerator program, which aims to help startup founders develop a successful go-to-market strategy.

“This really is the first here,” said Dave Barcos, co-founder of The Bridge. “I recently talked to Mistie Josephson and Jane Cote in the Business Department at WSU Vancouver, and they said there’s not a week that goes by where there’re not asked if they have an accelerator program. They have to turn people away. So this is really timely and will hopefully become a big thing for us.”

Startups involved in the current program include Curtis Townshend’s curated children’s clothing company, My Lil Bambino; Chris Maier’s GrowlerFresh; Michael Pan’s PanCo Foods; Adam Wehage’s Soulfinder; and Janus Innovations’ Glitch.

The accelerator program focuses on helping these startups define who they are and find their value.

“We work on what you’ll do the day after the accelerator,” Barcos explained.

The program also brings participants into a place where they can learn from mentors in a variety of industries. A few of the mentors currently involved in the program are David Jackson, Time and Oak; George DeCarlo, Woobox; Genevieve Lemarchal, Sadie; Bill Huseby, Sigma Design; Max Ault, Columbia River Economic Development Council; Paige Hendrix Buckner, ClientJoy; Cathey Armillas, Pura Marketing; and Colton Telford, Barcos’ partner at The Bridge..."

WSU Vancouver MAP Alliance and CREDC Forum – The rise of entrepreneurship in Clark County

Join us on November 16, 2016, as the CREDC and WSU Vancouver’s MAP Alliance bring you a panel of local experts to discuss recent growth in entrepreneurship in the community and local resources. The panel will feature Clark County Founders’ Amey Laud, Oregon Angel Fund partner Jon Maroney and Columbia Collaborative co-founder Max Mikhaylenko. All three panelists will answer your questions about local space, funding and mentorship.

Wednesday, November 16
Pacific Continental Bank Community Room
101 East 6th Street Vancouver, WA, 98660 United States

To register:

Supporting prospective women in STEM starts with accessible mentors

"A recent UW study explored current gender disparities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and it concluded that an unwelcoming culture was the main deterrent to women entering these fields.

Lead author Sapna Cheryan, an associate professor in psychology, said that most studies focus on disparities in STEM fields as a whole, but this one focused on the presence of higher representation in some fields versus others. Although women are well-represented in certain STEM fields like biology, chemistry, and math, the disparity becomes more apparent in computer science, engineering, and physics. 

“What we wanted to do was really shift the focus, putting the lens on women in the fields and understanding why is it that some fields have been able to incorporate women better than others,” Cheryan said. “By doing that, I think it opens up a new avenue of solutions. Instead of changing the women, you could instead change the culture of these fields to make women feel more welcome.”

The study attributed potential differences between more and less gender-balanced fields to the presence of masculine culture in the classroom, which encompasses current stereotypes about who has ability in STEM fields, and a lack of relatable role models. Another significant factor is insufficient early exposure to engineering and physics fields. Courses in computer science, engineering, and physics are not offered as frequently at the high school level compared to biology, chemistry, and mathematics. 

Lack of prior experience can deter students, especially women, from taking weed-out classes and applying to programs that are less gender-balanced. This makes sense. If you’re thrown into a class where 50 percent of the class will fail and you’re learning the material for the first time, staying afloat seems like a Sisyphean task.

Lack of exposure to engineering fields prior to college also plays a role in potential disparities. Addressing this problem starts with creating a culture where women are encouraged to explore these fields and access mentors who can connect with them on an intellectual and experiential level..."

Local software startup raises nearly $4M

"Vancouver has a new startup software firm and it’s taking off like a rocket. A spin-off of event-planning firm Dynamic Events, Hubb Inc. focuses on streamlining the collection, management and marketing of event content relating to speakers, sessions and event sponsors.

“Meeting Planning International has done a study that shows 66 percent of attendees choose to register and pay based on the content they see on an event’s website,” said Allison Magyar, Hubb CEO and owner of Dynamic Events. “Hubb drives registration dollars and speeds up the ability to go to market with event content.”

Magyar said that the Dynamic Events team realized they needed automated tools to be more efficient. So in 2012, they built their own software. They used it internally until 2014.

“Then I had an epiphany,” said Magyar. “If we’re getting so much value from our software, let’s help other meeting planners do the same thing!”

The firm conducted a proof of concept (PoC) in 2015 and it was so successful that they split Hubb off as its own entity, hired a few new key people and took it to market. By the end of 2015 Hubb had 21 customers (including Intel and Microsoft).

Hubb has really accelerated in 2016 due to the “huge market opportunity.” Magyar decided to seek venture capital funding to advance the company faster than was possible by self-funding. So far, the firm has raised just under $4 million from the Oregon Angel Fund, Elevate Capital and other sources. Hubb was also the first-place winner at both the Seattle Angel Conference and the Bend Venture Conference..."

Digital Marketing Trends for 2017 and Beyond - January 24

How will Content Marketing, SEO, Social, Design, and UX evolve in 2017 and the future? Our expert panel will share their thoughts on the future of these and other digital marketing tactics. ** Space is limited so RSVP ASAP**

Drinks, snacks & networking: 5:30 - 6pm (Sponsored by the IPZ - Innovation Partnership Zone)
Expert Panel Discussion: 6-7pm

Panel Includes: 

• Dene Grigar, Director of the Digital Technology Program at WSU

• David Portney, Senior SEO Manager at 3Q Digital

• Wes Button, Creative Director at Webfor

• Matt Malone, Senior Marketing Analyst at Gravitate Design

Networking: 7-7:30pm

Looking forward to seeing you all there at our first DMQ Meetup!

Sponsored by the Innovation Partnership Zone (They're providing the food/snacks)


Tuesday, January 24
1002 Main St., Vancouver, WA

What the 'Gig Economy' Looks Like in Cities

"The rise of the internet and digital technology has disrupted industry after industry, from the way we shop, bank, and consume media to the way we make restaurant reservations, hail rides, and find places to stay when we travel. But now it appears that digital technologies are disrupting and reshaping our cities and metropolitan areas, too.

A big part of this has been the ongoing transformation of traditional jobs into essentially freelance “gigs.” Companies like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb, among others, have created online marketplaces to transform traditional jobs, like driving taxis or working in hotels, into independent work. The “gig economy” refers to the growing share of employment and the economy that is made up of this independent work, where apps and digital technology essentially match freelance workers to customers and service providers.

These changes have led to a heated debate on whether the gig economy is a good or bad thing for workers or the economy. The optimistic perspective believes that the gig economy is leading to new forms of work and more efficient service delivery.  The more pessimistic take is that the gig economy is essentially replacing higher-paying, more secure traditional jobs with more contingent and precarious work.

We all have an intuitive sense of these issues, as the gig economy is growing and becoming large. But, up until now, we’ve lacked comparable and systematic data on its true scope and extent.

A new report by Ian Hathaway and Mark Muro of the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program pulls data from the Census bureau on “nonemployer firms,” which tracks the activities of business establishments that make $1,000 a year or more in gross revenues but employ no workers. The report uses that data to estimate both the extent and reach of the gig economy, and the geographic shape it is taking on across America’s 50 largest metro areas. While they are cautious to stress the limitations of these data, their research generates a couple of big takeaways.

The ‘gig economy’ is larger than we think, and growing rapidly

The economy writ large has added nearly 10 million gig-economy firms over the past decade and a half, growing from 15 million non-employer businesses in 1997 to 24 million in 2014, a 60 percent increase. For comparison’s sake, payroll jobs grew from 129 million to 145 million over this same period, an increase of 12.4 percent. Another way of putting it is that today’s gig economy firms are roughly equivalent to roughly 16.6 percent of payroll employment..."