With small businesses booming in Bend, OSU-Cascades hopes to use its position to help support the growth of them.
Earlier this year, the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council was awarded an annual $75,000 grant from the federal government to foster economic development, part of which will go toward OSU-Cascades’ proposed Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs. The exact amount has not been clarified this far. There, local startups would find a creative space to develop with help from students and professors. Students would be allowed to intern at the center, providing them with first-hand experience in what it’s like to start a business.
Startups would be provided office space for extended periods of time. While the young businesses would still be expected to pay rent, it would cost much less than renting space in town.
The Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs would share space with FoundersPad, an organization that provides training for entrepreneurs in business skills and helps them find mentors. Past successes for FoundersPad include droplr, an image and document sharing app, and Signalfy, an app which helps fans find electronic music events.
Seven Peaks Ventures has also partnered with OSU-Cascades to help cultivate successful projects at the center.
By 2018, the center could create 200 jobs, according to a report by Economic Development for Central Oregon.
The grant’s intended purpose is to provide COIC with the funding to support other organizations in developing projects like community centers.
Marisa Funk | The Broadside