Starting a new business is hard, especially if it’s your first attempt. Thanks to the Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovative Network (RAIN) program, taking that first step has become a lot easier. With a professional network of mentors, strategists, and investors that span the South Valley and Mid-Coast regions, even an established entrepreneur can learn a thing or two.
The Oregon RAIN program was established through Oregon Regional Solutions with the ambitious goal of shifting our regional economy from one that is resource-based to “one focused on knowledge and innovation,” according to a 2016 Regional Solutions Update from the Governor’s Office.
The update went on to say that fostering a “healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region… would move our economy forward and encourage growth,” and “will help generate jobs and prosperity in the region.” The RAIN program serves Linn, Benton, Lane, and Lincoln counties.
The program works toward these goals by creating, maintaining, and growing a network of professionals—private business owners, entrepreneurs, government entities, and public institutions like OSU and UO—and connecting you with them. By building such a network, RAIN offers the support to not only launch a new venture, but for that undertaking to thrive and grow.
Oregon Regional Solutions estimated that last year between Jan. 1 and June 30, the RAIN program generated 116 jobs, $1.9 million in revenue, and 13 companies graduated the OSU and UO accelerator programs. During that time, RAIN professionally assisted an additional 126 companies.
In Corvallis, Oregon RAIN is partnered with the OSU Advantage Accelerator (OSUAA). OSUAA is focused on early-stage and start-up ventures in the traded sector and offers both an accelerator program and an incubator program. The accelerator is an intensive month-long program, while the incubator is a more immersive experience tailored to your specific venture.
In three stages of learning, OSUAA will help you iterate your idea through research and product, market, and industry identification. Next, they accelerate your growth by helping you test the feasibility of your product, validate your business, and target potential customers. Finally, they will stand by you when you launch your company, help generate customer growth, and transition out of R&D and into production.
If you are thinking about finally making that jump into self-employment, do yourself a favor and check out all your options. Whether or not RAIN and OSUAA is for you is your decision, but one thing is for sure—developing a network of professionals between fields is important to operating a successful business, and that is exactly what RAIN wants to do for you.