Supporters from government, business and higher education to celebrate success milestone of the initiative to accelerate tech-based startups in the South Willamette Valley
Gov. John Kitzhaber signed a Declaration of Cooperation in support of the Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network (RAIN) at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 28, at the RAIN Eugene Accelerator housed within the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, 1401 Willamette St., in Eugene.
An outgrowth of the Oregon Regional Solutions process and funded by the Oregon Legislature in the amount of $3.75 million, RAIN is a partnership among the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Eugene, Corvallis, Springfield, Albany, the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce and other regional entities to encourage innovation-based companies and research-inspired startups. The Declaration of Cooperation marks an important milestone in the RAIN Regional Solutions project, signifying broad on-going support of the project among the partners.
“We’re pleased to have the Governor in Eugene to sign this certificate of support,” said RAIN Director Jim Coonan. “It reflects the state of Oregon’s strong commitment to a knowledge-based future where technology and innovation will be the driving forces of our economy.”
Joining Gov. Kitzhaber and Coonan at the ceremony will be University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson, Oregon State University Executive Associate Vice President for Research Ron Adams, Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning, and RAIN Governing Board Member and Palo Alto Software CEO Sabrina Parsons. Members of the RAIN Governing Board will also be in attendance, along with officials from the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce and the RAIN accelerators. The event will include brief remarks on the importance of RAIN to Oregon universities, the impact on the business community and the long-term benefits to local and state economies. The broad mix of attendees at the event reflects the collaborative spirit of RAIN and sets the stage for the program’s first chapter, Coonan said.
The first phase of RAIN calls for the establishment of venture accelerators located near UO and OSU, offering mentoring and launch support to promising early-stage tech companies. Corvallis’ OSU Advantage Accelerator @ RAIN Corvallis is up and running with 15 startup companies. Eugene’s RAIN Eugene Accelerator is now accepting applications for its first cohort. The startups will have access to university laboratories and assistance from faculty members and business people with applicable skills. The aim is to provide emerging companies with the resources and infrastructure they need to succeed and to help researchers and technologists spin off new private companies that create jobs for Oregonians.
“This dynamic initiative represents a prime opportunity to harness Oregon’s higher education and broader business resources,” Coonan said. “It’s a chance to fast forward our region’s innovation economy, and we’re all anxious to see the results of this exciting collaboration.”
The Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network (RAIN) is a consortium of government, higher education and the business community created to advance the formation and growth of tech-based startups in the South Willamette Valley. RAIN brings together business, community members, government and higher education in a concerted effort to accelerate the formation, growth and retention of technology businesses and regional jobs by linking the accelerator programs at the University of Oregon and Oregon State University with regional innovation resources.