EUGENE, Ore. — Governor John Kitzhaber stopped in Eugene Wednesday to sign a declaration of cooperation that could help boost our local economy. The Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network is expected to create tech start-ups here in the Willamette Valley and keep these companies in the local area. Something business leaders say is a win-win for everyone involved.
While raindrops fell outside of the Eugene Chamber of Commerce, local and state leaders were inside celebrating a different kind of rain. “I think the rain that we’re here to celebrate today is the kind of rain that we need a lot more of here in the state of Oregon. By bringing entrepreneurs and their ideas together with the resources necessary to turn those ideas into companies this community endeavor is going to make a lasting contribution,” said Gov. John Kitzhaber.
This collaboration between the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, the cities of Eugene and Corvallis, as well as the Chamber of Commerce will give entrepreneurs the resources they need to be successful. “When they come into the accelerator and after they’re through the accelerator they have to go somewhere. We want those companies to stay in our community. So the innovation network is working with our community to build all of the resources that they need to get companies to stay here in the Southern Willamette Valley,” said Joe Maruschak, chief startup officer Eugene RAIN.
This network is expected to bring money back into the local economy. “Provided an important vehicle for planning, sharing of best practices and resources and communicating our shared commitment to a vibrant regional economy,” said Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning.
Something these research universities are excited to be a part of. “Produce lots of innovation, lots of creative ideas, bring lots of research to our area. Lots of extramural research dollars to our area and this project is going to help animate those dollars to create jobs, companies, ideas, evermore for the state,” said University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson.
Not only will RAIN plant a seed for the economy in the Willamette Valley to grow, but it will also help students take the next step in their future careers. “When I head the word sprouts I was thinking of our students, so there’s a lot going on here besides building companies,” said Ron Adams, OSU Vice President of Research.
The accelerator will open at the Eugene Chamber of Commerce in about a month. Once open, entrepreneurs will take a three month class where they’ll connect with all the resources needed to build a successful company.