Author Archives: Edcoevents

Bend-Redmond Ranked #1 Best-Performing Small City for 2016 by Milken Institute

BEND, Ore. – December 14, 2016 – Bend-Redmond, Oregon, tops the U.S. Best-Performing Small Cities index, rising from eighth the previous year. The metro improves in seven of the nine indicators. The health-care system provides economic stability. The central Oregon economy is vibrant and has been able to diversity its economic base through the new waves of innovation.

Read the full story here.

Ruffwear is one of Outside’s Best Places to Work

BEND, Ore. – December 13, 2016 –  Each year, Outside magazine releases a list of 100 companies that go beyond work-life balance by making employee health and happiness a point of pride. Ruffwear is honored and humbled to be included among Outside’s 100 Best Places to Work for 2016.

To be considered for this list, companies from across the country enter a two-part survey process. The first part evaluates each company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems, and demographics. The second part consists of an employee survey to measure personal experience. The combined score determines the top companies and the final ranking.

Read the full story here.

MOVE: Q&A with George Pierce, Owner, Pierce Footwear

BEND, Ore. – December 6th, 2016 – Former champion duathlete (run-bike-run) George Pierce was inspired to make a comeback to racing after a near death bike-truck accident in 2010. While rehabilitating fractured vertebrae in his back and neck, Pierce developed a new type of footwear that addressed the problem of getting in and out of shoes, both for multi-sport athletes and those with limited mobility. Six years later, Pierce Footwear is helping all types of athletes put their best feet forward.

EDCO: What inspired you to start Pierce Footwear?

GP: Prior to the accident, I’d been retired from the sport for about seven years. Afterwards, I realized I was lucky to be alive and decided to make a comeback with the goal of making the U.S. Duathalon Team. I trained every day and made the team in 2011. I went to World’s in Spain and placed 7th that year.

During my training, I knew there had to be a way to improve transition speed when changing shoes (twice in duathlons). I asked a friend to build the first prototype out of an old pair of Sauconys…and they worked! I raced in them two weeks later and immediately cut 5% off my T1 (first transition) and T2 (second transition) times. I filed patents right after that race in 2012. Since then, I’ve gone back and forth to a Korean shoe factory five times in the last three years to refine the product.

prototypes

The first six prototypes, including v.1 (Saucony shoe, far left)

EDCO: Why did you choose to move your business to Central Oregon?

GP: We moved here from Palo Alto, Calif., in August 2016 for several reasons – there’s more visibility for the product, more people who use the product, greater workforce potential, tremendous community support, and compelling tax breaks.

Jay Dicharry PT, SCS, from Rebound Physical Therapy was actually an inspiration for the shoe. He wrote an article on foot dynamics and how footwear should allow the foot to perform. I didn’t realize he was from Bend when I first read the article – it was just a happy coincidence.

EDCO: How did EDCO help with your move?

GP: I first talked to EDCO back in the summer/fall of 2015 during the Outside Games after a local resident suggested I connect with you. Since then, EDCO has provided a lot of friendly help – making introductions (including to the Bend High Cross Country coach), finding housing, storing product, and getting us involved with Oregon Outdoor Alliance (OOA), the Bend Venture Conference and Opportunity Knocks (OK).

EDCO: What’s next for Pierce Footwear?

GP: Well, Pierce Footwear and Special Olympics have a history of empowering athletes through sport, spirit and courage. It all started in 2014 when I met someone from the Special Olympics Committee who thought the shoes could work for their athletes. We’ve sponsored teams in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and have had several athletes on the podium wearing Pierce Footwear. I’m now a global ambassador for Special Olympics triathlons and in March 2017, we’re sponsoring 2,000 athletes as part of the first-ever shoe program for the Special Olympic, followed by pilot projects in Latin America, Europe and China.  We’re currently raising funds to help support our donation of 2,000 pairs of shoes. (EDCO note: To find out more or to donate, click here.)

special-olympics-tri-team-wahsington-dc
2016 Special Olympics Triathlon Team for Nations Triathlon Sept. 11

EDCO: Any advice for companies moving to the area?

GP: Call EDCO and work with Tom (Rowley, EDCO’s Bend Manager). Talk to people. Network. It’s easy to get to know the community here. Everyone is so friendly. I would also recommend joining an OK group. I didn’t even know this existed before I moved here and it is fantastic. I’m actually in two groups now (one for the outdoor industry and one for manufacturing) and they offer so much guidance and support.

For outdoor companies, I recommend getting plugged into OOA. I applied to their Venture Out Conference and made it to the semi-finals. I will definitely do that again next year.

For more information on how EDCO can help you move your business to Central Oregon, please call (541) 388-3236.

Forbes: How The Outdoor Industry Is Creating A Huge Boom In Bend

BEND, Ore. – November 28, 2016 – Bend, Oregon is booming. In fact, it had the highest job growth rate in the entire country last  year.

To be totally honest, before my husband’s company Fat Chance Bikes was chosen for the 2016 Bend Outdoor Worx program (the only outdoor industry incubator in the country), the only thing I knew about Bend was that it was three hours north of my new town of Ashland and cold. A couple of visits later and my mind is blown; I’ll tell you why:

For the full story: Here

$186,000 Raised at second Civil War Rally and Auctions

BEND, Ore. – November 17, 2016 – Last week Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) and Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend (BGCB) teamed up to host the Second Annual Civil War Rally & Auction, raising more than $186,000 to support our kids, our families and economic opportunities for all. The event, held at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes, brought business leaders, parents, community members, coaches, players, and alumni together for a night of spirited rivalry and fundraising in support of the two non-profits.

EDCO and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend believe that successful economic development begins with healthy families and kids. The foundation of healthy families is gainful employment. Together, they form a strong partnership that fulfills the promise of a thriving community. BGCB’s youth development programs ensure that the economic opportunities EDCO creates today will be met by the emerging workforce of tomorrow.

With the help of sponsors, volunteers, staff, partners, talent, donors, and more than 400 attendees, the Riverhouse on the Deschutes was transformed into a football stadium, complete with the energy and excitement of the Civil War game. Event highlights included almost 200 live and silent auction items, gourmet tailgating food, referee auctioneers, on-field announcers and sportscasters, field turf and sponsor box seats, Summit High School Pep Band, emcee Bob Grim, ex-NFL and Oregon State football player, and appearances by Pat Casey, head baseball coach for Oregon State, and Brent Haberly, University of Oregon linebacker (2002-2006).

“It’s wonderful to see our organizations and the community come together for the second year in a row to make this event such a huge success,” said Roger Lee, Executive Director for EDCO. “Thanks to everyone who sponsored, volunteered and attended. This is truly a joint venture.”

“As an organization, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend could not be more excited about this continued partnership with EDCO,” said Derek Beauvais, Executive Director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend. “And, the support from the community has been amazing. We look forward to making year three even bigger and better next November!”

 

About the Partnership
Successful economic development creates a strong base of middle class jobs and a diverse, stable economy. It also begins with healthy families and kids who have the support they need to secure careers and pursue their education. Together, Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend (BGCB) form a natural partnership that fulfills this promise of a thriving community.

The BGCB provides parents with quality, affordable youth development programs after school and all summer long so they can go to work confident their kids are in a safe positive and caring environment where they can learn and grow. Boys & Girls Clubs’ academic success and career readiness programs are preparing the next generation for higher education as well as the nation’s workforce. It is a long-term investment and one that ensures the economic opportunities EDCO creates today will be met by the emerging workforce of tomorrow.

 

About the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend (BGCB) seeks to enable and inspire all young people, especially those who need it most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. At their two locations, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend offers youth ages 5-18 life-changing programs, focusing on Academic SuccessHealthy Lifestyles and Character & Citizenship. For more information, visit www.bgcbend.org.

 

About Economic Development for Central Oregon

Celebrating its 35th year, Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) is a non-profit corporation supported by private and public members and stakeholders, whose mission is to create middle-class jobs in Central Oregon by recruiting new employers to move to the region, helping entrepreneurs start new, scalable businesses, and working with businesses that are already here to grow their operations. For more information, visit www.edcoinfo.com.

###

Media Contacts

Derek Beauvais, Executive Director

Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend

541.617.2877 x10

dbeauvais@bgcbend.org

Natalie Dent, Marketing & Communications Manager

EDCO

541.388.3236 x6

natalie@edcoinfo.com

UPDATE: The 2016 Bend Venture Conference Awards Over $3,918,000 in Funding

BEND, Ore. – October 19, 2016 – Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) last week hosted the 13th Annual Bend Venture Conference (BVC) and announced that over $3,918,000 was awarded in investments and cash prizes, setting a new record for Oregon angel conferences and making it one of the top angel conferences in the country.

The conference featured four competition categories, 12 winners and investments made by numerous investment groups including BendBroadband Business, Business Oregon, BVC LLC, Cascade Angels, Craft3, Elevate Capital, Office of the State Treasurer, Oregon Angel Fund, Oregon BEST, Oregon Community Foundation, and Trigen Investments.

Growth Stage Competition

This competition, which included companies with a proven concept and initial revenues, had five winners:

  • Hubb (Vancouver, Wash.), a SaaS platform for event management, was awarded $2,515,000, making them BVC’s biggest winner.
  • RFPIO Inc. (Portland, Ore.), a SaaS solution that streamlines the RFP response process, was awarded $350,000.
  • Outdoor Project (Portland, Ore.), the fastest growing media platform for outdoor recreation and travel, was awarded $150,000.
  • Scout Military Discount (Portland, Ore.), an app that allows the military community to receive discounts, was awarded $125,000.
  • Fat Chance Bicycles (Ashland, Ore.), an iconic heritage mountain bike brand, was awarded $100,000.
The Bend Venture Conference's big winner, Allie Magyar of Hubb, walked away with four checks totaling $2,515,000.

The Bend Venture Conference’s big winner, Allie Magyar of Hubb, walked away with four checks totaling $2,515,000.

Social Impact Competition

This competition, which included for-profit companies with an integrated social or environmental mission, had three winners:

  • Sudara (Bend, Ore.), a company that designs and manufactures beautiful products in India, creating jobs for survivors of sex-trafficking, was awarded $250,000.
  • OpConnect (Portland, Ore.), a company that sells and operates smart electric vehicle charging stations, was awarded $100,000.
  • Hemex Health (Portland, Ore.), a company that provides new diagnostics for malaria and sickle cell disease, was awarded $50,000.

Early Stage Competition

This competition, which included companies who were close to “proof of concept” and pre or early revenue, had two winners:

  •  Cascade Wellness Technologies (Sunriver, Ore.), manufacturer of an Automated Thermal Contrast device to non-evasively increase blood flow to the body, was awarded $100,000.
  • CushCore (Bend, Ore.), manufacturer of an Inner-Tire Suspension System for mountain bikes, was awarded $15,000.

Venture Out Competition

The first venture event focused solely on the outdoor industry, hosted by Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW) and the Oregon Outdoor Alliance (OOA) in collaboration with EDCO, had three winners: 

  • SnoPlanks (Bend, Ore.), maker of handcrafted bamboo snowboards and skis, was awarded $100,000.
  • TOUGHER (Corvallis, Ore.), maker of durable and functional work wear for women, won $10,000.
  • CushCore (mentioned above) was awarded $3,000.

“The goal of this conference is to bring together investors and companies in the hopes that through the process some magic will occur and companies will get discovered and funded,” said Brian Vierra, Venture Catalyst for EDCO. “This year, due to a high level of collaboration between both angel and venture funds, institutions and the State itself, we succeeded to a level the conference hasn’t seen before. This resulted in a new record of almost $4 million for investment deployed.”

About the Bend Venture Conference
The Bend Venture Conference, hosted by Economic Development for Central Oregon, is one of the largest angel conferences in the country. More than 500 attendees, six funds, 32 prominent investors, and 90 companies participated in this year’s conference, where close to $4 million was awarded to 12 winners.

###

Press Contact

Brian Vierra

Venture Catalyst Manager

EDCO

(541) 388.3236 x5

brian@edcoinfo.com

Forbes: Bend, Ore., Heads The Best Small Cities For Business And Careers 2016

BEND, Ore. – October 19th, 2016 – Bend, Ore., was hammered by the Great Recession as unemployment peaked at 17.2% in March 2009. Home prices fell more than 50% from their 2006 highs and new construction ground to a halt. Residents coined the phrase “poverty with a view” for the picturesque Central Oregon locale.

Read the rest of the article here.

Over $3,755,000 in Funding Awarded at the Bend Venture Conference

BEND, Ore. – October 14, 2016 – Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) hosted the 13th Annual Bend Venture Conference (BVC) to a sold-out crowd and just announced the winners of $3,755,000 in investments and cash prizes, setting a new record for Oregon angel conferences. Side investment deals are still being finalized.

Growth Stage Competition

The Growth Stage Competition, which included companies that had a proven concept and initial revenues, had five different winners.

Winners of BVC, LLC, Investment Awards*:

  • Hubb (Vancouver, Wash.), a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that automates the business process for collecting, managing and marketing the abstracts, speakers and sponsors for conferences and meetings, was awarded $140,000.
  • A secondary investment of $100,000 was awarded to RFPIO Inc.(Portland, Ore.), a SaaS solution that streamlines the RFP response process and increases the win rate through automation, collaboration and Salesforce integration.

Winner of a Business Oregon Award:

  • Fat Chance Bicycles (Ashland, Ore.), an iconic heritage mountain bike brand, was awarded $100,000 by Business Oregon.

Winners of Cascade Angels Fund Investment Awards:

  • Hubb was awarded $175,000.
  • A secondary investment of $150,000 was awarded to Outdoor Project (Portland, Ore.), the fastest growing media platform in the U.S. for outdoor recreation and travel.

Winners of Elevate Capital Investment Awards:

  • Hubbwas awarded $450,000.
  • A second investment of $250,000 was awarded to RFPIO.
  • A third investment of $125,000 was awarded to Scout Military Discount(Portland, Ore.), an app that allows the military community to receive discounts, offers and special savings.

Winner of the Oregon Angel Fund (OAF) Investment Award:

  • Hubbwas awarded $1,750,000.

*The investment arm of the conference, BVC, LLC, awarded the Growth Stage investments following considerable due diligence of each of the five presenting finalists. The investment included $25,000 from Oregon Community Foundation and $50,000 from Oregon Growth Account.

Social Impact Competition

The Social Impact Competition, which included for-profit companies with an integrated social or environmental mission, had three different winners.

Winners of BVC, LLC, Investment Awards:

  • Hemex Health (Portland, Ore.), a company that provides new diagnostics for malaria and sickle cell disease, was awarded $50,000.
  • A second investment of $50,000 was awarded to OpConnect (Portland, Ore.), a company that sells and operates smart electric vehicle charging stations.

Winner of a Craft3 Investment Award:

  • Sudara (Bend, Ore.), a company that designs and manufactures beautiful products in India, creating jobs for survivors of sex-trafficking, was awarded $250,000.

Winner of an Elevate Capital Investment Award:

Early Stage Competition

Winner of the BendBroadband Business Early Stage Competition:

  • CushCore (Bend, Ore.) won the $15,000 BendBroadband Business Early Stage Cash Prize. For this competition, conference attendees voted on the company they believed could benefit the most from the money. CushCore manufactures an Inner-Tire Suspension System for mountain bikes.

Winner of a Business Oregon Award:

  • PubTalk semi-finalist Cascade Wellness Technologies (Sunriver, Ore.) was awarded $100,000. Cascade Wellness Technologies produces an Automated Thermal Contrast device to non-evasively increase blood flow to the body.

A record ten companies received funding and the conference’s big winner was Hubb, walking away with $2,515,000.

“The goal of the Bend Venture Conference is to bring together investors and investable companies in the hopes that through the process some magic will occur and companies will get discovered and funded,” said Brian Vierra, Venture Catalyst for EDCO. “This year, due to a high level of collaboration between both angel and venture funds, institutions and the State itself, we succeeded to a level the conference hasn’t seen before. This has resulted in a new record of almost $4 million for investment deployed through an angel conference in the northwest.”

About the Bend Venture Conference
The Bend Venture Conference (BVC), hosted by Economic Development for Central Oregon, is the largest angel conference in the Pacific Northwest. This year, the conference is divided into three competition categories that consist of Social Impact, Early Stage and Growth Stage companies vying for investment and cash prizes. In 2015, more than 465 attendees, 50 prominent investors and 65 companies joined us for a celebration of entrepreneurship and close to $1 million was awarded to multiple winners. For more information, visit www.bendvc.com.

About Economic Development for Central Oregon

Celebrating its 35th year, Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) is a non-profit corporation supported by private and public members and stakeholders, whose mission is to create middle-class jobs in Central Oregon by recruiting new employers to move to the region, helping entrepreneurs start new, scalable businesses, and working with businesses that are already here to grow their operations. For more information, visit www.edcoinfo.com.

###

Press Contact

Brian Vierra

Venture Catalyst Manager

EDCO

(541) 388.3236 x5

brian@edcoinfo.com

MOVE: Q&A with Matt Foster, Owner, Maverick Leather Company

BEND, Ore. – September 6th, 2016 – While showing us a 50-year-old milling drum used to soften leather, Matt Foster, Owner of Maverick Leather Company, talked to EDCO about the successful relocation of his business, his family and his entire team from Petaluma, California to Central Oregon over the summer.

EDCO: Tell us about Maverick Leather Company.

MF: Maverick Leather Company became a reality in June 2006. Although we’re still a relatively new company, I’ve been in the “leather world” for over 30 years. Maverick Leather prides itself on our ability to attain hard to find leathers and job lots. We offer a versatile selection from Horween to Latigo & Bridle to Upholstery Leather and everything in between. At Maverick Leather, customer service is our #1 priority and we enjoy building a personal relationship with each customer. Everybody has a story to tell.

EDCO: Why did you decide to relocate to Central Oregon?

MF: It was a lifestyle and personal decision. My son, James, had been here attending flight school for about a year. We came for a visit and there was an instant connection with the area. Then, we did some research and realized there weren’t any other companies in Central Oregon doing what we do. Since we can run this business anywhere, we thought “Why not here?” But, I was still a bit hesitant to take the leaf of faith and it was my daughter, Erin, who was the one to convince me to move the business, the family and all our employees. She is responsible for reigniting my passion. She is the “glue” and also an owner. Without her, we would not be in Bend.

EDCO: Any advice for companies moving to the area?

MF: Call EDCO! They helped us with contacts for accounting, legal advice, banking, technology, and commercial brokers, who found us the perfect warehouse space. We couldn’t have done this without them.

EDCO: Where do you see Maverick Leather five years down the road?

MF: With the “craft movement” in this country really taking off, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing. There’s a real demand for our leather. We have customers, large and small, from all over the country buying it to make saddles, shoes, boots, wallets, purses, portfolios, belts, and many other things. Combine this with our knowledge and exceptional customer service and we’ve carved out a great niche. There may be an opportunity to expand our cutting operation and cut custom shapes for our customers, but we’ll see what happens down the road.

EDCO: Anything else you’d like the community to know about Maverick Leather?

MF: Yes, we want the community to know that we’re happy to be here! And, if you’re interested in leather, our doors are always open. Our staff is amazing and no job is too big or too small for us.

group

We’ll also be having a Ribbon Cutting and Open House on Thursday, November 5, from 3-7 p.m. to celebrate. We hope people will stop by and say hello!

(EDCO note: Maverick Leather is located at 63055 Corporate Place, Space #6. The event is free and open to the public. For more information about Maverick Leather, visit their website.)

GROW: Q&A with Eric Power, Owner, Bend Velo/J. Livingston Bikes

BEND, Ore. – August 29th, 2016 – With a motto like “Ride upright, not uptight” and a vision to “make the world a better place, one bicycle at a time,” it’s no wonder J. Livingston Bikes are making a name for themselves. From his shop in Bend’s Makers District, Eric Power talks to EDCO about the brand’s beautifully repurposed commuter bikes.

EDCO: What’s the story behind J. Livingston Bikes?

The company is named for my good friend John Livingston. John was the first person I met during my first visit to Bend in 2002. After we moved to Bend, John and I became great friends, and while our love of cycling was our bond, our choice of bikes was very different. John’s bikes were a mishmash of parts he’d acquired from who knows where. Mine were expensive racing bikes. One day on a cruise around town, John challenged me to explain what made my fancy bike any better than the bike he’d cobbled together from a 1980s steel mountain-bike frame. As I attempted to formulate my argument, I realized I had no case. And so, what started as a friendly argument ended with an idea for a new bike brand.

Fast forward to today and we’ve built over 1,000 J. Livingston Bikes from our shop, Bend Velo. We’ve stayed true to our roots and continue to repurpose old steel bikes into stylish, comfortable, affordable, commuter town bikes.

jl-and-ep
John Livingston and Eric Power

EDCO: Tell us more about the mission of J. Livingston.

EP: J. Livingston has a social mission to get more people out of their cars and onto bikes. By creating practical bikes for real world use, we can solve some of our country’s issues—health issues, parking, congestion, and environmental issues.

EDCO: Why Bend?

EP: We chose Bend to live and then we found a way to make a living. Not the other way around. We saw a need for a commuter-style bike shop here and opened Bend Velo in 2009. We’re all about practical cycling, not racing, which is different than most of the shops in town.

EDCO: What is your background?

EP: I was a junior bike racer for many years. Then, when I went to college, I got a degree in accounting and business management, followed by a Master’s in sports management. So, I guess J. Livingston is the intersection of my passion and my education.

EDCO: What local resources have helped your business?

EP: We use locally sourced parts and labor as much as possible – we powder coat our bikes locally, manufacture parts and decals here and use a local welder (who’s now in-house). We’re all about helping other businesses. We’ve created an ecosystem.

Bend is also great for networking and we’ve done a lot of that, too. Several local businesses have our bikes on display in their stores, including Backporch Coffee, North Soles and Cascade Cottons.

EDCO: Where do you see J. Livingston in 3-5 years?

EP: We’ve seen a steady increase in sales year over year (about 7-10% every year). But, we mainly sell our bikes to locals and just a small number go to tourists from places like Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, and Phoenix. There’s definitely a market for what we do, so we’re going to explore pop-up stores or sprinter vans in those larger metros.

We’d also like to expand our corporate bike program. I don’t think many people know that we build custom, logoed, branded bikes for businesses. We’ve done them for the U.S. Forest Service, OSU-Cascades, Commute Options, and Wall Street Suites, to name a few. As Bend gets busier, more businesses will want to find ways for their employees to commute on bikes.

wall-street-suites

For more information about J. Livingston Bikes, visit www.jlivingstonbikes.com.