Deschutes Public Library: A Great Resource for Small Businesses

Pictures of Deschutes Library from outside

Bend, Ore. – December, 4, 2019: If you own or are looking to start a business in Central Oregon, there’s a good chance you know Liisa Sjoblom, a community librarian whose work focuses on supporting the business community, nonprofits and those seeking employment. Liisa helps customers with business planning by researching market and industry data. She also assists nonprofits with information on grant opportunities and individuals who are looking to update their resumes.

We sat down with Liisa for a brief Q&A to learn more about how the library is helping small businesses.

EDCO: What resources do you have available for small businesses?

Liisa: The Deschutes Public Library offers a suite of online Small Business Resources that can help with all aspects of your business including industry research, consumer demographics and information about competitors. Access to this information is through the library’s business research site.

EDCO: Are there any costs associated with using these resources?

Liisa: No. All resources and services are free to use. Most resources are available 24/7 from home or office with the use of your library card.

EDCO: How can someone learn more about using the resources?

Liisa:
Through the library’s Book-a-Librarian Service. You can set up a time with a librarian to learn how to use any of the resources. You can also request information for your particular business endeavor. We can pull data and push it out electronically to you and then meet to discuss the findings. We also provide referral services to the business support network in Central Oregon.

EDCO: Tell us about the newly launched business newsletter?

Liisa: The first quarterly edition of Business News went out to subscribers in October. It is for anyone interested in small business development in the region. It features business resources and services available at your library and beyond. Find out about new books and online resources from the library plus other information about library partners and featured websites.

EDCO: How has your partnership with EDCO helped you in your role with the library?

Liisa: Networking and referrals are the most important piece of my work with EDCO. The ability to network with business owners and entrepreneurs at PubTalk, the Bend Venture Conference and other EDCO sponsored events have been invaluable. I’m constantly making connections and talking with people about what the library can offer at these events. I make referrals to EDCO with people that I work with and in turn, I receive referrals from EDCO for their clients. I also make liberal use of the Central Oregon Community information they compile annually. 

EDCO: Any final thoughts about providing support to the small business community?

Liisa: I like helping people fulfill their dreams as they start planning their new business ventures. It’s exciting to hear about what people are planning and then see those businesses succeed. It’s all about connecting people with the information that will make them successful.

Other Library News: 

Growing for the Future
The library is preparing for its centennial celebration in 2020. As the population in Deschutes County continues to grow, the library invites local residents to join in on a series of forums scheduled throughout the county. Here, residents will have the opportunity to be a part of interactive discussions with the library architects regarding future renovation, expansion and enhancement plans for the local libraries. Provide thoughts and insight into your library needs including space, collections, programmings, and services. A list of scheduled forums can be found here.

START: Volitant Consulting

Bend, Ore. (December 5, 2019) – Volitant Consulting is a new company specializing in Amazon marketing, advertising and product sales for local, national and international product-based businesses. Their main goal is to simply be a relief factor for businesses trying to make it in Amazon’s competitive, ever-changing sales environment. Volitant Consulting launched just over a year ago in a home office with three dedicated, energetic and forward-thinking entrepreneurs who have hit the ground running.

We sat down with Volitant’s Founder and CEO Justin Coats and one of their clients, Nail Magic, to hear how Volitant Consulting is directly helping them.

EDCO: Tell us more about the services you provide?

Volitant: Our services range from hourly consulting for businesses on a tight budget, companies that need anything from project help to full account management, PPC advertising management (utilizing machine learning to be the most efficient with our clients’ ad spend), E-commerce strategy, and other Amazon-related needs. We love working with companies who have a concern for family, the environment, personal health & well-being, and other products that encouraging healthy living.

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

Volitant: It was a natural step for me being a Bend native. After moving around a lot, being in the Marine Corps, getting my helicopter commercial rating, and being a deployed professional UAV pilot, I wanted to be home. My family wanted me home. So, I took this skill of managing Amazon accounts, something I’d been doing for a few years already, and started inquiring with local businesses. Once I noticed the deep need there was no holding me back, being able to take the stress of Amazon off local companies’ plates is what drove me to start my business. I’ve always called Bend home, born here and raised here and eastern Oregon. It really is amazing to be so involved with what keeps Bend growing. It’s local businesses. Not to mention everything we have in our backyard. Why wouldn’t you want to be here?

EDCO: What is it about Central Oregon’s startup ecosystem that has helped you?

Volitant: You know, there is such a buzz around the Central Oregon startup community, between EDCO’s PubTalks and other events, Bend Young Professionals, the OSU-Cascades Innovation Co-Lab, Opportunity Knocks, along with many other entrepreneur meetups. There is so much information and help out there. I haven’t even tapped into all of it yet but it’s been such a help. Navigating the do’s and don’ts for a young start-up, where your focus should be, how to best manage financials when you’re bootstrapping. Any question you have, any need you have, someone in this amazing community has been there and done that, just ask.

EDCO: Tell us about some projects you’ve worked on since you launched your business, including any success stories and lessons learned.

Volitant: The ball started rolling through several local companies that were pulling their hair out with Amazon, tried Amazon and failed, or were operating at a loss just to show up and protect their brand. Once they heard we could help, it was a done deal and we haven’t slowed down. With our expertise, drive and positive energy, we had one client see a 358% sales increase year over year.

We also specialize in IP enforcement. This is the biggest pet peeve of mine in the Amazon landscape. Talented individuals create an amazing product, start a business around that product, list it on Amazon (because you’re missing millions of buyers if you don’t) and then BAM! They find an infringing product, a counterfeit, or copyright, trademark infringement or worse, an infringement on their patent. We’ve helped a local company remove over 600 infringing products in 2019 thus far. This is definitely one of those enjoyable projects you write home about and makes you feel good!

One of my favorite clients and success stories is Nail Magic, based in Redmond. They’ve been with us for over a year now. When we first partnered, their sales were declining. Within a month, we turned that decline around, making it positive by 50%. Now, a year later, we are seeing over 80% growth AND we are getting ready to take them internationally!

Some lessons learned? Part of this process is looking and planning into the future. Right now we’re laying the foundations for growth in 2020 that will require hiring and training several new employees.

EDCO: What makes Volitant Consulting different?

Volitant: We have a unique trait that sets us apart from any other agency we’ve encountered – we care! That caring goes into our services and how we treat our clients which is why we’ve developed our own Brand Protection Strategies. We have developed close relationships with several IP lawyers to create processes that help companies enforce their IP on a platform that has previously made it nearly impossible to enforce. We also enforce trademark, copyright infringement and illegal reviews.

We also partner with several other digital marketing agencies. Having strategic partnerships allows us to offer the full package for product companies, which not many marketing agencies can say.

EDCO: How did you hear about EDCO and has the organization helped you and your business?

Volitant: We actually learned about EDCO while attending a PubTalk. We quickly realized that EDCO was going to be a vital catalyst in connecting us with local companies. EDCO has helped Volitant Consulting develope relationships with people who have the resources to help local businesses for financial help, business lawyers, banking, etc., as well as connecting us with local product companies looking to sell or who are currently selling on Amazon. EDCO has been such a great help and encouraging force for me to get out there, try new things, take meetings, push the limits and make it happen! Thank you!

Q&A with Megan Straughan, Nail Magic’s CEO 

EDCO: How did you hear about Volitant Consulting?  

Nail Magic: We heard about Volitant through Molly Renner, Owner at Sublime Creative Agency. We had been working with her for a couple of years and were seeing progress business-wide.  We wanted change our social media strategy and look into increasing our Amazon presence. She said I found a local guy who knows Amazon. Our reaction was that is so incredible and is he crazy? Amazon is a beast and finding someone who specializes in their system was a gift.

EDCO: How has Volitant helped you?

Nail Magic: Volitant understands the Amazon system and the way to correctly handle their requirements. We were struggling to understand how to grow with them and the unique dynamics of the Amazon platform. It is unlike any other customer we have dealt with. Volitant has and continues to assist us in growing our business. We have seen growth of over 80% compared to last year and went from selling on average 770 pieces a month to selling on average 1,341 pieces a month. We are also in the early stages of expanding the Amazon business globally with our next stop to be the United Kingdom.

EDCO’s PubTalk Returns Thursday, November 21

People laughing at McMenamins, PubTalk logo, EDCO logo

EDCO’S PUBTALK RETURNS THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21ST

FEATURING KIVA, LORA DICARLO, BRAINCHILD TECHNOLOGIES & LUDELA


Bend, Ore. (November 12, 2019)Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) has announced the speakers for the next Central Oregon PubTalk at McMenamins in downtown Bend on Thursday, November 21, at 5 pm. Tickets are on sale now and available via Eventbrite here.

EDCO’s Central Oregon PubTalk is a happy hour bringing together different facets of the business community to network, share ideas and further local businesses.

Keynote Speaker

Matthew Davie, Chief Strategy Officer, Kiva
Financial exclusion is a global problem: 1.7 billion adults lack access to even a basic savings account. Over the past 15 years, Kiva — a US-based non-profit — has worked to debunk the myth that poor people are not creditworthy by facilitating over $1.5 billion in micro-loans in 94 countries. During PubTalk, Matthew will cover Kiva’s history, the systemic challenges that prevent poor people from accessing financial services and the efforts currently underway at Kiva to leverage emerging technologies like blockchain to build an inclusive system for the future.

Company Pitches

Lora Haddock, Founder & CEO, Lora DiCarlo
Lora has over a decade of experience in healthcare, and after an honorable discharge from the US Navy she enrolled in a pre-med program. A self-described “anatomy geek”, Lora became fascinated with the psychological, physiological and anatomical aspects of the female orgasm. She left med school to design functional product specifications determined to produce the perfect orgasm, drawing on years of research and anatomical data she gathered from hundreds of women. She founded Lora DiCarlo in 2017 and began her journey towards launching new physiologically appropriate women’s health and wellness products.

Carly Kiselycznyk, Founder & Founder, BrainChild Technologies
BrainChild Technologies is creating the first tool to help parents check their babies for hearing loss with their smart pacifier platform. Hearing loss during early childhood can mean missing a critical window for language development, and yet there is a lack of accessible tools for regular screening at this important stage. BrainChild fills this gap with age-appropriate behavioral assessments of hearing, starting by measuring sucking behavior in response to sound. They aim to make hearing tests better, faster and cheaper.

Company Update

Jamie Bianchini, Co-Founder & CEO, LuDela
LuDela presented and won as part of the Early Stage competition during the 2018 Bend Venture Conference. They created the world’s first remote-controlled real-flame candle with auto-ignite & extinguish, timer, safety features, scent-on-demand, and an impactful social mission.

Agenda
5:00 pm to 6:00 pm Networking, drinks and appetizers
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm Company Presentations & Keynote

Cost and Registration
$26 EDCO & OEN Members (Become an EDCO Member here)
$36 Non-Members

Admission includes appetizers and a free beverage (choice of beer, wine, or soda).

Title Sponsor Logo's

About Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO)

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.

 

MOVE: Gel Energy Solutions

Gel Energy Solutions - before and after photo of using LED lighting in a warehouse

In October of 2018, GEL Energy Solutions decided to expand its operations from California with a move to Central Oregon. After three years of helping industrial and commercial customers streamline their energy and lighting needs in Northern California, owner Charlie Gerwe saw a vacancy in the Central Oregon marketplace, allowing the company to make the move north.

Today, GEL Energy Solutions is helping companies navigate energy-saving solutions throughout the region. Their turn-key LED lighting process saves businesses up to 70% just by switching outdated, inefficient lighting with high-quality LED solutions.

We chatted with GEL Energy Solutions’ CEO Charlie Gerwe about his move to Central Oregon and how their company can help local businesses.

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

I am originally from Oregon and had moved to the Bay Area a few years ago. I knew I always wanted to make it back to Oregon. My first company, GEL America, focused on providing companies these cost-savings solutions with no out of pocket costs. After returning to Bend and seeing there was a space in the market for us to offer these same solutions, I knew the choice was simple. It’s a great place to live and raise a family. It’s been great not only directly helping businesses but also strengthening the local economy by utilizing Central Oregon’s Labor Force.

What is GEL Energy Solutions?

We’re an Oregon business working with Energy Trust of Oregon to help local businesses improve monthly and overall profit by updating their lighting for no money out of pocket. We make lighting upgrades affordable and easy. The great part about GEL’s services is that there is no obligation or any costs to have your facility completely assessed to learn what business decisions can be made for your company.

GEL Energy Solutions focuses on updating both commercial and industrial lighting at no cost to the building or business owner by offering financing methods and turnkey LED lighting solutions. We call it lighting as a service. Businesses that work with GEL never have to worry about their lighting systems again and cut their energy bill by up to 70%. Our customers are positively impacting the environment by reducing their carbon footprint.

What types of companies could benefit from GEL Energy Solutions?

Large commercial and industrial buildings see the most savings, but any building with an energy bill over $300 a month can significantly impact their bottom line. The higher the energy bill, the more savings we can offer.  We enjoy serving a wide variety of businesses in Oregon.

Some of the local businesses that GEL Energy Solutions has worked with are: Deschutes County Jail, Deschutes Children Foundation, Northland Furniture, Smith Brothers Pushrods, Century Market, CLS Fabrication, Columbia Distribution, Roger Langeliers Construction, Cascade Heating, Webfoot Painting, and the Tower Theater.

Any Final Words?

One of my favorite parts about working with our customers is when they realize how affordable and easy a lighting upgrade can be. People think it’s a huge expense that will set them back, is unnecessary, will take a lot of time and effort, and becoming a huge headache. But that doesn’t have to be the case anymore. By using GEL Energy Solutions, our local businesses can update their lights, save huge on their energy bills, cash flow positive every month and reduce their carbon footprint without paying a dime.

Learn more about how GEL Energy Solutions provides Oregon commercial and industrial LED lighting solutions.

Laird Superfood Receives OEDA Business Development Success Award

Laird Superfood staff outside Sisters facility

Laird Superfood Receives the Business Development Success Award Presented by Oregon Economic Development Association

Company-Community Vision and Collaboration Results in Job Growth and Economic Gains

SISTERS, Ore., Oct. 28, 2019 – The vision and collaboration of the town of Sisters, Oregon, with an innovative start-up company in 2015 has led to Laird Superfood today being awarded the Business Development Success award by the Oregon Economic Development Association (OEDA). The award, presented by OEDA at today’s 2019 Awards ceremony in Salem Oregon, honors Laird Superfood for expanding its existing business in an effort to create jobs, expand the local tax base and improve the town of Sisters, Oregon community.

Laird Superfood produces a highly popular assortment of plant-based superfood products, which are manufactured and distributed from its headquarters in Sisters, Oregon. The company is this year’s fastest-growing manufacturer in the tri-county region of Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson. In the past 12 months, Laird Superfood has added 58 employees (210% growth) to meet rising global demand for its line of healthy creamers and assorted plant-based food products.

Since the company’s launch in 2015 with just three employees, Laird Superfood now employs over 100 people, occupies a new state-of-the-art 20,000 square-foot campus, and ranks as the town of Sisters’ largest private employer. The company is in the process of breaking ground on a third building and has purchased additional adjacent lots for future expansion, with the vision of increasing employment to 500 within the next five years.

“We are proud to receive this award. From the beginning, it has been our mission to give back to the Sisters community by providing job opportunities and making an economic impact,” said Paul Hodge, CEO of Laird Superfood. “We are grateful to Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO), which played an instrumental role in bringing Laird Superfood to Sisters. By connecting us with key employee hires, helping to find available land to build our new facility, helping us to secure forgivable loans with the city and county, and leading us through tax incentives, EDCO went above and beyond to support our business. We couldn’t be more pleased with how this award recognizes the original vision has become a reality, and how Laird Superfood will continue to grow hand-in-hand with the town of Sisters.”

The criteria for OEDA’s Business Development Award:

  • Extent of the economic impact on the community such as an increase in the overall tax base, the creation of new jobs, or criteria relevant to the goals of the program.
  • Achievement of its stated objective with measurable results.
  • Development of strong relationships, with relevant players and widespread community support.
  • Innovation, originality and cost-effectiveness.
  • Relevance and transferability of elements to other communities

About Laird Superfood

The company was co-founded in 2015 by the world’s most prolific big-wave surfer, Laird Hamilton. His passion project to perfect his personal regimen grew into a dynamic, innovative brand with a mission to bring clean, simple, and thoughtfully formulated superfoods to the masses. As one of the fastest-growing companies in the natural foods space, Laird Superfood’s offerings are environmentally sustainable, responsibly tested, and made with whole-food ingredients that everyone can feel good about.

SOURCE: Laird Superfood

2019 Bend Venture Conference Winners

EDCO ANNOUNCES THE WINNERS OF THE 16TH ANNUAL BEND VENTURE CONFERENCE

Six Companies Presented with a Total of $488,000 in Investments & Cash Awards

BEND, OR – October 18, 2019Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) hosted the 16th  Annual Bend Venture Conference (BVC) to a sold-out crowd at the Tower Theatre in Downtown Bend. This August, nearly 100 companies from across the U.S. and Canada applied to the conference in hopes of making it to the Tower Theatre stage. Over the past two days, 14 finalists presented their ideas to nearly 600 attendees.

This year marks the largest fund yet for the BVC, LLC, setting a funding record for the conference.

This year’s award breakdown is as follows:

Growth Stage Competition

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

  • Winners of BVC, LLC, Investment Awards*:
    • Observa (Seattle, WA) – An AI platform bringing ecommerce-style analytics to brick-and-mortar retail, was awarded $250,000.
    • Belmont (Portland, OR) – Providing break rooms with coffee, simplified draft beverages and fully-managed pantry service using proprietary technology, was awarded $100,000.

*The investment arm of the conference, BVC, LLC, awarded the Growth Stage investments following considerable due diligence of each of the five presenting finalists. This investment included $75,000 from Business Oregon and $10,000 from Oregon Community Foundation. Investments and follow on deals are still being finalized.

Impact Competition

The Impact Competition, which included for-profit companies with an integrated social or environmental mission, had one winner, awarded by the BVC Impact LLC. This is the fifth award given by the Impact LLC in the past four years.

  • Winner of the BVC Impact LLC, Investment Award*:
    • Riff Cold Brewed (Bend, OR) – Upcycling coffee byproduct into an all-natural energy drink, was awarded $85,000.

*The impact investment arm of the conference awarded an investment following considerable due diligence of each of the four presenting finalists. This investment included $25,000 from Business Oregon and $10,000 from Oregon Community Foundation. Investments are still being finalized.

Early Stage Competition

The Early Stage Competition included companies that are pre-revenue (or very early) and are in the process of testing their product in the market. The three winning Early Stage companies are:

  • Winners of the Portland Seed Fund Early Stage Competition:
    • FleetNurse Inc. (Eugene, OR) – An app-based on-demand staffing service for healthcare facility supervisors, was awarded $25,000.
    • Steamchain Corp. (Salem, OR) – A blockchain company using smart contracts to reduce high currency conversion costs and fluctuation risk in shipping and logistics, was awarded $25,000.
  • Winner of the Keiretsu Forum Audience Award (awarded at EDCO’s September PubTalk):
    • TerrAmor (Corvallis, OR) – A low-cost, easy to deploy, organic-certified solution for soft fruit growers to address the spotted wing drosophila problem, won a $3,000 cash award.

“This year we’ve raised the most money for the BVC LLCs in the history of the conference,” said Brian Vierra, EDCO’s Venture Catalyst. “This continues to show the strong local investor support for both the Conference and our current startup ecosystem. BVC continues to connect Central Oregon entrepreneurs to a broader, national audience.”

About Bend Venture Conference (BVC)
Now in its 16th year, BVC, hosted by EDCO, is one of the largest angel conferences in the country. Over the past five years, more than $10 million has been invested in 38 companies as a result of the conference. This year, nearly 600 entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders attended the multi-day conference on October 17-18, in Bend, Oregon. bendvc.com

About Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO)
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. edcoinfo.com

2019 BVC Growth Stage and Impact Finalists Announced

EDCO ANNOUNCES THE FINALISTS IN THE GROWTH AND IMPACT CATEGORIES ADVANCING TO THE BEND VENTURE CONFERENCE, OCTOBER 17-18

BEND, OR – October 4, 2019 – Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) announced the Semi-Finalists advancing in the Growth Stage and Impact Categories for the 16th Annual Bend Venture Conference (BVC) on Thursday, October 17 – Friday, October 18, 2019.

In just two weeks, these companies will travel from across the West to present on the Tower Theatre stage. Last year, companies in the Growth Stage category won prizes ranging from $100,000 to $500,000, while the Impact Category winner walked away with $100,000.

In alphabetical order, the five Growth Stage finalists are:

  1. Belmont (Portland, OR) – Providing break rooms with coffee, simplified draft beverages and fully-managed pantry service using proprietary technology.
  2. Candid Wholesale (Portland, OR) – A suite of enterprise-grade tools for SME wholesalers, providing a SaaS platform where buyers can make orders and manage relationships.
  3. Observa (Seattle, WA) – An AI platform bringing ecommerce-style analytics to brick-and-mortar retail.
  4. SendSmart (Portland, OR) – Automates web lead follow up on multiple communication channels, connecting salespeople with leads once they’ve responded.
  5. ThingLogix (Belmont, CA) – Provides companies with the expertise and tools to design, build, deploy, and manage serverless and IoT Applications on the cloud.

In alphabetical order, the four Impact Stage finalists are:

  1. Beta Hatch (Seattle, WA) – Farming for the future by industrializing insects.
  2. Meli Wraps (Bend, OR) – Creators of reusable beeswax wraps for food storage.
  3. Riff Cold Brewed (Bend, OR) – Upcycling coffee byproduct into an all-natural energy drink.
  4. Sironix Renewables (Seattle, WA) – Maker of high-performance, eco-friendly ingredients for cleaning products.

“These companies represent finalists from close to 100 applications received this year,” said Brian Vierra, EDCO’s Venture Catalyst. “The steady progression in maturity of both tracks continues with a broad range of geographies and ideas being represented. These top companies also show how the tracks have evolved to look more like true Venture-style investments, with revenues ranging from $500k to close to $4 million.”

Hosted by Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO), this year’s BVC will once again feature three competition categories: Growth Stage, Early Stage and Impact, bringing together over 600 entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders to Bend, Oregon.

Ticket Sales
Tickets to the 16th Annual Bend Venture Conference are on sale now and are available here.

About Bend Venture Conference (BVC)
Now in its 16th year, BVC, hosted by EDCO, is one of the largest angel conferences in the country. Over the past five years, more than $10 million has been invested in 38 companies as a result of the conference. This year, over 600 entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders are expected to attend the multi-day conference on October 17-18, in Bend, Oregon. bendvc.com

About Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO)
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. edcoinfo.com

Jefferson County Offers $143,000 Incentive for Construction of Industrial Space

EDCO logo, Mount Bachelor landscape

Jefferson County Offers $143,000 Incentive for Construction of Industrial Space
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Madras, Ore. Jefferson County has finalized a grant program that offers a cash incentive for
the private development community to construct new industrial or light industrial space within the county’s borders. For years, all existing heavy and light industrial space has been fully occupied in Madras, Metolius, Culver, Crooked River Ranch and Warm Springs, which the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners see as a barrier for business development. This incentive would offer up to $125,000 for construction of a 60,000 square foot building available for lease. The minimum size for eligibility is 20,000 square feet, which would yield a $75,000 cash grant. Sizes in between will be prorated.

Additionally, the grant recipient may also apply for up to $18,000 in “rent gap coverage” to
defray costs if the building remains vacant after completion. This grant is designed for maximum flexibility and does not require a specific property to be identified at the time of the application.

However, those applications with land control (lease or ownership) will be scored higher. Applicants also need not have a tenant in hand to apply. The deadline for applications for this incentive is November 4th, 2019, 2:00pm.

“It is widely known that a shortage of built industrial space available for lease in a community is a barrier for both existing businesses to expand and companies outside our borders to relocate,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Kelly Simmelink. “We don’t want to lose opportunities due to a 12-18 month permitting and construction time frame,” he noted.

Commissioner Mae Huston emphasized that financial capital is also a constraint. “Many of the economic development tools to attract business to Jefferson County are geared to businesses that can be patient through a building project and have sufficient capital for ground-up development,” said Huston.

“The data tells us that most business owners would rather direct their capital and attention to the business rather than real estate,” continued Huston.

Wayne Fording, local business owner and longtime Commissioner, sees the incentive as a way for the public sector to help mitigate private sector risk of investing in new speculative space. “The grant program’s goal is to get someone to add inventory, and we believe occupancy will follow quickly,” said Fording.

This grant program may be used in conjunction with the Oregon Enterprise Zone program,
which offers 3-15 year property tax exemptions for qualifying companies on buildings, equipment and certain types of personal property. Local jurisdictions including Jefferson County, City of Madras, City of Metolius, City of Culver and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs volunteer to temporarily give up some property tax revenue via the Enterprise Zone programs in order to attract new jobs and capital investment.

The source of funding used for the industrial construction incentive program is a portion of the net proceeds of a 1980s Oregon Community Development Grant that the County used to establish a business economic development loan program. The County originally received $400,000. Today, the program has grown with principal and interest repayments to a current value over $800,000.

Grant details are available at www.jeffco.net/RFPs and the deadline for sealed
applications is November 4, 2019 at 2:00 PM.

Contact: Kelly Simmelink, County Commissioner – 503.730.6573
Jeff Rasmussen, County Administrative Officer – 541.460.0889

About Jefferson County:
Established in 1914, Jefferson County comprises the northern portion of the Central Oregon region and includes Oregon’s largest Native American reservation. It is home to some of the largest manufacturers in the region, has among the state’s most diverse population and its farms produce the majority of the annual U.S. and global carrot seed supply.

2019 BVC Early Stage Finalists Announced

ANNOUNCING THE FIVE EARLY STAGE FINALISTS TO PRESENT AT THE 16TH ANNUAL BEND VENTURE CONFERENCE OCTOBER 17-18
Finalists Chosen During Last Night’s Central Oregon PubTalk

BEND, Ore. – September 27, 2019 – Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) announces the Top Five Early Stage Finalists advancing to the Bend Venture Conference (BVC) on Thursday, October 17 – Friday, October 18, 2019. These companies will present on the historic Tower Theatre stage in Downtown Bend, competing for a possible investment of $25,000 from Portland Seed Fund.

The Early Stage competition received 42 company applications from six states. It includes companies that have a great idea and are close to “proof of concept.” They are pre-revenue (or very early) and are in the process of testing their product in the market. The competition will take place on the morning of Friday, October 18th.

During last night’s Central Oregon PubTalk, TerrAmor won the Audience Vote and received a $3,000 cash award, courtesy of Keiretsu Forum.

In alphabetical order, the five Early Stage finalists presenting at the Bend Venture Conference are:

  1. FleetNurse Inc. (Eugene, OR) – An app-based on-demand staffing service for healthcare facility supervisors.
  2. Lisi Global, Inc. (Richland, WA) – Environmentally safe, patented electronics technology that eradicates soil pests and pathogens.
  3. Speak Technologies (Portland, OR) – A time-saving productivity tool using AI to follow-up on meetings by automatically capturing notes, key decisions and action items.
  4. Steamchain Corp (Salem, OR) – Steamchain is a Financial Technology company that has created a platform using smart contracts, blockchain technology and proprietary processes to simplify international B2B payments.
  5. TerrAmor (Corvallis, OR) – A low-cost, easy to deploy, organic-certified solution for soft fruit growers to address the spotted wing drosophila problem.

Tickets to the 16th Annual Bend Venture Conference are on sale now and are available here.

About Bend Venture Conference (BVC)
Now in its 16th year, BVC, hosted by EDCO, is one of the largest angel conferences in the country. Over the past five years, more than $10 million has been invested in 38 companies as a result of the conference. This year, over 600 entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders are expected to attend the multi-day conference on October 17-18, in Bend, Oregon. bendvc.com

About Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO)
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. edcoinfo.com

###