Business Oregon is offering development grants to nonprofit and public agencies helping rural entrepreneurs.

Applicants must be implementing at least one program to assist in the growth and development of rural entrepreneurs. The grants can pay for services the applicant provides to entrepreneurs, including:

• Establish and coordinate mentorship assistance.

• Assistance to identify and access venture and angel investors.

• Coaching and other assistance to refine and sharpen an entrepreneur’s presentation to potential investors.

• Hold educational classes or other events.

• Provide or connect entrepreneurs with professional coaching and expertise, technical information and preparedness to attract equity and debt capital (e.g., business plan development, budgeting, licensing, product development)

Entrepreneurs means a company with fewer than 10 employees that has been in business less than two years. They can manufacture products, add value to a natural resource. They produce a product that is or has the potential to be in markets where there is national or international competition.

Grant amounts will range between $50,000 and $150,000. The deadline for application is Dec. 18, and final awardees will be announced in February. Applications can be submitted in PDF form to business.oregon@oregon.gov, with a total email size of less than 10 megabytes.

For a complete list of requirements and to view the application, visit http://tinyurl.com/oonvd33. For more information, contact Heather Stafford, assistant director of innovation and entrepreneurship for Business Oregon, at 503-229-5116.

In January, Business Oregon adopted a “Grow Our Own” strategy with a strong focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, understanding that more than 70 percent of new job creation comes from companies that already call Oregon home.

The Oregon Growth Board, Business Oregon and the governor’s office are leading the creation and management of a Rural Entrepreneurship Development initiative to stimulate and support the growth of entrepreneurs in rural parts of Oregon.

The results of the grants will be included in a report to the Oregon Legislature. Grant recipients will be showcased the middle of next year to share best practices, discuss challenges and provide information on additional resources available to the startup companies as they continue to grow and mature.

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