Oregon RAIN Presents Successful Model for Supporting Entrepreneurs at Oregon Coast Economic Summit

Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN) venture catalyst Caroline Cummings was a featured panelist at the fifth annual Oregon Coast Economic Summit, held August 8-9 at the Mill Casino Resort in North Bend.

“It takes a community to raise an entrepreneur.” RAIN venture catalyst Caroline Cummings was quoted in Coos Bay’s The World newspaper. Read the full recap here

Over the past year, Cummings has spearheaded new entrepreneurial programs in Florence, Newport and Lincoln City. Since October 2015, RAIN has hosted 17 educational and networking events along the Central Oregon Coast, which have been attended by 511 people. She shared the success of these initiatives as part of a panel discussion on the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in economic development in coastal and rural communities.

The panel Cummings participated on was titled, “Small Town, Big Ideas: The Role of Eco Tourism, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in economic development in coastal and rural communities.” The panel was moderated by Representative David Gomberg (Oregon’s District 10, Central Coast). Cummings was joined on the panel by Jim Seeley (Executive Director, Wild Rivers Coast Alliance), Todd Davidson (Chief Executive Officer, Travel Oregon), Eric Dunker (Regional Administrator of Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Curry, Lincoln, & Tillamook Counties for Oregon State University, and Heather Stafford (Assistant Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Business Oregon).

Economic Summit - Lucinda Whitacre

Lucinda Whitacre, a RAIN-supported entrepreneur, showcased her food products at the Taste of Oregon portion of the Oregon Coast Economic Summit.

According to the Kauffman Foundation’s “The Importance of Young Firms for Economic Growth” study (Sep 2015), startups have accounted for nearly all net new job creation since 1988 and almost 20 percent of gross job creation. This data underscores the importance of supporting startups to help spur job creation.

“We know that most jobs are created by entrepreneurs and startup companies. Investing in local entrepreneurial ecosystems is a highly efficient and effective economic development strategy for coastal and rural communities,” said Cummings.

To help tell the RAIN story at the Summit, Cummings enlisted the help of four RAIN-supported startups: Florence entrepreneur Carl Hulan (Lofoodal), and Lincoln County entrepreneurs Bob Barter (Bee Certain of Tidewater), Lucinda Whitacre (Great Life by Lucinda of Depoe Bay) and Dan Seemiller (ToneTip of Newport). These four startups showcased their products at the Summit’s Taste of Oregon event.

“RAIN offers the kinds of resources that you’d expect in a much larger city, and they helped me turn a concept into a reality,” said Hulan. Hulan’s company Lofoodal, an internet marketplace for farmers and micro farmers, was a Launch Stage finalist at the Willamette Angel Conference this past May.

“There’s this myth that you have to go to larger cities to launch a startup. Great entrepreneurs come from everywhere, and one of our goals is to help entrepreneurs along the Central Oregon Coast connect with the people, resources and, eventually, the funding they need to stay here and create wealth and jobs on the coast,” said Cummings.