BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- More than 30 economic development, workforce, education, business and government representatives in Central Oregon will launch a process to advance innovation-based economic development for the region, thanks to a $140,000 grant from Business Oregon and the Oregon Innovation Council.
Oregon State University–Cascades, the recipient of the grant, collaborated with regional partners on the grant proposal.
The Oregon Innovation Council grant program funds regional partnerships known as "innovation hubs" around the state to help advance innovation-based economic development and encourage participation among populations currently underserved in the innovation economy. The Central Oregon effort was one of 11 partnerships around the state to receive a grant.
"The Central Oregon partners’ goal is to grow businesses and jobs by growing the services we provide to innovative entrepreneurs," said Adam Krynicki, executive director of the OSU-Cascades Innovation Co-Lab. "This project convenes regional partners and diverse communities to design an innovation hub that supports innovators' research, prototyping, commercialization, space and funding needs."
As part of the grant, regional partners will submit a plan to the Oregon Innovation Council by June 2023 to guide the creation of a regional innovation hub, which may be a physical or virtual program, and its proposed activities and services.
The planning process will kick off this fall at an innovation summit, where feedback will be gathered from regional business leaders. Information also will be sought about the regions’ entrepreneurs and obstacles they face, as well as resources that can help them succeed.
The partnership will engage Black, Latinx, Indigenous, tribal and rural community leaders in the development of the plan. It also will support training for the team of representatives executing the grant, to help ensure issues of diversity, equity and inclusivity are embedded into the planning process.
Regional organizations supporting the innovation hub effort include the Bend Chamber of Commerce, Bend Outdoor Worx, Central Oregon BIPOC, Central Oregon Community College, COCC Center for Business, Industry and Professional Development, East Cascades Works, Economic Development for Central Oregon, Father's Group, Latino Community Association, Madras Chamber of Commerce, Oregon Bio, Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Oregon Outdoor Alliance, Opportunity Knocks, Prineville Chamber of Commerce, Redmond Chamber of Commerce, Sisters Chamber of Commerce, Technology Association of Oregon, Visit Bend and the Warm Springs Community Action Team.
Regional governmental representatives include the Central Oregon Governor’s Regional Solutions Center and Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.
Representatives from the business sector include Earth Cruiser, Grace Bio-Labs, Hydroflask, Onboard Dynamics, Shift Bias and TonsilTech.
About OSU-Cascades: Oregon State University’s campus in Bend brings higher education to Central Oregon, the fastest growing region in the state. Surrounded by 2.5 million acres of mountains and high desert, OSU-Cascades offers small classes that accelerate faculty-student mentoring and engages in top tier research as part of Oregon State University. Degree programs meet industry and economic needs in areas such as innovation and entrepreneurship, natural ecosystems, health and wellness, and arts and sciences, and prepare students for tomorrow’s challenges. OSU-Cascades is expanding to serve 3,000 to 5,000 students, building a 128-acre campus with net-zero goals.