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Two join entrepreneurial program expansion in east Linn County

Corey Wright
Brad Attig

 

Two area businessmen have been hired to expand a venture capitalist program to assist entrepreneurs in rural Linn county through the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network,  known as RAIN.

Corey Wright will serve as a dedicated venture catalyst for eight rural cities in Linn and Benton counties.

Brad Attig will provide alternative financing guidance to early-stage companies in the same region on a part-time basis.

Sweet Home earlier this year joined seven other cities in Linn and Benton counties in pooling funds to hire a “venture catalyst,” who will help connect local budding entrepreneurs to the resources they need to build successful and lasting businesses.

The eight cities participating are Adair Village, Brownsville, Halsey, Harrisburg, Lebanon, Monroe, Philomath and Sweet Home.

RAIN is a state-funded consortium of government, higher education, and the business community which aims to help start or grow local business. Staffed by people who have been successful in business establishment and recruitment themselves, its mission is to help entrepreneurs in the South Willamette Valley and Mid-Coast “turn ideas into high impact, innovative, traded-sector companies that can grow and thrive locally.”

The RAIN program includes “accelerator” programs at the University of Oregon in Eugene and Oregon State University in Corvallis along with the local RAIN program in Eugene.

The new RAIN Linn-Benton has received a $70,000 grant from Business Oregon Rural Initiative, to be combined with $20,000 from the eight cities, to fund the position. Benton County has agreed to pay $20,000, and RAIN will seek additional funds from Linn County and the Ford Family Foundation to help run the program for a second year and make it sustainable.

Contributions from the eight participating cities are based on population.

RAIN venture catalysts connect regional entrepreneurs with strategic resources for launching and scaling business ventures, including mentor connections, educational and training programs, and access to capital. Venture catalysts also promote broad community participation and support for the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Wright and Attig were hired with funds from Business Ore-gon’s Rural Opportunities Initiative. They will provide entrepreneurship- and ecosystem-based economic development for Sweet Home and the seven other rural cities in the consortium.

“RAIN has demonstrated their expertise in helping small and rural communities build entrepreneurial ecosystems,” said Lebanon City Manager Gary Marks, one of the organizers of the effort.

“Hiring Corey and Brad to help us identify and support scalable startups is a key step in advancing our region’s culture of innovation. We are thrilled to partner with RAIN on the service delivery of the ROI grant.”

Wright is an inventor and entrepreneur with strong local roots. He is a graduate of Oregon State University in Corvallis, and he locally founded and operates Massif Games, a game publishing startup making innovative 3D products and accessories for customers around the globe.

Wright successfully raised money for Massif Games through multiple crowdfunding campaigns and is currently known as having the most successful Kickstarter funded in the Corvallis area ($145,148 / 1,686 backers).

Attig, a long-time resident of Albany, has mentored startup founders and teams from throughout the RAIN region and he sits on the board of the Foundry Collective, an entrepreneurial community and co-working space in Corvallis.

To follow entrepreneurial activities for this region visit RAIN’s “Startup Linn Benton” Meetup page: www.meetup.com/Startup-Linn-Benton.