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Nathan Buehler
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Email; 503-689-3559

October 4, 2018 Media Contact
Nathan Buehler 503-689-3559

Four Research and Commercialization Projects Selected by Oregon Innovation Council for Funding

Today Business Oregon announced four unique research and commercialization projects were approved for funding by the Oregon Innovation Council (Oregon InC) through its High Impact Opportunity Fund. The projects were selected out of a group of proposals designed to address barriers for emerging industries, support product development and testing, or expedite technology commercialization.

Business Oregon staffs and administers the programs created by Oregon InC. Three projects received funding in the first round of high-impact opportunity project proposals awarded in April 2018. Business Oregon had approximately $2.5 million remaining going into this round of funding. Projects are anticipated to last for 6 to 18 months, and all projects are expected to support the growth of an industry, not an individual business or its proprietary technology.

The four awards are:

Mercado Mobile Food Lab—Hacienda Community Development Corporation $124,300
Hacienda Community Development Corporation (Hacienda CDC) will conduct a feasibility study to determine the demand for a mobile food lab for use by entrepreneurs in the state, both in the Portland metro region as well as in rural areas. The project will allow Mercado staff to assess the true demand for food testing equipment, craft a revenue model for the lab's operation, and build relationships outside of Portland with entrepreneurs who could benefit from the lab.

Scaling Juniper Markets—Sustainable Northwest $443,000
Sustainable Northwest will work with Oregon State University and expand its existing work to support juniper markets in Oregon and beyond. The project will include research and development to inform new product development, marketing, and commercialization for increased use of juniper wood products. It will also examine secondary product development to increase overall juniper output volume and price point.

Southern Willamette Valley Food Business Development Center—RAIN Eugene $59,537
RAIN Eugene will conduct a study to determine the best structure for a center to support the growth of early-stage food and beverage companies in the southern Willamette valley. The study will determine the demand for product and business development services, the cost to build the center, and determine what business model is most financially viable.

Vineyard Robotics System—George Fox University $64,500
George Fox University has developed a prototype of an autonomous rover that can collect data on grapes as they grow. The data will help vineyards estimate eventual vine yields and plan for the harvest and winemaking process. Funding will support the further development of the rover as well as the improvement of the processing and predictive capability of the collected data.

Business Oregon conducted a Request for Proposals for the funding, with three industry sectors identified as priorities:

  • Active Lifestyle—digital health, apparel & outdoor gear, and wearable technology
  • Advanced Manufacturing—metals/advanced materials, chemicals/processes, and bioscience
  • Natural Resources—agriculture technology, wood products, and food/beverage

A review committee made up of Oregon InC members, industry-specific experts, and other experienced partners narrowed the proposals down before final approval by the full Oregon Innovation Council. Oregon InC is a public-private partnership made up of industry, entrepreneur, private investment, and university leaders.

Oregon InC has requested additional information from several other organizations that previously submitted proposals and will consider making a final round of awards with the remaining funds from the program later this month.

Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency, invests in Oregon businesses, communities, and people to promote a globally competitive, diverse, and inclusive economy. The agency's services span rural community development and infrastructure financing; business retention, expansion and recruitment; export promotion and international trade; investments in industry research and development and entrepreneurship; small business assistance; and support for arts and cultural organizations.