Rural Opportunity Initiative

The Rural Opportunity Initiative (ROI) connects entrepreneurs and small businesses with financial support, innovative partnerships, network creation, and business development resources. ROI strengthens and unifies the entrepreneurial ecosystem within and across Oregon's rural communities.

The principal goal is to build a future economy that works for all of us. To achieve this, the initiative is proactively inclusive, led by impact communities, and focused on elevating the role of entrepreneurship in local economic development.

The Approach

Communities inherently understand the value of entrepreneurs and their contributions to economic vitality. They are best positioned to assess their own needs and create their own solutions while building their own resources. ROI supports this emphasis by providing access to networks, and financial and human capital to assist communities in advancing projects that strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Initiative Values

ROI is committed to ensuring rural communities benefit from state economic development initiatives, and values:

  • Community-driven strategies that keep power and decision making local. The best people to determine the right approach for communities are the residents themselves.
  • Inclusive leadership and genuine partnerships.

Funding and Application Process

The Oregon Legislature has allocated $2 million to the program for the current biennium, an increase over prior cycles. A Request for Grant Proposals for the 2021-2023 grant program is now open through September 20, 2021. Download a self-extracting zip file containing the application packetor download all of the files separately:

Funding and application process frequently asked questions and their answers.

An evaluation committee comprised of internal and external stakeholders will review proposals to determine awards, with an announcement expected by mid-October. Sign up to receive Innovation & Entrepreneurship communications and stay up-to-date on the latest developments and future program opportunities.