Medford OR – Friday, September 30, at a luncheon at the Ashland Hills Inn, SOREDI Venture Catalyst, Tim Root will unveil a new plan to focus resources on entrepreneurs in the Ashland area. The goal of LAUNCH Ashland is to foster new businesses, preparing them to receive funding from investors or loan funds. Launch Ashland is part of a state-wide initiative, funded by a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation, facilitated by the Oregon Entrepreneur Network, with activities to be executed by SOREDI. Ashland was chosen as the pilot city for the LAUNCH program because the City of Ashland offered a financial partnership and the SOU School of Business and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will provide practical assistance.
“Cultivating entrepreneurs into businesses that can generate revenue and create jobs is a long-term effort,” says Tim Root, SOREDI’s Venture Catalyst. Root continues, “I know of local entrepreneurs who have been working for two, five, even ten years to develop their products, put together their supply chain, develop relationships with appropriate distributors, etc. These business owners have dedicated their lives to their projects. SOREDI and our LAUNCH Ashland partners are putting together an organized system to streamline the process for them. If we can make their process more efficient and take out some of the guesswork, they can get to revenue generation and job creation a lot faster. That’s our goal.”
LAUNCH Ashland is a program that includes casual monthly meetings in Ashland. Entrepreneurs are welcome to attend each month to network with peers, hear success stories and get assistance with problem-solving to overcome their challenges. SOREDI is actively seeking sponsors and volunteers from the business community to assist with these monthly meetings. SOU and the SBDC will participate by offering focused instruction, mentoring and coaching, either individually or in small groups, as entrepreneurs progress. Further, intense business incubation will be available for interested entrepreneurs. After progressing through instructional opportunities, business incubation and mentorship, new businesses will have grown from concept to maturity, where they will be ready to present to the Southern Oregon Angel Investment Network, apply for bank loans, move forward with crowdfunding sources or begin producing income. Some of these funding sources can be accessed simultaneously.
Once underway, it is SOREDI’s goal to syndicate the LAUNCH Ashland model and partner with other cities in our region, under the banner of LAUNCH Southern Oregon. Root says, “Ideally, in a few years, we’ll see LAUNCH Medford and LAUNCH Grants Pass creating hubs of entrepreneurial support throughout Southern Oregon.”
About SOREDI: SOREDI is a private, membership-based, non-profit organization, governed by a board of directors. Its six-person staff is charged with local business expansion and new business recruitment efforts, financial assistance to start-up companies through its business loan fund, and management of Enterprise Zones in Jackson and Josephine Counties. The agency was formed as a regional economic development agency in 1987. Learn more at https://www.soredi.org.