Jan. 17, 2018 — When it comes to starting a business, entrepreneurs can access a wide range of organizations that offer low- or no-cost resources and support. The question many of them face, however, is figuring out which organization is right for their business.
For Florence entrepreneurs, there’s “no wrong door” between the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN), and the Lane Small Business Development Center (SBDC). These organizations share a common vision of a thriving local economy, and they collaborate to serve the business community by offering complementary services and refer clients to each other.
Next Thursday, January 18, RAIN and LaneSBDC will host Business After Hours in concert with the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce at the LCC Florence Center, 3149 Oak Street. They invite the community to come enjoy food and beverages and learn more about how they work together to support local business development. The event will be held from 5-7 p.m.
RAIN and LaneSBDC are represented locally by Coastal Venture Catalyst David Youngentob and Russ Pierson, Dean of the LCC Florence Center, respectively. Youngentob, who was hired in 2016 to lead programs initially launched by RAIN Venture Catalyst Caroline Cummings in 2015, credits Pierson for the strong, collaborative relationship these organizations have shared since RAIN first arrived in Florence.
“Russ has been a willing and eager partner of RAIN. He has mentored RAIN companies, provided us with meeting space and countless other resources. Russ has also facilitated many conversations with local stakeholders, which have enabled us to be more effective in the community,” said Youngentob.
According to Pierson, “David has continued the excellent and collaborative work of RAIN in our region, building on the great foundation laid by Caroline Cummings. I think of RAIN and the SBDC as the right and left hand of workforce-development, and by extension—economic development—in our community. And the relationship we have built, with the help of both the City of Florence and the Chamber, represents a win-win for small businesses of every size, stage and aspiration throughout the Siuslaw Region.”
Although there’s “no wrong door” between these organizations, LaneSBDC and RAIN offer unique services:
LaneSBDC provides general advisory services and structured programs to help people start and grow all types of small businesses (defined by the SBA as fewer than 500 employees). They also offer the SCALE Oregon program to well-established, traded-sector companies with 10 or more employees and more than $1 million in annual revenue.
RAIN specializes in helping entrepreneurs and innovators who are creating high-growth, traded-sector startups. These startups will pursue national and international markets, and bring money and jobs to Oregon. Typically, these companies are implementing fast-growth strategies that will need angel and venture capital.
Given their complementary services, it’s not uncommon for RAIN and the SBDC to work with the same client. Last year, Patricia Immel, Co-Founder of NatureSavvy and Rose & Crown Apothecary, participated in RAIN’s 12-week Coastal Pre-Accelerator, as well as the SBDC’s Small Business Management program (SBM).
“By taking SBM, I was in a much better position to maximize my experience in the RAIN Pre-Accelerator. The two programs are highly complementary. I strongly recommend entrepreneurs combine the SBM program and RAIN for best success,” said Immel.