A group of business leaders from throughout the Willamette Valley (Marion, Polk & Yamhill Counties) has awarded two local businesses with investments from the brand new Mid-Valley Angel Fund.
Erik Andersson, President of the Strategic Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR) says of the Angel Fund, “It was only by pulling together the region’s economic development organizations interested in promoting entrepreneurism that we were able to tackle the goal of starting our own venture program. Launch Mid-Valley was developed as a mechanism to coordinate our resources and activities around entrepreneurial development in the region.”
The Mid-Valley Angel Fund grew out of that spirit of collaboration and cooperation. And local investors were eager to participate.
According to Andersson, “In the first attempt at a regional seed fund, they doubled the investment goal and attracted 15 entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses in hopes of attracting some of that investment funding. We have entrepreneurs with exciting ideas around the region, in big cities and small communities, and this helps provide them a boost to get their products or services."
Mike White, Venture Catalyst for the Oregon Entrepreneur’s Network (OEN) organized much of the fundraising and assisted a board to choose the winning candidates. He says of the Angel Fund, “Our fund is different than almost most angel funds around the country. We work with early stage companies and provide a mentorship culture that helps foster growth and a connected network to see success. A lot of funds invest into companies and say 'good luck,' where we set quarterly meetings to be intentional about building relationships.”
Andersson believes with good investments and nurturing an environment for business start-ups and growth, we can strengthen and diversify our region’s economy.
“One way to think about it is who locally is making a product that could turn out to be the next Kettle Chips, and how do we gather the resources to help them thrive and grow?”