Startup PDX Challenge was a competition designed to connect startups to Portland’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and assist the businesses for one year through their early stage growth. The competition ran for three years, from 2013-2015. Prosper Portland now funds a broader range of programs for consumer product and tech startups founded by women and people of color, including the Hacienda CDC food incubator, Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) Incubator, Xxcelerate Fund’s Xxcelerator program, TiE Xl Bootcamp offered through TiE Oregon, and the Elevate Capital Inclusive Fund.

Contact: Katherine Krajnakemail

Past Winners

Six startup businesses with diverse founders won the third annual Startup PDX Challenge. The continued emphasis on diversity in the 2015 Challenge built upon Prosper Portland’s ongoing commitment to inclusive entrepreneurship and increasing high wage jobs in the innovation economy for underrepresented populations.

The six winners, all from the Portland metropolitan area:

A big thanks to our sponsors:

SPC sponsors 2015

Six startup businesses made the cut to win the second annual Startup PDX Challenge. The 2014 Startup PDX Challenge focused on finding entrepreneurs with diverse founding teams and the ambition to scale to a national or international market. Each company received a package valued at $50,000, with a $15,000 working capital grant, a full year of rent-free office space at 115 SW Ash in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown, and free professional advice, memberships and services.

The six winners, all from the Portland metropolitan area:

  • Yellow Scope, a creator of rigorous science kits just for girls;
  • RAFT Syrups, which brews organic botanical and cane sugar syrup for cocktails and home soda making;
  • Society Nine, a fight gear and activewear apparel brand for women;
  • Design + Culture Lab, a research-based urban social lab addressing issues of cultural, racial and ethnic inequality;
  • Tique Box, a subscription service for specialty items from local artisans. (Note: Tiquebox has dissolved and each founders has moved on to start a new business: With Love from PDX and Clientjoy); and
  • No App Fee, a technology solution to rental market problems for landlords and tenants.
    VIDEO: How a PC Turned a Homeless Man’s Life Around

Merit finalists : Genki SuGRASPVDO Interpreters; and Carehubs, from the Portland area; and ICOM of Atlanta, GA, which was also the winner of the public vote.

In the first Startup PDX Challenge, each of the 6 winners received a $10,000 working capital grant, a full year of rent-free office space in Portland’s Produce Row, and free professional advice and services.

The Challenge drew a field of 240 applicants, narrowed first to 16 companies and then to the six finalists by a selection committee which considered each semi-finalist’s application, personal interview, and the results of a public online vote in determining the winners. The Challenge winners then co-located in office space at 1220 SE Grand Avenue, in the heart of Portland’s Central Eastside.



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Inclusive Business Resource Network

The Inclusive Business Resource Network (IBRN) is a citywide program that brings multiple services for small business into a single network for entrepreneurs.

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