June 24, 2014
In its second year, and with a new focus on drawing minority and women applicants, PDC’s 2014 Startup PDX Challenge closed Monday, June 23, with 134 applications from Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey and Ontario, Canada.
The Challenge is an annual competition designed to connect startups to Portland’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and assist the businesses for one year through their early stage growth. This year PDC sought to advance inclusive innovation by calling for diverse founding teams of for-profit startups with an ambition to scale to a national or international market.
Among this year’s applications, 55% included a person of color among the founders; 69% had at least one woman founder; 12% had at least one disabled founder; and nine percent of applications had one or more founders who were veterans.
This year’s winners will receive a package valued at $50,000, which includes a peer-to-peer support environment with other startups; working capital grant of $15,000; one year business-level website service from Squarespace; one-year memberships in local entrepreneurial organizations; a free package of professional services including legal, accounting , human resources, and marketing; and free office space for 12 months in the New Market Theater building, at 115 SW Ash in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown. The neighborhood is home to fast-growing tech companies like Airbnb, Thetus Corporation and Acquia, as well as PDC, Oregon Entrepreneur Network and Pensole Design Academy.
A panel of judges will review all applications to identify semi-finalists by late July. The Challenge then moves into the second round, for semi-finalist Interviews and a public vote. The winner of the public vote will automatically receive a merit stage prize valued at $4,000. Winners will be announced in the first week of September 2014. Move-in is slated for October 1, 2014.
PDC is dedicated to growing the next generation of diverse leadership in our innovation economy. By supporting leaders from underrepresented populations, we provide mentors for the next generation workforce and ensure a robust and sustainable economic future for Portland.