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Eugene's RAIN Program Gains Momentum

Karen Richards

At just about a year since its formation, the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network or “RAIN” in Eugene is thriving.

RAIN Eugene is a collaboration of the Chamber of Commerce, the Cities of Eugene and Springfield and the University of Oregon. It strives to help startups launch and generate local jobs and growth. Sixteen companies have completed the program. Only a couple of those have closed. Most are looking for partners, funding or to hire employees. Chief Startup Officer Joe Maruschak (MARUSE-CHECK) says momentum is building.

Maruschak: “We were concerned at first there wasn’t going to be enough volume of companies coming through for us to do two classes a year. We’ve been pleasantly surprised that every time we put up applications, we keep getting more and more. So what we’re actually seeing is the effect that we wanted to have.”

In the next year, the program will move to 942 Olive Street in Eugene. The City gifted the building as its matched contribution to RAIN. Maruschak says he’s excited about the partners who will share the space:

Maruschak: “One is the Tyler Invention Greenhouse, which is going to be a sustainable materials chemistry think-tank. And then product design. And product design is going to have product design studios plus a maker space with 3-D printers and hopefully a laser cutter.”

RAIN’s offices, next-door to the downtown LCC campus, are being gutted and renovated. Maruschak says he hopes they’ll be ready by spring 2016. The next cohort will begin in September.

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