Rural Startups Get Support Through New RAIN Hire

Feb 6, 2019

Startups in rural Lane County are getting a boost, through a new hire at one of the region’s non-profits.

Raj Vable, founder of Young Mountain Tea and Oregon RAIN's newly-hired venture catalyst.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Since 2014, Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN) has strived to create jobs, wealth, and innovation.  It’s just hired Raj Vable, an entrepreneur and founder of Young Mountain Tea, for a position called venture catalyst. 

The job involves connecting entrepreneurs with mentors, capital, and training opportunities to help them get to the next level.

Vable says RAIN’s helping a number of regional startups already in this process, including one with a goat farmer.

Credit Terry Hummer /

“There’s a chain of grocery stores that’s interested in her cheeses, but they want her to go through a distributor," explains Vable. 

"So we’ve been helping coach her through the negotiation process.  She’s a world-class farmer, but sort of the business tactics of establishing a positive relationship with a distributor is something that we’re coaching her through.”

Vable’s territories are the rural cities of Veneta, Oakridge, and Lowell.  He says these areas have lots of untapped potential.

Oregon RAIN is holding an informational mixer with Vable Thursday from 5:30-6:30pm at Deep Woods Distillery in Oakridge.

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