Starting a business in a rural community has unique challenges, especially around funding. Leaders in Veneta are leaning their shoulders into a program called VenetaWorks. It's producing a core of thriving small businesses. This week they had a celebration of entrepreneurs.
Veneta’s Fern Ridge Service Center is packed with community members and owners of about a dozen new businesses. Raj Vable with Oregon RAIN says VenetaWorks is taking big strides, and “as a rural city [Veneta] is far ahead of any of the others in really prioritizing this.”
City management, the local Chamber of Commerce, and several statewide agencies are involved. But it’s all about local innovators learning from each other.
Annie Molnar, who runs Bella’s LuvBar Butter from her converted garage, says, "There’s a lot of skills that I’m lacking that others have." She also values "the friendship and the support, that small town feel where you know everybody.”
Molnar's soaps and lotions are now being sold at Market of Choice. And her graphic art? It's designed by another local startup: Grateful Graffix.