Oregon RAIN


Veneta-based entrepreneur Aida Lough makes pies, tamales and vegan salsas and sells them online and at farmer’s markets as Aida Foods. Lough doesn’t let things like a pandemic stop her.

Aida Lough was ready to hire someone to package her products so she could sell them in stores. Then COVID-19 happened. “We found a fabulous co-packer but they’ve shut down," says Lough. "So instead of being placed on hold I thought I’ve gotta move forward so I just have to do it myself!” 

Karen Richards

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.

Brian Bull / KLCC

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

Oregon RAIN

Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, or RAIN, helps connect entrepreneurs with resources to get their business ideas to reality. The non-profit works in Lane, Linn, Benton and Lincoln Counties. Next week, a group of start-ups on the Central Coast will graduate from RAIN’s pre-accelerator program.

The state, universities and local governments have invested in startup companies through the Oregon RAIN program. A cohort of five new businesses in Corvallis has just graduated.

The OSU Advantage Accelerator has been around since the summer of 2013. Mark Lieberman is co-director. He says over time, they’ve made the program more formal and rigorous:

Lieberman: “Entrepreneurship is generally a marathon and not a sprint, but the acceleration program is to get them to the starting line and that is truly a sprint.”