PSU Resources for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners
Entrepreneurs may not know that Portland State University offers a range of low-cost or free business services and resources not just for students, but for the local business community as well. From workshops in developing the perfect investor pitch to tailored coaching, businesses at any stage can find the tools and support they need to become more successful. Whether your venture exists only on paper, or you’re looking to expand to a new overseas market, the new Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) at PSU can find the right resource for you. To learn more about any of the university’s services for local business, please email CIE Executive Director Shelley Gunton: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workshops and Events: PSU hosts a number of entrepreneurship events for students and community members. Every summer, the Lab2Market Entrepreneurship Intensive provides two days of free coaching from PSU faculty and partners at the venture capital firm DFJ Frontier. The event culminates in a pitch competition with a $1000 prize. The university also organizes several Startup Weekends, a 54-hour event that brings together multi-talented groups to conceptualize, design and build a web or mobile application with the potential to become a full business. This fall, PSU will host two Startup Weekends: one for students, faculty and staff from October 5–7, and one open to the wider community from November 16–18.
Incubation: PSU has two dedicated incubation programs, both open to the general public. The Portland State Business Accelerator provides inexpensive office and laboratory space, support services, and fundraising events for local bioscience, software, and clean tech firms. The Social Innovation Incubator supports both startup and established social enterprises — organizations using business tools to solve social or environmental problems — through group workshops, networking events, and tailored consulting. In 2011, the incubator was recognized by Fast Company as one of 51 “bold ideas helping to build the cities of America’s future.”
Coaching and Consulting: the Business Outreach Program at PSU provides comprehensive technical assistance and consulting services to locally owned, small businesses. The program focuses on low-income, women and minority business owners. The university also offers organizations the opportunity to engage a team of undergraduate or graduate business students in a consulting project. These “capstone” programs provide expert assistance in addressing specific questions or challenges. Email Bill Jones to learn more about working with an undergraduate team, or contact Pamela Dusschee to apply for consulting services from a graduate student team. PSU students interested in starting their own business can participate in the Entrepreneurship Club on campus.
Research Partnerships: PSU provides research assistance, laboratory access, and grant support to technology-focused businesses across a range of sectors:
- Drive Oregon is a public-private partnership to catalyze the growth of Oregon’s electric vehicle industry.
- Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (BEST) connects Oregon businesses with lab facilities, grant opportunities, and expertise to commercialize sustainable built environment and renewable energy research.
- Oregon Nanoscience & Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) accelerates research and commercialization of materials science.
- Oregon Translational Research & Drug Development Institute (OTRADI) is dedicated to linking university researchers and biotech and pharmaceutical companies to fuel drug discovery and commercialization.
With the recent formation of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, PSU is working to expand offerings and integrate even more closely with the local business community. Across the range of business support services at PSU, the goal remains the same: to support the sustainable economic development of our city, state, and nation.
Photo credits: top, Impact Entrepreneurs; bottom, Meg Williams/Pamplin Media Group.
Entry filed under: Events, Funding, Opportunities for social innovators, Oregon entrepreneurship news, Social Entrepreneurship. Tags: business coaching, business resources, business services, consulting, elevator pitch, entrepreneurship, portland state university, startup funding.