November 17, 2023

Wyden, Merkley: South Oregon Coast Earns $300,000 Federal Investment for Tech Entrepreneurs

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that the South Coast Development Council, Inc. in Coos Bay has secured a $300,000 federal investment to nurture local tech-based start-ups.

“This federal investment in the South Coast will generate jobs, innovation and economic activity that will ripple out for years to come,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified that key business, education and civic leaders in this rural Oregon community have teamed up to earn these resources. And I’ll keep battling for communities throughout Oregon to receive similar funds that build strong local economies.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of Oregon’s economy, and even more so for our rural and coastal communities,” said Merkley. “These important investments heading to the South Coast Development Council will support jobs, drive innovation, and help strengthen the local economy of the South Coast.”

 The $300,000 from the federal Economic Development Administration is designed to accelerate technology entrepreneurship on the South Coast by increasing access to entrepreneurial support and startup capital. The South Coast Incubator Technology Industry Ecosystem Development project is led by the South Coast Development Council, Inc. with support from Southwestern Oregon Community College and the cities of Coos Bay and North Bend.

“This is a perfectly-timed opportunity for our rural communities on the south Oregon coast. Our center now can develop a technology-based business incubator to help grow new businesses that focus on the fast-evolving Green Energy and Blue Economy sectors,” said Derek Tonn, director of Southwestern’s Small Business Development Center. “That means direct assistance to local entrepreneurs developing tech-based products and services for clean energy innovation and people who work on the ocean and rivers.”

"This collaboration between South Coast Development Council, Inc., Southwestern Oregon Community College, their Small Business Development Center, and the cities of Coos Bay and North Bend is a potentially transformative step for Oregon's South Coast,” said Bryan Sykes, interim executive director, South Coast Development Council Inc.The business incubator located on Southwestern’s campus will foster tech-based entrepreneurship, offering prototyping services and comprehensive support to emerging businesses, entrepreneurs, and innovators.” 

“This initiative will serve as a catalyst for our community's economic growth, promising new opportunities and enhanced educational and networking pathways,” Sykes said. “It aligns with the state's broader vision for an innovation hub, marking a significant step towards innovation and tech-based economic development. We look forward to continuing to bring resources to the community that will support economic growth, innovation, and increase the opportunities for success in our region."