Economic Summit Focus On Local Entrepreneurs

Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN) venture catalyst Caroline Cummings will be a featured panelist at the fifth annual Oregon Coast Economic Summit, held August 8-9 at the Mill Casino Resort in North Bend. The event is open to the public (up to 500 people). Over the past year, Cummings has spearheaded new entrepreneurial programs in Florence, Newport and Lincoln City. Since October 2015, RAIN has hosted 17 educational and networking events along the Central Oregon Coast, which have been attended by more than 500 people. She will share the success of these initiatives as part of a panel discussion on the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in economic development in coastal and rural communities.

The panel Cummings will participate is titled, “Small Town, Big Ideas: The Role of Eco Tourism, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in economic development in coastal and rural communities,” and it is scheduled for Monday, August 8, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. The panel will be moderated by Representative David Gomberg (Oregon’s District 10, Central Coast). Cummings will be joined on the panel by Jim Seeley (Executive Director, Wild Rivers Coast Alliance), Todd Davidson (Chief Executive Officer, Travel Oregon), Eric Dunker (Regional Administrator of Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Curry, Lincoln, & Tillamook Counties for Oregon State University, and Heather Stafford (Assistant Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Business Oregon).

According to the Kauffman Foundation’s “The Importance of Young Firms for Economic Growth” study (Sep 2015), startups have accounted for nearly all net new job creation since 1988 and almost 20 percent of gross job creation. This data underscores the importance of supporting startups to help spur job creation. “We know that most jobs are created by entrepreneurs and startup companies. Investing in local entrepreneurial ecosystems is a highly efficient and effective economic development strategy for coastal and rural communities,” said Cummings.

To help tell the RAIN story at the Summit, Cummings enlisted the help of four RAIN-supported startups: Florence entrepreneur Carl Hulan (Lofoodal), and Lincoln County entrepreneurs Bob Barter (Bee Certain of Tidewater), Lucinda Whitacre (Great Life by Lucinda of Depoe Bay) and Dan Seemiller (ToneTip of Newport). These four startups will be featuring their products at the summit’s Taste of Oregon event on Monday evening, August 8.“RAIN offers the kinds of resources that you’d expect in a much larger city, and they helped me turn a concept into a reality,” said Hulan. Hulan’s company Lofoodal, an internet marketplace for farmers and micro farmers, was a Launch Stage finalist at the Willamette Angel Conference this past May.

“There’s this myth that you have to go to larger cities to launch a startup. Great entrepreneurs come from everywhere, and one of our goals is to help entrepreneurs along the Central Oregon Coast connect with the people, resources and, eventually, the funding they need to stay here and create wealth and jobs on the coast,” said Cummings.

About Oregon RAIN

The Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network (RAIN) is an Oregon consortium of government, higher education, and the business community. RAIN was founded by the State of Oregon’s Regional Solutions network and funded by the 77th Oregon State Legislative Assembly to advance the formation of high-growth innovative startup companies located in Lane, Linn, Benton, and Lincoln Counties.

In coordination with the Cities of Corvallis and Eugene, as well as communities throughout the region, RAIN is partnered with two accelerators to create a collaborative environment to assist entrepreneurs in establishing viable companies that generate jobs, wealth and opportunities for the region. RAIN Corvallis is served by the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator. The RAIN Eugene Accelerator is a partnership between the University of Oregon and the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information about RAIN, visit

About the Oregon Coast Economic Summit

The Oregon Legislative Coastal Caucus will host over 450 leaders from around the state at the 5th Annual Oregon Coast Economic Summit, August 8th – 9th at the Mill Casino in North Bend, Oregon. This year’s theme, Voices from Coastal and Rural Oregonians: Building a Collaborative Pathway to Economic Development and Prosperity for Rural and Coastal Communities, will highlight the collaboration necessary to help prepare our communities meet our rapidly changing state and global economies.

OCES 2016 will feature Congressional, State, Local and Tribal leaders, public policy advocates, academics and private partners for informative panel discussions on a wide range of topics that recognize the unique economic diversity of our coastal and rural communities. We believe our diverse group of keynote speakers and panelists will provide value and awareness, as well as, practical tools for possible legislative action.