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While Portland has a vibrant startup community, our startup companies lack enough diverse leadership. We seek to change that. For that reason, the Startup PDX Challenge class is intentionally diverse and inclusive.

If you are working on a startup that has the potential to serve a national or international market and you are looking for a diverse community of other founders like you, the Startup PDX Challenge could be a great fit. We are looking for diverse founding teams that have the potential to build great companies and desire a peer-to-peer environment.

Structure. As opposed to a fast-paced, 90-day accelerator, this program plays out over the course of a year for several reasons.  First, learning how to get your startup off the ground will take time, and we want to give you the resources and support that work on your own learning and company schedule. Second, we find a year-long program is a better way to build the intentionally diverse and inclusive startup community we are seeking to create here in Portland.

Pitch Practice. We do not hold our own demo day but will ask you to apply to pitch events here in town or around the state, and we will help you refine your pitch when you are ready.  Some examples of that include Angel Oregon, TiE Pitchfest, and Bend Venture Conference.

Connections. We will connect you to other organizations and resources in the startup ecosystem and to mentors in our PDC and PIE networks, and above all, we help you thrive in a community you never knew existed in Portland. Being an entrepreneur is hard. It’s hard to find the right mentors, the right resources and support – this program gives you that.  We know it’s important to find mentors that you can relate to, and we have a diverse mentor network to draw from that wants to help you succeed. You will be exposed to mentors, investors, and advisors via speaking engagements, workshops, and office hours.  It is our job to regularly check in with the companies to understand your needs and get you connected to the right mentors. 

Past Participants. Our companies are diverse in both industry and demographics. Take a look at our past winners to get a sense of past Startup PDX Challenge participants. We’re happy to put you in touch with alumni companies so you can better understand if this program is a good fit for you.

What you get:

  • Free rent for a year in beautiful historic space in Old Town/Chinatown
  • Peer-to-peer support environment with other startups
  • Access and referrals to mentors in the Portland startup ecosystem
  • Up to $25,000 investment
  • Press, blogs, and social media coverage
  • Access to the Portland entrepreneurial ecosystem with one-year memberships in Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, Technology Association of Oregon, and PSU Business Accelerator (affiliate membership)
  • Free package of professional services including legal, accounting, human resources, and marketing.

Contact us

For further clarification or other inquiries, email Katherine Krajnak

Sign up for our email list (under Business Services > Startup PDX Challenge) for updates on the Startup PDX Challenge.

Follow us on Twitter at @StartupCityPDX.