November 14, 2016

Oregon Innovation Council (Oregon InC)

Description of the core change(s) brought by this policy instrument

Oregon InC is a publicly funded council that designs and implements high impact industry opportunity projects, signature research centers in target industries and SBIR/STTR grant support programs for the discovery, mentoring, technology development and access to capital for the commercialization of disruptive technology inventions born out of science and research. 

Please list the implementing agencies

Business Oregon, the state agency for economic development.

Please name the policy advisor(s) or leader(s) who have been key in introducing and/or designing this policy instrument

The 20 member council appointed by the Oregon Governor with members from education, private industry and investing, non-profit partners in STEM/CTE, workforce, the Treasury and the legislature.

Lifecycle of target firms for this policy instrument
Start-up firms
Support offered
Non-financial Support
Level of intervention
Barrier(s) addressed with this policy tool
Ecosystem Engagement/Coordination
Policy timeline

Permanent program within Business Oregon and recapitalized each biennium by the Oregon legislature. First Oregon InC investment was July 1, 2006 and the initiative has continually been renewed each biennium in varying amounts, usually between $15-20M.

Stated goal/metrics of the policy instrument

To generate high wage jobs, follow on funding for companies and increased revenue growth for firms in key Oregon industries.  

Evidence of results

The average wage of jobs created is $78K/year, more than double the state average. Since 2012, Oregon InC initiatives have generated just over 800 jobs, measured not by the initiative but by the state using just W-2, full-time wage positions from established companies. Self-reported jobs number trend about 3x state calculated jobs.

Challenges, criticisms and lessons

After nearly 12 years with this program, we have learned some key lessons and found the following things essential:

1) a diverse public-private board

2) clear criteria for how money is spent and how decisions are made

3) a competitive process where funding is directly tied to a scope of work

4) flexible funding in order to quickly react to new opportunities must be preserved

Notes and additional context

Oregon InC was established to bridge the gap of resources, mentoring and access to capital for commercializing disruptive technological inventions born out of science and research. Over the years it had to evolve as business incubators and accelerators became prevalent and research universities brought on technology transfer offices. 

Geographic scope