FAQ

Applications for this challenge closed April 4, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PST.


What is the Startup: PDX Challenge?
What is Produce Row?
What is Portland Development Commission (PDC)?
How can I contact you if I have questions?
What is the time frame for the Startup: PDX Challenge?
Is there an entry fee?
What is the maximum allowable company size?
Where is the office space located?
How do you define startup?
What kind of startup may apply?
I am not a US citizen. May I apply?
Is anyone ineligible?
Who are the judges for Startup PDX:Challenge?
Are multiple applications per person allowed?
How will I know if I made it to the next round?
How does the public voting process work?
What commitments are required of winners?
If I win, how can I spend the working capital grant?
How will grant money be distributed?
Will the Startup PDX:Challenge cover living expenses?
How are winners decided?
Will PDC or program sponsors have equity in the startups as part of the working capital grant?

 

What is the Startup: PDX Challenge?

The Startup PDX: Challenge is a competition soliciting applications from startup businesses that will benefit from having free rent, free professional services, and a capital grant to expand. Winners will be determined by their potential for growth as determined by a selection committee made up of challenge sponsors and experts from Portland’s startup community.

What is Produce Row?

Located in Portland’s Central Eastside Industrial District, Produce Row is a growing network of businesses thriving on entrepreneurial spirit. Produce Row seeks to support and promote entrepreneurial and creative businesses through a common identity, collaboration, and with collective resources.

What is Portland Development Commission (PDC)?

PDC serves as Portland’s economic development and urban renewal agency, and seeks to create one of the world’s most desirable and equitable cities by investing in job creation, innovation and economic opportunity throughout Portland. 

How can I contact you if I have questions?

If you have questions about the application process or would like to learn more about how you or your business can be involved, email us at startuppdx@pdc.us.


What is the time frame for the Startup: PDX Challenge?

Applications open February 14, 2013 and will be due by 11:59 pm April 4, 2013. Semi-finalists will be named mid-April; a public vote will take place for one week in early May; and announcement of winners will take place in late May 2013.

Is there an entry fee?

Yes, there is a $25 fee payable through PayPal as part of the application process.

What is the maximum allowable company size?

Up to six startups will be located in a 3,000 sq. ft office space. This limits capacity to between four and eight workers per company depending on other space needs. Each startup will have approximately 200 square feet of space in an open floor plan with the other companies.

Where is the office space located?

The Challenge property at 1220 SE Grand is a 3,000 square foot ground level space with two conference rooms, a kitchenette, showers, and secure bike storage. The space is one block away from a Portland Streetcar stop and within five blocks of two amazing coffee places, lots of good food, and plenty of stuff to keep the neighborhood buzzing late at night. View photos  >

How do you define startup?

We do not place a limit on the length of time your startup has operated or how much outside funding you have received prior to applying. We are seeking businesses still in the early stages where the prizes awarded will make a significant impact in the growth of your business.

What kind of startup may apply?

To qualify, your company must be a seed- or early-stage startup. There are no exact guidelines for size or revenue. We estimate that most interested in this program haven’t raised more than $500K of investment (if any) and probably don’t have more than $1M in annual revenue. There is no lower limit in terms of funding or development to apply to Startup PDX: Challenge – a judging panel will determine if you are a seed- or early-stage startup.

For-profit startups in any industry are invited to apply. Particular attention will be given to the scalability of the ventures. Startups should demonstrate a plan to reach national or international sales. Additionally, we want to see some progress against the concept (e.g., a prototype, minimum viable product, etc.). Startups planning to scale and remain in the Portland region are encouraged to apply.

Ideal applicants would likely exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:

    • A startup from out of state who is interested in moving to and making a home in Portland
    • Graduate of an incubator or accelerator program preparing for the next stage of growth (for example, app developer, digital media firm, apparel or footwear designer)
    • Startup working on a new idea, potentially interested in applying to an incubator/accelerator program (for example, designing a new product line or a new widget, developing software and/or digital media)
    • A small, innovative, and growth-oriented business of any industry looking to move to the next level, particularly businesses that aim to sell more than 50% of products or services outside the region

I am not a US citizen. May I apply?

Yes, this is an international competition. “Entrepreneur Pathways” is a helpful resource.

Is anyone ineligible?

Yes, staff, board members of PDC, judges and their immediate family members (spouse, child, parent, and sibling) are ineligible to apply for the Startup PDX:Challenge.

Who are the judges for Startup PDX:Challenge?

Judges will be involved in the entrepreneurial community in Portland, representatives of accelerator, incubator, investment and business organizations.

Are multiple applications per person allowed?

No, PDC encourages applicants to apply using their most compelling business idea.

How will I know if I made it to the next round?

You will be notified via email and a follow-up phone call. Please provide accurate contact information so that we can easily reach you.

How does the public voting process work?

After the semi-finalists are chosen and contacted, we will present a short profile of each semi–finalist that will include the company pitch from the application, an optional video (to be submitted by the semi-finalist) and links to the company website and social media outlets. The public will have one week to submit their votes online. Semi-finalists are encouraged to participate in the public vote to gain more visibility for their business. Participants can elect not to participate but must then forfeit the factoring of the public vote in the decision making process.

What commitments are required of winners?

Each winner will be required to enter into a grant agreement with PDC for the $10,000 working capital. Winners will be asked to make the following commitments as part of the grant agreement:

    1. Winners must operate out of the office space provided in Produce Row. This requires regular, physical presence from at least one team founder in the Portland office.
    2. Winners will sign a separate lease agreement with the property owner.
    3. Winners will be required to submit information at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year as part of the reporting requirements for this program. Grantee will be asked to provide information on number of jobs, number of clients (if applicable), revenue, capital raised, and other entrepreneurial support resources they have been able to access in Portland.
    4. Winners will be required to contribute to the promotion of the program (e.g., blog posts on the Produce Row website, video interviews).
    5. Winners will be asked to serve as mentors for the program if it continues for a second year.

If I win, how can I spend the working capital grant?

Funding can be used for working capital expenses. Eligible expenses include contract services, equipment, inventory, business & technical services, business moving expenses, and memberships in business organizations. Non-eligible expenses include personal expenses, food & beverage, and founder payroll. If a winner requests use of funds that is a non-eligible expense, PDC can approve the use of funds in its sole discretion if the winner can make a business case for the use of funds for that purpose. Winners will be required to submit quarterly reports and documentation demonstrating the use of working capital funds. 

How will grant money be distributed?

The grant money will be distributed in a check after the winners have signed both a lease with the property owner and a grant agreement with PDC.

Will the Startup PDX:Challenge cover living expenses?

Although we are not able to cover living expenses we can provide connections and suggestions on places to live in Portland. The average monthly rental for a one-bedroom apartment is $1500 and rents can range from $900 to $2,000 a month – prices are about 10% less than in San Diego and 40% less than in San Francisco.

How are winners decided?

The expert panel will decide on the winning startups based on the following criteria:

    1. Compelling company story
    2. Founder experience
    3. Desire to locate or remain in Portland
    4. Growth potential
    5. Market potential
    6. Ability to fully utilize Challenge prize package

The public vote will be one of many factors considered in the final decision making process.

Will PDC or program sponsors have equity in the startups as part of the working capital grant?

No.

 

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