Wells Fargo Funds Oregon BEST Outreach

Funding will help build statewide interactive network to help cleantech entrepreneurs succeed

PORTLAND, Ore. – During Oregon BEST FEST today, the Wells Fargo announced a $40,000 grant from its Clean Technology and Innovation grant program to Oregon BEST to help the state-funded nonprofit improve access to statewide funding and support resources available to cleantech entrepreneurs in Oregon and begin to establish an accessible, interactive network of these services.

"Oregon BEST is a critical leader in the ecosystem whose services provide a platform to foster early stage clean technology companies.,” said Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs, VP, Ashley Grosh. " We support organizations like Oregon BEST through the Wells Fargo Clean Technology and Innovation grant program as part of our effort to donate $100 million for environmental projects across the nation by 2020. We strongly believe that supporting and fostering the development of new and emerging clean technologies that can positively impact all of our lives."

The state of Oregon has an extensive set of resources available to startups, but these are fragmented geographically and organizationally, so many entrepreneurs don't understand how to access them to take full advantage of the support services and funding, said Johanna Brickman, Director of Collaborative Innovation at Oregon BEST.

"Oregon BEST is working to develop an easily accessible hub-and-spoke network of these fragmented resources, and Wells Fargo clearly recognizes the importance of this effort and how it will benefit entrepreneurs and the state of Oregon," Brickman said. "We are very appreciative of Wells Fargo's support of Oregon BEST's mission to fund and support cleantech startups, and their commitment to clean technology development in general."

The Oregon BEST project, called StartSpace, is in the early stages, and the Wells Fargo grant will help assess not only the support and funding resources currently available throughout the state, but also the unmet needs of entrepreneurs and the local communities where new companies are being launched.

A workshop titled "The Yellow Brick Roadmap to Funding and Support" was part of Oregon BEST FEST this year and helped participants explore an early interactive map of the support resources available to Oregon entrepreneurs. People affiliated with such resources should contact Oregon BEST, Brickman said, to ensure they are part of the StartSpace community.

"Wells Fargo believes that, as a company and as a member of the community, it’s our responsibility to help protect and restore the environment. We embrace that responsibility in all we do,” Grosh said.

In 2014, Wells Fargo launched the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) program, its own incubator focused on fostering sustainable commercial building technologies. One of the first companies awarded funding through the IN2 program was, Energy Storage Systems (ESS), a startup that received early funding and support from Oregon BEST during development of its nontoxic flow battery. ESS was located at the PSU/Portland Accelerator, but recently moved into a larger space with a manufacturing facility.

Oregon BEST offers a wide range of funding and support for cleantech startups in Oregon, and currently has more than 40 start-up companies listed as Oregon BEST Companies that are receiving help moving their technologies to the marketplace.

Media Contact: Gregg Kleiner, 541-740-9654
Sources: Johanna Brickman, Oregon BEST, 503-313-4507; Ashley Grosh, Wells Fargo, 720-215-7289

About Oregon BEST http://oregonbest.org
Oregon BEST funds and assists cleantech startups, bringing together Oregon’s significant R&D strengths to support entrepreneurs in the creation of new products and services. As the nexus for clean technology innovation, Oregon BEST builds capability, convenes collaborations and accelerates solutions to environmental challenges that deliver prosperity in all corners of Oregon. More than 250 Oregon BEST Member Researchers and a network of nine Oregon BEST Labs at four partner universities (Oregon State University, Oregon Tech, Portland State University, and University of Oregon) offer research expertise and lab equipment to industry. Oregon BEST competitively awards Early-Stage Investments to collaborations between startup companies and Oregon BEST Member Faculty at partner universities.

About Wells Fargo https://www.wellsfargo.com
Serving Oregonians since 1852, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.6 trillion in assets. It provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,600 locations; 13,000 ATMs; and the Internet (wellsfargo.com). Wells Fargo has repeatedly been ranked one of the most generous companies regionally and nationally.