Entrepreneurship finds a home in downtown Eugene

On Thursday, the University of Oregon Board of Trustees voted unanimously to accept a “gift of real property” from the city of Eugene for a building in downtown Eugene that will serve as a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation in the city.

Located adjacent to the downtown campus of Lane Community College and near the Eugene Library, the building at 942 Olive St. will provide 12,800 square feet of flexible space for training, education, and support of entrepreneurs from the university and the community.

The building will house the programs of RAIN Eugene—including maker space, lab space, and formal and informal meeting spaces for entrepreneurial community events—alongside the Tyler Invention Greenhouse and the UO Department of Product Design’s Downtown Innovation Launch Lab.

The integrated programs will establish an entrepreneurial hub that links creators, designers, students, mentors, local and regional businesses will reinforce the strong collaboration between the City of Eugene, the University of Oregon, and the entrepreneurial community.

The Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN) is a state and local partnership between entrepreneurs, the business community, government, and higher education designed to advance the formation and growth of startups regionally. RAIN Eugene, managed as a partnership between the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, the University of Oregon, and local governments, operates the RAIN Eugene Accelerator which provides hands-on training and mentorship to startup founders.

The Tyler Invention Greenhouse seeks to build upon the UO’s strengths in green chemistry and nanoscience and encourage green product ideas stemming from basic research discoveries. The Downtown Innovation Launch Lab is a set of design studios and design services connecting UO’s expertise and students in product design with entrepreneurs inside and outside of the university.

The city will transfer the property to the UO for a nominal fee of $1, after which the UO will be responsible for further development of the space, including important seismic upgrades. According to documents submitted to the UO Board of Trustees, renovation costs will be offset through state bonds, the Alice C. Tyler Perpetual Trust, and university resources and/or philanthropy.

The building will be operated by the University of Oregon through the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation.