Business Oregon has recently provided major grants to Baker County to support business growth. HatchLab Baker, in Baker City, in cooperation with NEOEDD, received a grant of $72,000 to continue to serve entrepreneurs in Baker County.
Applicants were prioritized based on their ability to demonstrate broad commitment and meaningful support from existing local economic development and small business support organizations, and their ability to build the capacity of existing local economic development and small business support organizations, as well as, grow their collective ongoing efforts to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The grants then provide seed funding and capacity-building support for these communities.
"Oregon's many rural communities are each unique with their own assets, opportunities, and challenges," says Business Oregon director Chris Harder. "Working with these Oregon communities to support their local entrepreneurship strategies, and help them work together to maximize their impact, can ultimately help increase rural prosperity."
The 2016 Broadband Progress Report adopted by the Federal Communications Commission shows that 39 percent of rural Americans lack access to broadband speed benchmarks, versus only 4 percent in urban areas. To address that gap, Governor Kate Brown authorized Business Oregon to use $500,000 from the Strategic Reserve Fund for a grant pilot program to advance rural broadband development. The City of Baker City received $137,000 to deploy a fiber distribution network throughout a 65-acre industrial park owned by the city.
"Bridging the digital divide is an integral part of growing our rural economies and creating a Future Ready Oregon," Governor Brown says.