Regional Accelerator and Innovation ­Network, the collaboration of government, businesses and universities formed to help create companies and jobs, has received $300,000 in federal funds to help new businesses.

The U.S. Department of Commerce on Thursday announced the funding through its Regional Innovation Strategies program.

RAIN said it will use the money to create the Willamette Valley Seed Fund — an equity-based, pool of year-round capital to fund early-stage companies in Oregon’s south Willamette Valley and mid-coast region. The funds will “energize start-up growth, accelerate capital investment in the region, and boost the region’s global competitiveness through technology commercialization and entrepreneurship,” RAIN said in a statement. RAIN was funded by the 2013 Oregon Legislature to help entrepreneurs form and grow companies that sell products or services that bring in money from outside the area. RAIN, which is focused on Lane, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties, has a business accelerator in downtown Eugene and another in downtown Corvallis.

“We are delighted to receive support from the U.S. Department of Commerce to develop a sustainable seed fund that will provide capital to grow scalable, early-stage companies, boost our economy and create jobs,” said Marc Manley, RAIN executive director. “We are excited to continue partnering with universities, cities, counties, other seed funds and economic development partners to develop a fund that can support our immediate region and other regions in the state.”

“RAIN is planning now how best to allocate the funding we have received, including $1 million the state of Oregon has provided for the 2017-2019 biennium,” Manley said. “Certainly some of that will go to each of the two accelerators.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce said 42 organizations, including nonprofits, colleges and entrepreneurship-focused organizations in 28 states received more than $17 million to create and expand commercialization programs and early-stage seed capital funds.

“The Trump administration is committed to strengthening U.S. production and exports, which are essential to our nation’s economic growth,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “These projects will enable entrepreneurs in communities across the United states to start new businesses, manufacture innovative products, and export them throughout the world – increasing America’s global competitiveness.”

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce gives $300,000 for south Willamette Valley business start-ups | Local | Eugene, Oregon