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Portland teen launches Oregon Youth Venture Fund

PORTLAND, Ore. - A 16-year-old student at Portland's Lincoln High School, Sumner Rahr, has launched the Oregon Youth Venture Fund, a student-run nonprofit, and now a new Youth Entrepreneurship Award for Oregon high school students, with applications due this November 15.

The Oregon Youth Venture Fund will empower student entrepreneurs to grow their small businesses, according to a news release distributed Tuesday by the teen.

Rahr said developed the idea for the Oregon Youth Venture Fund and the Youth Entrepreneurship Award after he experienced challenges while starting his own small business as a sophomore at Lincoln High.

“Early in my sophomore year, I started Hood Clothing, a Mt. Hood based apparel company. One of the main challenges I faced was securing enough funding to grow my business.”, says Rahr. “I launched the Oregon Youth Venture Fund to provide other young entrepreneurs with the opportunities I wished I’d had while starting my first business.”

The Fund’s Youth Entrepreneurship Award for high school students living in Oregon aims to power the next generation of Oregon business leaders, and will award a total of $10,000 in grants to young entrepreneurs to grow their business and test new ideas. Applications for the first round of Oregon Youth Venture Fund’s Youth Entrepreneurship Award are due November 15.

 Applicants will be selected based on best overall idea, potential to be successful, progress they’ve made since launch, benefits to the environment, society or the world and an in-person meeting with the team at the Oregon Youth Venture Fund.

The Oregon Youth Venture Fund is focusing on the in two distinct areas:

  • The general entrepreneurship award category focuses on new business ideas.

  • The sustainability entrepreneurship award category focuses on private sector business solutions that protect or conserve the environment.

The top applicant in the sustainability entrepreneurship award category will receive $4,000 to be reinvested into their company, while the top three applicants in the general youth entrepreneurship award category will receive $2,000 each to be reinvested into their company. In addition, each winning recipient will receive advice and support from a member of the Oregon Youth Venture Fund. The online grant application, along with the required information, can be accessed at https://www.oyvf.org.  

By creating the Oregon Youth Venture Fund and the Youth Entrepreneurship Award, Rahr hopes to inspire youth entrepreneurs throughout Oregon, providing them with the capital they need to grow their business and test new ideas along with access to established business leaders across the United States.

John Childs, Founder & CEO, JW Childs Associates, Rocky Dixon, Co-Founder, Endeavor Capital and Michael Ioffe, Founder, TILE, Energy.org are all members of the Oregon Youth Venture Fund advisory board and panel and will offer their support and guidance to all grant recipients.

“The student-led Oregon Youth Venture Fund is a perfect example of the entrepreneurial spirit being fostered by the next generation of socially minded business leaders. It’s been a pleasure to watch Lincoln High School Junior Sumner Rahr and the OYVF team develop and market the venture fund concept to peers statewide,” said Lincoln High School Principal Peyton Chapman.

To learn more about the Oregon Youth Venture Fund and the Youth Entrepreneurship Award, visit www.oyvf.org


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