Looking for a bit of a challenge? Startup PDX Challenge applications are now open

Never let it be said that Portland doesn’t support it’s early stage startups. Portland Seed Fund is in full swing. PIE is sifting through applications. The TiE Pearl Incubator is pushing its startups along. It’s like the entire town is all spring and new growth and whatnot. And now, you have the chance to participate in another program to help your startup, the Startup PDX Challenge.

Startup PDX Challenge is an annual competition designed to connect startups to Portland’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and assist the businesses for one year through their early stage growth. We are seeking diverse founding teams of for-profit startups with an ambition to scale to a national or international market.

And this year, the Portland Development Commission—the brains behind the challenge—are especially interested in traditionally underserved entrepreneurs:

PDC is dedicated to growing the next generation of diverse leadership in our innovation economy. By supporting leaders from underrepresented populations, we provide mentors for the next generation workforce and ensure a robust and sustainable economic future for Portland. Learn more about inclusive innovation.

Why is this important? Not only do diverse teams drive innovation but the shifting demographics in the U.S. demand the participation of a higher percentage of underrepresented minorities and women in the innovation economy to ensure a sustainable economic future. While 75 percent of Portland’s population is white, 45 percent of our school-aged children are of color. If Portland is to remain competitive in the global economy, those developing the next generation of innovative products, ideas and companies must be diverse in gender and ethnic background.

Sounds pretty cool right? Well, get your application submitted before June 23 and you’ll be in the running for free rent, a collaborative environment, and a host of other services valued at $50,000.

For more information, visit Startup PDX Challenge.