While Portland has a bunch of awesome organizations designed to incubate and accelerate startup activity, we haven’t seen a consumer brand backed accelerator on the scene for nearly three years, since the Nike+ Accelerator powered by TechStars. That’s why I’ve been monitoring the progress on the Jaguar Land Rover incubator with bated breath. And I’m happy to report, they’re continuing to gain momentum.
The Portland Development Commission (PDC), Jaguar Land Rover and Drive Oregon will collaborate on Jaguar Land Rover’s investment in its Innovation Incubator project in Northwest Portland with a precedent-setting public benefits agreement.
The agreement is unusual in its scope, setting a high standard for Portland’s technology industry—or any other industry—to align equity, entrepreneurship, and workforce goals to drive hiring of underrepresented populations for high-quality local jobs. Among other terms, Jaguar Land Rover has agreed to provide a youth internship program, employment opportunity outreach to historically underrepresented communities, and extensive community engagement initiatives.
“This incubator approach will enable us to seek out and encourage young companies with brilliant ideas for new technologies who may lack the technical skills or knowledge of the automotive industry to move their ideas forward,” said Matt Jones, Head of Future Infotainment, Jaguar Land Rover. “As well as mentoring them and offering them technical support, we will provide them with a base where they can develop and test their ideas in our brand new, collaborative and innovative environment in Portland.”
“The electronics and software in today’s cars are increasingly complex,” said Drive Oregon’s Executive Director Jeff Allen. “Portland has a wealth of talent that can help develop the increasingly complex electronics and software in modern vehicles, and a rich history as a sustainable mobility leader. We look forward to continuing to work with PDC and Jaguar Land Rover to help local startups develop the future of transportation.”
For more information, see Jaguar Land Rover incubator.