Oregon State University

Oregon State, Portland make perfect business partners

The driving force behind many successful small food and drink entrepreneurs in Portland is passion. This passion can stem from the cultural influence of a family, like Grandma Chonga’s Salsa, or the ingredients used to make the dishes — like gluten-free bakery New Cascadia Traditional, or the love of a certain food. Many owners of small food businesses in Portland — like Ted Easton of Native Bowl — believe that “it’s important to do something you’re passionate about because you only live one time. You might as well try to do what you like to do and be good at it.”

Ethan Demarest of Pyro Pizza shares his advice on turning passion into a success: “First of all, it takes a good idea, as with most things. But if you are passionate about food and passionate about all of the things that go into running a small business, I think you can make it.”

Oregon State University offers many resources to bring passion and creative ideas success in the marketplace. From the OSU Advantage Accelerator to the Food Innovation Center, OSU has many creative support services for entrepreneurs.

“Most of our business resources came from OSU; it’s all right there in Portland and on the website,” said Shane Sinclair, co-owner of Grandma Chonga’s Salsa, made in Portland and distributed around Oregon. “OSU is pretty much our go-to resource.”

Newer offerings in Oregon State’s entrepreneurial portfolio are the Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) courses available for small food, beverage and specialty product entrepreneurs. These innovative workshops and classes aim to develop sustainable businesses by giving participants the tools to learn from and network with some of the most successful innovators in American food and craft beverage industries. 

Oregon State courses in food entrepreneurship, craft beer, cider startup

The online Recipe to Market program, a three-course certificate, provides participants with the recipe for a successful small food or specialty product business. Using case studies of small food and specialty product stars like Pacific Northwest Kale Chips, Kombucha Wonder Drink and Portland Bee Balm, the Recipe to Market Certificate leads students through the best practices for developing and opening a small business. 

Those interested in the craft beverage business can benefit from the Craft Cidery Startup Workshop, offered as a hybrid workshop with online coursework and onsite instruction. This workshop takes place in Portland and provides insight on the logistics of opening and owning a craft cidery. The Craft Brewery Startup Workshop (beginner), located in Bend, [S3] and the Craft Brewery Startup Workshop II (advanced) —a hybrid online and onsite workshop hosted in Portland — offer aspiring craft brewery entrepreneurs insight, business plan development and networking opportunities. 

To learn more about these courses, visit Professional and Continuing Education at Oregon State, or send us an email.

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