Eugene, OR – (April 26th, 2021) — Eugene public relations executive Caitlin Vargas has been tapped as the new Startup Community Director for Onward Eugene; an economic development organization that endeavors to grow inclusive economic prosperity in the region.
With a background in strategic planning and brand development, Vargas now aims to help entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs actualize their passion. “My focus is going to be on investing in underserved populations and helping to create more accessible opportunities to economic mobility, through entrepreneurship,” said Vargas. “I want the Innovation Hub at 942 Olive Street to serve as a lighthouse, a place that attracts and encourages anyone in our community to share their ideas and feel supported along their journey to create a startup company.”
Onward Eugene’s programs pivoted to be offered online and supported hundreds of entrepreneurs during the pandemic, with a dozen early stage startup companies currently participating in the ID8 Pre-accelerator program.
The Innovation Hub at 942 Olive Street is currently preparing to re-open in late summer and will offer in-person and hybrid programs that include Start-Up Coffee Meetups, Open Mentor Hours, Founders Chats, and the core programs of ID8 and EUG Launchpad accelerators. Acting as a hub for the creation of meaningful peer-to-peer connections in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the Innovation Hub facility also houses two complimentary University of Oregon programs: the Tyler Invention Greenhouse and UO Product Design Launch Lab.
“Vargas brings expertise in community-building which is exactly what the local entrepreneurial ecosystem needs right now coming out of the pandemic,” said Matt Sayre, Managing Director of Onward Eugene. “Thanks to the Economic Development Administration and investment from local donors including Lane Workforce Partnership, the University of Oregon, PeaceHealth, XS Media, and Northwest Community Credit Union, we are doubling our capacity to support entrepreneurs and Vargas will help everyone feel welcome in our facility and in our expanded programs.”
A graduate of Bushnell University with her MBA, Caitlin serves as the President for the Board of Directors for Lane Transit District and was a founding board member of the reimagined Eugene Young Professionals Program within the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce. “I have always been inspired to promote regional resilience in our fantastic city,” said Caitlin. “I feel fortunate that I now have the opportunity to build-community and impactful programs in this inclusive way, which will help shape the future of our region.”
About Onward Eugene
Onward Eugene unites regional partners — mobilizing rebuilding efforts to fully realize our regions shared potential for expansive and inclusive prosperity. Bringing together support for startups, business expansion, regional marketing, and business recruiting initiatives. Onward Eugene is a force multiplier in the creation of economic resilience. A 501(c)3 nonprofit.