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As the successful outcome of a coordinated effort initiated several years ago between EDCO and leaders of some of Central Oregon’s pioneering brands, such as Humm Kombucha, Bounce, JEM Organics and Red Duck Foods, Cultivate Bend (formerly Central Oregon Food Cluster) has launched to provide local food and beverage consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies with resources, education, networking opportunities and connections to outside resources. The 501(c)(6) nonprofit membership organization is the first enterprise in the Central Oregon area to support both startups and established businesses across all spectrums of the food and beverage industry.
Cultivate Bend will be led by Micah Elconin as its executive director. Micah has directed efforts for a similar, and very successful, group based in the Eugene area for the past three years called Eugene’s Table.
“I’m honored by this opportunity to expand my impact on Oregon’s food and beverage landscape. We’ve found our partnership in the Eugene area to be an incredibly valuable tool for galvanizing connections, raising awareness and attracting resources,” said Micah. “I’m excited to translate these strategies to Central Oregon and very much looking forward to building relationships in this wonderful community.”
For its inaugural event, Cultivate Bend is extending a community invitation to attend a virtual happy hour panel discussion, Cash is Queen: Managing Cash Flow During Turbulent Times, on Thursday, July 30 from 4-5pm. Cash management can be a complex equation for food and beverage companies, with razor-thin margins and extended inventory turns. The increasingly unpredictable nature of the current market only intensifies the pressure business owners experience daily. Regional experts, including Maria Pearman of Perkins & Co., Jeff Baker of Craft3 and Matt Briggs of Contract CFO (formerly of Picky Bars), will share their best practices for managing cash flow and staying afloat. The online event is open to everyone.
Additionally, Cultivate Bend has embarked on several other projects, such as:
- Interfacing with the region’s governmental and non-governmental economic development agencies, such as EDCO and chambers of commerce.
- Working with the High Desert Food and Farm Association and the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council to connect more local farms to food and beverage producers.
- Building collaborations that help reduce storage, supply chain and distribution costs.
- Partnering with organizations, like Northwest Food Solutions, to develop workforce training programs.
- Connecting Central Oregon food and beverage companies to other food business hubs in Eugene and Portland.
“Oregon is an incredibly vibrant food and beverage epicenter. And being three hours from the nearest major metro, Central Oregon has its own unique challenges and advantages,” said Paul Evers, Cultivate Bend board president and co-founder, CEO of Riff Cold Brewed based in Bend. “Our community represents a higher proportion of startup and early-stage companies than other areas in the state. In Cultivate Bend, we see a great opportunity to support and empower our community’s unique entrepreneurial and innovative spirit.”
For more information about Cultivate Bend, visit cultivatebend.org.
For more information about the Cash is Queen: Managing Cash Flow During Turbulent Times event, visit eventbrite.com/e/cash-is-queen-managing-cash-flow-during-turbulent-times-tickets-113166116902