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Students, alumni receive funding for entrepreneurial projects

April 29, 2013

  • Sam Kellogg BA ’13 presents Kokonect to the venture competition judges.

For the past three months, 11 teams of student and alumni entrepreneurs have been busy developing business plans as part of Lewis & Clark’s first venture competition.

With the support of an entrepreneurial mentor, the teams participated in a series of workshops to help them learn more about what it takes to develop and launch their ventures.

Their hard work culminated in the institution’s first Pitch Day, a chance for each team to pitch their business plans to a panel of expert judges. At the close of the event, five teams were selected to receive continued mentoring and further seed funding to support their ventures during the summer.

“Pitch Day is the single most exciting thing I’ve been part of in my 12 years at Lewis & Clark,” said Brian Detweiler-Bedell, academic director of entrepreneurship. “I’m proud to be part of a competition built around mentoring, relationships, and learning.”

The following teams will move on to the next stage of the competition, which will culminate next fall in a last round of presentations and funding of up to $30,000 for the two most promising ventures.

House of Tayo

House of Tayo showcases African sophistication, style, and flavor through contemporary, locally made clothing and accessories. With style influences ranging from the Motown era to the works of Ozwald Boateng, the brand was created in 2011 and utilizes African textiles and fabrics produced by Rwandan tailors and artisans in Kigali.


Recognizing a lack of convenient and widely used methods to arrange carpooling between students and faculty living off campus, Kokonect conceptualized a mobile tool to meet the specific needs of the Lewis & Clark community. Using online technologies, the team will foster connections between users in the real world and help communities minimize their carbon footprint.


A clinical mentoring program for adults with eating disorders, MentorED bridges the gap between higher and lower levels of care. The program recruits, trains, and matches graduate students and professionals in psychology and related fields with clients during their various stages of treatment and recovery.

Portland Mushroom Company

The goal of the Portland Mushroom Company is to provide high-quality locally produced oyster mushrooms to the Portland metropolitan area and lead the way in urban mushroom cultivation in the Northwest. The demand for oyster mushrooms is currently met by large agri-businesses located hundreds of miles away. The team’s oyster mushrooms are grown locally on agricultural by-products and urban-generated waste, using an innovative cultivation technique that eliminates plastic waste from the operation.

Forge Portland

Forge Portland is a shared workspace that will house up to 40 nonprofit organizations from similar sectors. By offering shared resources, nonprofits will reduce their overhead and administrative costs so they can leverage and align their existing resources to better serve their mission.


Entrepreneurship at Lewis & Clark

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