New Duck Store incubator aims to hatch more startups

The Duck Store

It only takes a spark to start the next big thing. A spark and startup funding. A spark, startup funding, a business plan, licensing, permits, retail space, marketing …

Starting a business can be a daunting process, especially for a new entrepreneur. But now Ducks and entrepreneurs in general have a new resource to bring their ideas to market.

The Oregon Incubator Program, a partnership between the Duck Store and the UO’s Office of Brand Management, is now accepting applications. For microbusinesses and individual entrepreneurs with an idea for goods or memorabilia, the Oregon Incubator Program streamlines the steps to obtaining licensing approvals, learning the retail market and pricing strategies, and finding space to test new products.

Until now, small business owners have largely navigated the labyrinth of licensing, approvals, purchasing and sales of UO merchandise at the Duck Store on their own. The process often involved dozens of calls and meetings with the Office of Brand Management and the Duck Store. It was exhausting.

Despite the challenges, Duck entrepreneurs like Jason Bolt of Society43 sunglasses and Whitney Alexander of Cowbucker headwear doggedly pursued getting their products placed at the Duck Store. Their experiences, and the experiences of other microbusinesses, led to the formation of the Oregon Incubator Program.

Beginning in January 2016, merchandisers accepted into the Oregon Incubator Program will begin training courses at the Duck Store. In addition to retail and collegiate licensing education, the Duck Store offers program participants a guaranteed minimum purchase of product, as well as distribution at Duck Store locations throughout Oregon and online at

—By Laura McGinnis, Public Affairs Communications