RAINMaker Awards could turn summer break into a startup

April 3, 2015 - 6:00am

While some students are working as interns or taking classes this summer, others could be launching their own company with a little help from the University of Oregon RAINMaker Awards.

Open to UO undergraduate students at the junior level and above and to graduate students, the $5,000 seed grants are intended to support student entrepreneurs in the early stages of building their startups. The program is open to students in any major who have an idea for a new company. Funds can be used to cover product testing, building a website, incorporation costs or even to finance the team for a few months.

“This award is helping cultivate student innovation on campus,” said Patrick Jones, associate vice president for research and innovation. “The RAINMaker Fund will offer promising students the resources they need to jump start their careers as entrepreneurs.”

Recipients of the award are encouraged to connect with the RAIN@UO and RAIN Eugene networks of startup mentoring and entrepreneurial support, including applying to the RAIN Eugene Accelerator.

The RAINMaker Award is funded by music entrepreneur and artist Paul Anthony Troiano, who launched the music startup company Rumblefish out of his UO dorm room in 1996. The company is now the world leader in music micro-licensing, with more than 75 million songs licensed. Rumblefish serves major clients such as YouTube, Google, Vimeo and Shutterstock.

“As a student entrepreneur, resources, guidance and coaching were hard to find and you felt like the only available option was to go it alone,” Troiano said. “The RAINMaker Fund rewards and encourages student entrepreneurs who demonstrate true entrepreneurial talent by proactively starting a business.”

Troiano stresses that the grants are not targeted toward students with high GPAs. Instead, it rewards entrepreneurial aptitude and a willingness to take a risk and build something new. Music students are especially encouraged to apply — Troiano attended the UO School of Music and Dance while he was a student at the UO.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. Friday, April 17. For more information and to apply, visit the RAINMaker page on the Research and Innovation website.