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The Young Entrepreneur Society (Y.E.S.) of Umpqua Valley was launched in2011 with the intent of igniting an entrepreneurial culture. The idea was to inspire young entrepreneurs to stay here in Southern Oregon to grow successful, innovative, and build fun companies. These events were additionally intended to help young professionals and entrepreneurs connect. In May 2017, the Umpqua Business Center began managing the Y.E.S. group and renamed it Umpqua Pub Talks. Then, in June of 2019,Umpqua Economic Development Partnership (The Partnership) adopted Pub Talks as a part of their strategic plan to grow our entrepreneurial ecosystem, build a funding pipeline that supports these entrepreneurs, and enhance the economic vitality of Douglas County. Based on the results of a survey sent out to our small business community, the event was rebranded to “GrowthTalks”. Along with a new name came a new format – Pitch Night, which encouraged startups to pitch their idea for a chance to receive$1,000 for their business (no business plan required)!

So, What Is It?

These events focus on inspiring, informing, and investing in our area’s local entrepreneurs and small businesses. Pitch Night is a place anyone can come and pitch their business idea in front of a team of Judges and win $1,000 to bring your idea to life. There are requirements and an application with a key focus on any new business idea that has not already generated over $5,000 in revenue.

The GrowthTalks events will be scheduled up to once a month based on the number of incoming Pitch Night applications. The more applications we get, the more Pitch Nights we will have!

Here are a few places to read and see more about these events:





Pitch Night

The News Review


Why It’s Important

GrowthTalks is hosted by Umpqua Economic Development Partnership. As a Douglas County economic development organization, part of what we focus on, is workforce and entrepreneurial development. The ability of entrepreneurs to start new businesses and scale them is critical for future economic growth in our county. These bi-monthly events will allow us to grow our startup community and lead entrepreneurs down a pathway to success.

The Future

We look forward to hosting more GrowthTalks and Pitch Nights in 2022. How fast we can ramp up is based primarily on how many Pitch Night applications we receive. Our goal is to strengthen our local entrepreneurial ecosystem and create a world where anyone with a good idea can build it into a company. With new State and Federal Government grants coming to support and rekindle small business growth, every entrepreneur’s future is bright!

Support GrowthTalks

As a non-profit 501(c)6 organization, we cannot meet our goals without the generous support from our community. If you like to support local small businesses and foster economic vitality in our county, all while having a lot of fun, this is a great place to be involved! Contributions, partnerships, and help are encouraged and appreciated.

Please email to request the Partnership Package.

Thank you to our 2022 partners!

Title Partners

Supporting Partners