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The Young Entrepreneur Society (Y.E.S.) of Umpqua Valley was launched in 2011 with the intent of igniting an entrepreneurial culture. The idea was to inspire young entrepreneurs to stay in Southern Oregon to build successful, innovative, and 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.

The event was rebranded as “GrowthTalks”. Along with a new name came a new format: Pitch Night - which encouraged startups and small businesses to pitch their idea or fledgling company to a panel of judges for a chance to receive funding and support for launching or growing their idea or business.

So, What Is It?

These events focus on inspiring, informing, and investing in our area’s local entrepreneurs and small businesses.

In either format of Pitch Night, entrepreneurs pitch their small business or startup idea in front of a team of judges and a live audience, competing for prizes.

There are requirements and an application process for the different stages.

Why It’s Important

GrowthTalks is hosted by Umpqua Economic Development Partnership. As a Douglas County economic development organization, part of our focus is on 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 events will grow our startup community and lead entrepreneurs down a pathway to success.

Support GrowthTalks

Growth Talks rely on the generous support from our community. If you like to support local small businesses and foster economic vitality in our county, please email to request the Partnership Package.

Thank you to our partners!

Title Partners

Supporting Partners