Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) today announced the honorees for the first OEN Community Catalyst Award. The winners will be celebrated at a ceremony with the theme An Evening in Three Acts: Connection, Inspiration and Celebration on Thursday, November 16th, 2023.
OEN is introducing the Community Catalyst Award this year to recognize an individual or community organization that creates opportunities for connection, education, and services in support of local founders and entrepreneurs. This category was created to highlight members of the community who serve tirelessly, often behind the scenes, and are a vital part of what allows the local entrepreneurial ecosystem to thrive.
Moving forward, OEN will recognize three honorees each year as opposed to just a single annual winner. Each year, the Community Catalyst Award honorees group will grow and these distinguished members of the entrepreneurial community will lead the selection process for the award in future years.
The inaugural Community Catalyst Award Honorees are:
- Ciara Pressler | Founder, Pregame
Ciara Pressler is a tireless supporter of entrepreneurs as Pregame’s founder, coach, and consultant, which helps founders and innovative leaders with strategic planning and team development.
Outside of her own business, she has also volunteered her time by serving on the board of Business for a Better Portland, Sport Oregon, and OEN as well as on both Governor Brown’s and Kotek’s Racial Justice Economic Sub-Committees and a Small Business Advisory Committee for Former Commissioner Joanne Hardesty.
She consistently donates her time to local, regional, and national advocacy and public service, having completed the Leadership Portland program and currently a fellow in Oregon’s American Leadership Forum. She also brings energy and her passionate perspective to this community as an engaged participant, public speaker, and as an emcee, including for Pitch Black, previous OEN Awards, and local nonprofit fundraisers.
- Mike White | Founder, Willamette Equity Advisors
Mike White started serving the entrepreneurial community when he started doing business advising with the Chemeketa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in 2016. He was the Venture Catalyst player working with Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN), Strategic Economic Development Corporation of Oregon (SEDCOR), McMinnville Economic Development Partnership (MEDP), Latino Business Alliance (LBA), BE BLAC Foundation (BE BLAC) and Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to provide entrepreneurial ecosystem building across Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties.
He has been connecting entrepreneurs to people, programs and capital resources to help scale their businesses which has lead to working with over 1,000+ entrepreneurs, catalyzing 100+ jobs, conducting over 70+ events, and capturing $10m+ in access to capital.
He has volunteered with multiple organizations as a board member to help facilitate new initiatives for DEI and economic development.
- Peter & Pam Horan | Co-Founders, Horan MediaTech Advisors
Peter & Pam Horan have been avid mentors and investors focused on Oregon entrepreneurs, especially those with atypical backgrounds.
They have invested more than $1.5M in the Oregon startup community since including as investors with Oregon Venture Fund, Cascade Seed Fund, Portland Seed Fund, and Elevate Capital, as well as the Bend Venture Conference. They have directly invested in a number of leading Oregon startups including: Slumberkins; WildFang; A Kids Company About; WorkFrom; AllGo; ChelaMedia; Candid Wholesale; Edify; Outdoor Project, and Peter has served on the boards of Digital Trends, BrandLive, and Outdoor Project.
They have served the community in volunteer roles such as TechFestNW, the OEN Awards, and 50/50 Women on Boards, by sponsoring events like InventOR and MESA, and they also held a position as Executive in Residence at the PSU Business Accelerator.
“OEN is excited to add an award that will be given annually to recognize the individuals and organizations ensuring entrepreneurs thrive throughout the region,” said OEN Executive Director Cara Turano. “These inaugural Community Catalyst honorees were incredibly difficult to select as there are so many people working behind the scenes to support startup founders. Congratulations and we look forward to celebrating on November 16th.”
The 2023 OEN Entrepreneurship Awards will be held from 5:00-9:00 pm on November 16th at The Armory at Portland Center Stage. Individual tickets can be purchased at www.oen.org/awards23.
Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs start up and scale up. The organization hosts a mix of sector-specific Angel Oregon entrepreneur education and angel investment programs each year, including Angel Oregon Life & Bioscience (AOBIO), Oregon Tech (AOTech) and Oregon Angel Food (OregonAF), as well as the annual OEN Entrepreneurship Awards. Learn more at www.oen.org.