OEN History


OEN is founded as Oregon Enterprise Forum (OEF), a chapter of MIT Enterprise Forum and an affiliate of the Portland Chamber of Commerce.



We launch the annual Entrepreneurship Awards Dinner, honoring Oregon’s brightest, boldest, and best entrepreneurs. We also host our first Entrepreneurship Conference, which later becomes the Spring Educational Conference.

OEN Timeline 1994


We launch Venture Oregon, an annual conference that draws institutional investors and investment bankers from across the Western U.S. who are interested in emerging Northwest businesses and the region’s growth segments. We end our ties with the Portland Chamber of Commerce.


OEN Timeline 1997


We merge with Oregon Young Entrepreneurs Association (OYEA) and change our name to Oregon Entrepreneurs Forum. PubTalks, our signature monthly happy hours, and panel discussions that originated with OYEA, come under the OEF umbrella.




We launch Portland Angel Network, an angel investor group that meets regularly to see presentations from companies looking for investors.

OEN Timeline 1998


OEN Timeline 1999


We split from MIT Enterprise Forum and become an independent organization, hiring Linda Weston as our President & Executive Director. We add Angel Oregon to the annual Venture Oregon Conference, connecting angel investors to early-stage entrepreneurs who are seeking funding.



Angel Oregon becomes a stand-alone event, offering early-stage companies an opportunity to compete for an investment award while offering new investors a chance to learn about angel investing. We launch our monthly PubTalk program in Central Oregon and launch the Women’s Investment Network (WIN), with a goal of improving the gender diversity of Oregon’s investor community.  

OEN Timeline 2002


OEN Timeline - 2003



We launch our Executive Leadership Series, a 16-part series to help entrepreneurs and founding executives with topics like “Go-to-market strategies,” “Building sales strategy, process and people,” and “Developing financials, projections and valuations.”


We launch our quarterly CEO Roundtables, lunch discussions facilitated by an experienced serial CEO. We also launch the Entrepreneurs Bus Tour, which invites early-stage entrepreneurs to visit experienced Northwest CEOs. OEF is selected as one of three national finalists in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year “supporter of entrepreneurship” category.

OEN Timeline 2005


OEN Timeline 2006

Venture Oregon is expanded and renamed Venture Northwest. We receive a $240,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (USEDA) for a statewide project designed to accelerate entrepreneurial activity and new job creation throughout Oregon and SW Washington through the expansion of access to capital. Inspired by OEN’s Angel Oregon, the Bend Venture Conference is launched to help fund startups in Central Oregon and across the state.




We change our name to Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN). The Oregon Angel Fund spins out of Angel Oregon, which collaborates with Portland Angel Network to invest in early-stage companies.

OEN Timeline 2007


OEN Timeline 2008



We complete the USEDA grant, exceeding all goals for our statewide project. An Angel Oregon investment award winner celebrates a successful exit, and OEN wins a Governor’s Gold Award.




OEN implements our first Annual Fund Campaign, raising more than $56,000. Assisted by OEN’s Angel Oregon, the Willamette Angel Conference is launched to help fund startups in the Willamette Valley and across the state.

OEN Timeline 2009


OEN Timeline 2010


We acquire the Entrepreneurs Foundation of the Northwest (EFNW), which works with young companies to grant equity interests that will fund their future philanthropic giving. A grant from Business Oregon helps to fund statewide outreach in the Gorge, Southern Willamette Valley, and Southern Oregon.


OEN launches the OEN Catalyst Fund, a professionally managed investment fund to invest in early-stage companies, as well as the OEN Tom Holce Endowment for Entrepreneurship. We receive the Oregon Community Foundation’s first-ever economic development grant to launch bootcamps for entrepreneurs in the Gorge, Bend, and Medford.

OEN Timeline 2011


OEN Timeline 2012

We facilitate investment by the Portland Development Commission and City of Hillsboro into the Portland Seed Fund, a privately managed fund and (non-resident) accelerator. We sunset the Venture Northwest Conference, launch our annual Pitch & Putt networking event, and implement the statewide bootcamps funded by OCF.


We sunset the Portland Angel Network and launch a new event, the OEN Entrepreneurial Summit, featuring personal stories of challenge and triumph from successful Oregon entrepreneurs. We receive a new round of grants from the Oregon Community Foundation and Business Oregon supporting our statewide work, and a grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust to support EFNW. We assist in launching the Roseburg Angel Investor Network (RAIN) conference to help fund startups in Southern Oregon and across the state.

OEN Timeline 2013


OEN Timeline 2014



We secure a third round of grant funding from OCF to continue the bootcamp programs in Bend, The Gorge, and Southern Oregon and secure a $92,000 grant from NSF/SBIR to support Angel Oregon.


We host our first stand-alone tradeshow, connecting entrepreneurs to organizations that provide services and access to capital for entrepreneurs. We also host our first elevator pitch event, providing early-stage companies with the chance to present a pitch to an investor in an elevator. Linda Weston announces her retirement as OEN’s President and Executive Director at the end of 2016 and the search begins for her successor.

OEN Timeline 2015


The Oregon Community Foundation awards OEN a $150,000 grant, the largest economic development grant OCF has awarded to date. The grant provides funding for three Venture Catalysts located in Central Oregon, the Southern Willamette Valley, and Southern Oregon. Linda Weston officially retires and is honored at OEN’s Tom Holce Entrepreneurship Awards with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. Maggie Finnerty is hired as OEN’s new President and Executive Director.


Maggie Finnerty takes the reigns as OEN’s new President and Executive Director. At OEN’s 2017 Angel Oregon Showcase, Prosper Portland provides three cash prizes totaling $25,000 to women and minority entrepreneurs. OEN begins laying the groundwork for a new strategy focused on building community within industry clusters statewide.

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