Yes, we are still in the midst of a sunny, Central Oregon summer. But hop out of that inner tube and put down your beer (just for a minute) because it’s time to start thinking about fall — and that means the Bend Venture Conference. Hosted by EDCO, the BVC offers some exciting additions this year, including a Social Impact Competition.

This new track is open to for-profit companies, whose business models are integrated with a mission to have a significant, measurable social or environmental impact. Startups in this category should be aiming to create long-term value and attractive returns on capital, according to an EDCO news release. Applicants must be located in Oregon to apply or win. Interested? Apply here. 

Startups participating in the Social Impact track could win an investment of $25,000-$100,000, and $25,000 of investment has already been committed.“This will bring a sizable investment into a company that not only has a compelling business plan, but also has an integrated social and/or environmental mission,” says Brian Vierra, EDCO’s venture catalyst.

Odysys at BVC 2015.
Kent Schnepp, founder of Odysys, at BVC 2015.

The conference will also have its traditional early and growth-stage competitions. Last year’s BVC awarded nearly $1 million in investments and prizes.

The Early Stage Competition is open to companies that have a great idea and are close to “proof of concept.” They are pre-revenue (or very early) and are in the process of testing their product in the market. Applicants must be located in Central Oregon to apply or win. Is that your company? Apply here.

Early Stage finalists compete for a $15,000 cash prize, thanks to BendBroadband Business (also a sponsor of this blog. BBB FTW!).

The co-founders of SnoPlanks, last year's Early Stage winners.
The co-founders of SnoPlanks, last year’s Early Stage winners.

And last, but not least is the  Growth Stage Competition. This track is open to companies that have a proven concept, have generated initial revenues and are prepared to scale quickly with investment. Growth Stage finalists could collect an investment of $250,000 or more. Applicants can be located anywhere in the U.S. to apply or win. Fundraising? Apply here.

The conference is scheduled for Thursday, October 13 and Friday, October 14, 2016 at the Tower Theater downtown.“We expect to sell out early again this year and set new standards for both the quality of companies we attract and the amount of capital we deploy into them,” Vierra says.

However, you should probably get into town a day early. That way you can also check out the newly dubbed Venture Out Festival, a pitch-fest specifically for outdoor-related startups. The event, slated for Wednesday Oct. 12 at the Tower, will award $110,000 in investments. It’s organized by Bend Outdoor Worx and promises to be all sorts of fun. 

Alright, so if you’re a founder, you’ve got some applying to do. Others can join me in the Tower Theater audience, cheering on all these entrepreneurs, taking selfies and eating candy from my purse. BVC Tickets are on sale now.