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Introducing a Food-Focused Business Accelerator at Universal Plaza
Universal Plaza is a community gathering spot in the heart of downtown that celebrates our shared humanity and our one shared planet. It’s also home to the Launch Pod Business Accelerator.
In 2022, Tigard purchased and outfitted two food carts with support from an AARP Community Challenge grant. Each cart is equipped as a class IV kitchen to support on-site food prep. These carts will host the food-focused businesses and will be located at Universal Plaza in downtown Tigard, a new $8 million public plaza scheduled to open this April.
Juliana Moseley of Harvest Moon Experience, and Joshua and Alfredo Carreon of the West Coast Torta Company, have been selected as the first participants in Tigard’s Launch Pod, the city’s food-focused business accelerator. This business support program assists entrepreneurs by reducing start-up barriers and providing a business support network.
Harvest Moon Experience will offer a menu of seasonal comfort foods with carefully curated charcuteries. West Coast Torta Co. will serve tortas made with fresh ingredients and authentic home cooked flavor. “This is an amazing opportunity to grow my business,” said Moseley. “We’re really happy to be able to start our business right here in our own community of Tigard,” said Joshua Carreon.
“We’re thrilled to be able to support these two ambitious start-ups,” said Lloyd Purdy, the City of Tigard’s Economic Development Manager. “This program is ideal for new businesses as they test their business model, grow their business, and build a customer base.” After 16 to 24 months, the businesses will move on to the next phase, for example a brick-and-mortar restaurant. The process then repeats, with new entrepreneurs selected for the Launch Pod to help start two more food businesses.
The Launch Pod and Universal Plaza are located in the heart of downtown Tigard at 9100 Burnham St., 97223.
The Launch Pod business accelerator is modeled after the City’s successful Opportunity Café business incubator at the Tigard Library. These business support programs help entrepreneurs start their businesses by reducing start-up barriers and providing a business support network.
In 2022, Tigard purchased and outfitted two food carts with support from an AARP Community Challenge grant and Washington County’s economic development program. Each cart is equipped as a class IV kitchen to support on-site food prep.
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What is a Launch Pod Business Accelerator?
Entrepreneurs selected to operate a cart at Universal Plaza (9100 SW Burnham Street) will receive initially reduced rent and customized business advising during a 16-to-24-month startup phase.
During this time, the rent for each food cart will increase as the entrepreneur tests their business model, grows their business, and builds a customer base. When the entrepreneur progresses to the next phase of their business and moves on from their cart, a new operator will be selected to fill the space. Then the process repeats, helping a new entrepreneur start their business.
Working together, Tigard’s economic development team and participating entrepreneurs will identify a business advising partner for each entrepreneur. The entrepreneur will receive business coaching that includes monthly consultations with a business advisor.
The Launch Pod is an opportunity for first-time business owners to start their business with a support network and low start-up costs. The Launch Pod is scheduled to open along with Universal Plaza in winter 2023.