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startuppdxchallengeA science kit creator, a syrup maker, and a subscription service for local artisans.

These are three of six unique winners that just won the second annual Startup PDX Challenge, an initiative that awards entrepreneurs with $15,000, free office space for 12 months and a handful of free startup services.

Run by the Portland Development Commission, the Challenge is designed to support early-stage startups for one year and spur entrepreneurial growth in the Rose City. This year, the Challenge focused on entrepreneurs with diverse founding teams — namely veterans, women and minorities — that aim to expand nationally or internationally.  A group of investors, founders and accelerator managers ultimately picked the winners after receiving 134 applications.

Here are the Portland-based winning startups:

  • Yellow Scope, a creator of rigorous science kits just for girls;
  • RAFT Syrups, which brews organic botanical and cane sugar syrup for cocktails and home soda making;
  • Society Nine, a fight gear and activewear apparel brand for women;
  •, a technology solution to rental market problems for landlords and tenants;
  • Design + Culture Lab, a research-based urban social lab addressing issues of cultural, racial and ethnic inequality; and
  • Tique Box, a subscription service for specialty items from local artisans.

And here’s what the Challenge winners will take home:

  • $15,000 working capital grant (no equity taken)
  • Free rent for one year in Old Town starting on Oct. 1.
  • Free legal services
  • Free marketing and PR services
  • Free hiring and HR services
  • Free memberships and access to seven different organizations and programs that focus on entrepreneurs

There were also five Merit finalists: Genki Su; GRASP; VDO Interpreters; Carehubs; and ICOM.

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