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UC Merced gets $2.2 Million to expand entrepreneurial reach

Posted 1/17/2017 by Central Valley Business Times


UC Merced gets $2.2 Million to expand entrepreneurial reach


January 17, 2017

Central Valley Business Times

•  A multi-pronged plan

•  “Our program is about liberating innovation so that we can deliver new jobs and a more diverse economy”

The University of California, Merced, says it plans to use a $2.2 million one-time grant from the state to expand the resources available to entrepreneurs across the region.

“Success of new businesses is heavily dependent upon connecting to networks,” says Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Peter Schuerman. “To increase the success rate of new job creators, our expansion program will continue to build partnerships in the region that deliver funding opportunities, mentorship, legal advice and space to grow.”

The multi-pronged plan calls for:

• Significantly expanding the UC Merced Venture Lab in downtown Merced to include sites in Atwater and Modesto, making the program more accessible, expanding its network, fostering the development of new startup companies, and attracting new startups to the region;

• Supporting innovators and the improving the program’s sustainability by launching a product development center to spark and develop innovations and advance ideas to the marketplace;

• Establishing a proof-of-concept fund targeted at “graduating” innovations developed at UC Merced;

• Growing Central Valley Ventures, a legal assistance network established in partnership with the UC Berkeley School of Law, to address the needs of entrepreneurs across the entire region, with a special focus on rural entrepreneurs; and

• Extending the UC Davis Venture Catalyst and the Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s Entrepreneurship Academy and its mentor network southward, to give participants a firm grounding in entrepreneurial principles and access to a broader mentor network.

California’s Central Valley includes some of the poorest regions in the nation. In 2013, 20 percent of Central Valley families lived below the poverty line, as compared to 12.6 percent for all Californians. Merced’s experience has been typical of other Valley communities, with unemployment consistently exceeding the statewide average over the years.

“Innovation makes a promise about the future, and entrepreneurship delivers on that promise,” says Mr. Schuerman. “Our program is about liberating innovation so that we can deliver new jobs and a more diverse economy.”


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