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Engines of Opportunity

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Drawing on its intellectual capital across disciplines and its proven record of startup success, UC Santa Barbara is moving full steam ahead on a host of programs all centered on innovation and entrepreneurship.

The initiatives are part of a larger University of California effort backed by the State of California through Assembly Bill 2664, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Expansion. With $22 million in funding distributed evenly among the 10 UC campuses, the bill represents an investment by the state in infrastructure, incubators and education endeavors focused on innovation.

At UCSB, the campus program SEED-SB put several measures into play,  providing resources for campus-based entrepreneurs to accelerate their startup ventures through grants and professional and business development training, as well as with software and equipment.

Among them is eco-entrepreneur startup EVmatch, a peer-to-peer network for sharing home electric vehicle charging stations. Using SEED-SB proof-of-concept funds to bridge a critical funding gap, founders Heather Hochrein and Shannon Walker from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, gained momentum with their effort to attract investors.

Future endeavors include the establishment of a new startup incubator on the UCSB campus. Situated in Mosher Alumni House, The Garage, as it will be known, will serve as a dedicated space that provides UCSB students, faculty, alumni and affiliates a variety of resources to help them launch their new ventures. Programming in The Garage will include a summer launchpad accelerator, alumni and mentor support, and access to angel investors.

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By Sonia Fernandez

December 6, 2017