Erin Fogg (831) 515-6403
Grassroots Entrepreneurship Highlighted at Steinbeck FastTracÂ® NewVentureÂ© Event
New startup accelerator, investment progress, and 22 entrepreneurial graduates highlighted at evening event
- Wednesday evening business, political and community leaders from across Monterey County recognized 22 Steinbeck FastTracÂ® NewVentureÂ© Program
graduates and celebrated tremendous progress made by the Steinbeck Innovation Foundation and its Salinas-based ag tech cluster initiatives.
Steinbeck Innovation Foundation co-founder John Hartnett shared progress made by the Steinbeck Innovation Foundation
during its first year of existence, including the announcement that SIF's startup accelerator has found a home and is slated to open in Q1 of 2014 within the National Steinbeck Center
in downtown Salinas. Twelve companies have already registered affiliates at the new Steinbeck Innovation Center, including five of the FastTrac NewVenture graduates who will receive 6 months of free "flexspace" allowing them to access both the new Steinbeck Innovation Center and SVG Partners' established accelerator in downtown San Jose.
Other highlights of the evening included:
An update from Steinbeck Innovation Foundation board member Margaret D'Arrigo on the growth of SIF's free youth coding club, CoderDojo Steinbeck Country, which has introduced hundreds of Salinas youth between the ages of 5 to 17 to coding and computer science working with Hartnell Community College in Salinas.
A smarter farming update by Captain Wayne Porter, of the Naval Post Graduate School. Captain Porter contributed as an academic observer to the formation of the Steinbeck Innovation Cluster model. He highlighted SIF's 5 MOUs with major research institutions and growing national interest in the Steinbeck Innovation cluster model and its focus on precision agriculture and its implications for building greater efficiencies in energy and water use, and waste management. For more information on the cluster model, click HERE.
Attendees also heard from Luis Alvarez, President and CEO of Alvarez Technology Group, who introduced the Steinbeck Innovation Foundation's new Steinbeck Innovation Talks, slated to begin early next year. Steinbeck Talks will bring innovators in the fields of business and technology for seminars and Q&A sessions. Events will be hosted at the National Steinbeck Center. A schedule, beginning with a first talk in early 2014, will be available on the Steinbeck Innovation website.
The graduation event included a "fireside chat" with Bruce Taylor, CEO of Taylor Farms. Taylor offered a fresh and candid view of entrepreneurial success.
â€œBe curious â€“ you can learn something from somebody everyday if youâ€™re listening and inquisitive and open to learning," said Taylor. "The world tomorrow is different from today and next week from this week. If youâ€™re not learning youâ€™re falling behind.â€
He shared his passion for a future of collaborative progress within the agricultural community in Salinas, embodied by the Steinbeck Innovation Foundation's programs and SIF's signature work building connections between Silicon Valley and the Salinas Valley. Taylor was an early supporter of SIF.
The evening culminated with special recognition for four of the 22 Steinbeck FastTracÂ® NewVentureÂ© Program
1. Brent Virgin: Best Business Model
2. Ken Rozin: Best User Experience
3. John Bailey: Most Creative Vision
4. Maria and Fernando Negron: Most Inspirational
"I want to thank Steinbeck Innovation Foundation," said Brent Virgin. "This is very timely for me. I am one of the people that was affected by Capital One [closure]. I made a very conscious decision to stay in Monterey County. One of the things this program did was bring some focus to what I really wanted to do and put it down on paper. For us this is the end of the beginning. We have a lot more work to do.â€
The graduates' journey was highlighted in a 4-minute video available here:
The Steinbeck Fast TracÂ® New VentureÂ© Program class of 2013:
John Bailey | Ricca Belli | Gonzalo Cabrera | Lavonne Chin | Paul Fuller | Angel Garibaldo | Stephen Hernandez | Kelly Keeling | Jessica Landa | Osbaldo Lucero | Fernando Negron | Maria Negron | Roberto Ornelas | Silas Quintero | Jhanic Ramos | Brian Rhodes | Victor Robledo | Ken Rozin | Trish Sullivan | Veronique Torne | Brent Virgin | Ellen Wrona
The Steinbeck Innovation FastTracÂ® NewVentureÂ© Program, offered by the Steinbeck Innovation Foundation (SIF)
in partnership with SVG Partners
, was an 8-week intensive entrepreneurial training program that culminated early this month with a pitch session in Silicon Valley.
For more information on any of the programs listed above please click HERE