Sep 09, 2021
In a one-of-its-kind collaboration, Humboldt State University’s Northern California Small Business Development Center (NorCal SBDC) has partnered with the University of California, Davis to open a tech center that will support business owners and innovators in bringing new ideas, inventions, products, and services to market.
The tech center, called SBDCtech @ UCDavis Venture Catalyst, will offer specialized services for entrepreneurs and early-stage startup companies developing technologies in the ag-tech and biotech arenas. With an emphasis on technology-led economic development, it will be a pivotal resource for the Northern California innovation ecosystem.
NorCal SBDC is the fifth largest SBDC network in the country, serving 36 Northern California counties and supporting nearly 45,000 small businesses. Last fall, the network issued a request for proposals to launch a tech center and UC Davis’ Venture Catalyst was selected as the winning bid.
As part of the UC Davis Office of Research, Venture Catalyst helps faculty, students, staff, alumni, and technology licensees launch new startup companies based on intellectual property and innovative ideas developed at UC Davis. Venture Catalyst provides a suite of tools, resources, and connections to accelerate technology commercialization with the goal of enabling broad societal and economic impacts.
“We’re excited to partner with UC Davis and the Venture Catalyst team,” says NorCal SBDC executive director Kristin Johnson. “By combining our expertise in rural economic development, and UC Davis’ broad partnerships with industry stakeholders, this tech center will be a cutting-edge resource for HSU and the Northern California business community.”
Venture Catalyst will manage the new tech center, leveraging their experience to support the regional innovation ecosystem and accelerate technology commercialization.
The tech center will give HSU faculty and rural entrepreneurs the necessary tools to undertake research and development and bring new technologies and ideas to the marketplace. Programs and services delivered by SBDCtech @ UC Davis Venture Catalyst will address a wide range of needs that are critical to the development and growth of tech-based startups. These include customer discovery and validation, market and competitor assessment, business model creation, non-dilutive and investment funding, and intellectual property strategy and management.
“Ag-tech and biotech are not only prominent areas of innovation at UC Davis, but are also industry clusters that show strong economic development potential in the region,” explains Ryan Sharp, director at Venture Catalyst. “We are excited about the opportunity to help seed new companies in the regional economy and help them grow and succeed.”
The tech center collaboration is NorCal SBDC’s first time engaging with a University of California campus. Johnson is excited for students, faculty, and startups in Northern California’s rural communities to expand their impact through the new tech center.
“This will be a great resource for our rural community and a win for HSU,” says Johnson.