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Posts Tagged: innovation

UC innovators sought for Entrepreneur Pitch Competition, apply by Dec. 12

Apply to the 3rd Annual UC Entrepreneur Pitch Competition and win a chance to pitch in front of more than 700 venture capitalists at the Global Corporate Venturing and Innovation Summit and $15,000 in prize money.

The event is a systemwide effort to connect veteran and new UC entrepreneurs with coaching, resources and exposure to a network of investors to advance and scale their startups.

The university's Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is inviting startups with at least one UC student, staff, academic or alumnus founder to pitch their projects to investors and strategic partners by submitting a pitch video and an associated pitch deck to the competition website. Video submissions will be featured on the university's entrepreneur website, showcasing the impressive entrepreneurial activity and rich innovative spirit of the UC community.

There are two tracks in the competition: an early-stage track for startups in funding round pre-Series A, and a later-stage track for startups in Series A and beyond. A panel of distinguished corporate mentors will review and select a dozen finalists: six startups in the early-stage track and six startups in the later-stage track.

All finalists will receive individualized coaching from their mentors before their final presentations at the 4th Annual Global Corporate Venturing & Innovation Summit in Monterey on Jan. 30-31, 2019.

Finalists will then pitch their startups to more than 700 business leaders and venture capitalists. The winner in each of the two categories will take home a $15,000 prize for his or her company.

If you are interested in competing, submit your materials to the competition website by 11:59 p.m. PST, on Dec. 12, 2018. The 12 finalists will be announced in early January.

UC generates an average of five inventions per day and holds more patents than any other university in the country. In 2013, President Napolitano launched the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative to leverage the scale and diversity of the UC system to build an even more vibrant entrepreneurial culture.

Learn more at https://entrepreneurs.universityofcalifornia.edu.

Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 6:06 PM

Seed planted to grow Northern California Ag Innovation Hub

Farmers, ag innovators and venture capitalists gathered in Woodland to discuss creating Northern California's Ag Innovation Hub.

On Jan. 30, 2018, another seed was planted for the future of Northern California's agriculture industry. That seed was a commitment to innovation and new technologies in a region where the primary economic driver is agriculture.

Around 200 people, including farmers, ag innovators and venture capitalists, attended an event in Woodland titled “Creating Northern California's Ag Innovation Hub,” presented by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, AgStart, The Food Front and the City of Woodland. 

Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources, gave the keynote speech and talked about the importance of synergy between agriculture, innovation and technology in California, while discussing 21st century challenges, such as rural broadband connectivity, going forward.

“Entrepreneurship in our rural areas is far greater than in our urban areas,” Humiston said on ?ag tech innovation.

She urged ag innovators to use UC institutions and programs, including the UC Integrated Pest Management Program, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, the Agricultural Issues Center, UC Informatics and GIS, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, California 4-H, California Naturalist, the UC Master Gardener Program, the UC Master Food Preserver Program, the California Institute for Water Resources, the UC Nutrition Policy Institute, the UC Cooperative Extension system, the UC Research Extension Center system, Apps for Ag, along with all of the UC campuses.

There were two panel discussions during the event, both of which were moderated by Lon Hatamiya of The Hatamiya Group.

The first panel focused on agriculture in the global and statewide perspective. Panelists included Gabe Youtsey of UC ANR, Seana Day of Better Food Ventures and The Mixing Bowl Hub, Megan Nunes of Vinsight and John Selep of AgStart.

“One of the key innovations that needs to happen is marrying the ‘strange bedfellows' of data science and the grower and ag community,” said Youtsey, UC ANR's chief innovation officer.

He talked about thinking outside the box on public and private partnerships to create a better ecosystem for collaboration in the California ag tech community. Youtsey also noted that rural broadband connectivity was the limiting factor to bridging the gap between the Central Valley and Silicon Valley, and affirmed that UC ANR's Verde Innovation Network for Entrepreneurship (VINE) was working hard to address this.

“We have the opportunity here to create a world-class innovation hub that will be second-to-none,” he said.

Collaboration among public institutions and private companies create an ecosystem to better foster innovation, said Gabe Youtsey.

Nunes of Vinsight, a software for winegrowers, stated that “UC Davis research is kind of the first ‘open source' for ag tech and innovation.”

The second panel focused on the regional and local perspective of agriculture. The panelists were Justin Siegel of the UC Davis Genome Center, Frank Muller of Muller Ranch, Dennis Donohue of Western Growers, and Ken Hiatt of the City of Woodland and The Food Front.

Siegel indicated that the tech industry is beginning to hit a steady state now and doesn't have as much exponential growth as before, but there are still huge numbers of entrepreneurs flooding into it.

“Ag tech needs to capitalize on educating them about ag,” he said.

Muller of Muller Ranch, a Yolo County diversified farm consisting of several thousand acres, touched on the importance of technology in agriculture.

“For me, ag tech is finding new ways to produce more with less and to do it more sustainably,” he said. 

Woodland officials have already identified a 351-acre site for a mixed-use research park about eight miles north of UC Davis, where both commercial and residential development will be modeled after other successful tech parks near research universities in California. The only difference will be that this one will be focused on agricultural technology and will provide a place for new companies to incubate, grow, collaborate and prosper.

Related reading about creating Northern California's Ag Innovation Hub: 

https://www.comstocksmag.com/longreads/woodland-way

http://www.capradio.org/articles/2018/01/30/woodland-hopes-to-create-agriculture-innovation-center-near-uc-davis/

http://www.dailydemocrat.com/business/20180130/woodland-as-ag-hub-topic-of-forum

 

 

 

 

Posted on Monday, February 26, 2018 at 10:12 AM
  • Author: Tyler Ash
Focus Area Tags: Innovation

AgPlus Funders Forum aims to improve access to agricultural business financing

In a working session, AgPlus Funders Forum participants split into groups to focus on identifying opportunities for supporting economic development, supporting small business, effective intermediaries and regional finance funds.

To enhance funding for food and agriculture businesses in the Central Valley, more than 60 people involved in small business finance gathered at the AgPlus Funders Forum Dec. 12 to contribute ideas.

Representatives from financial institutions, economic development organizations, universities, government agencies and innovative funders like community development financial institutions (CDFI) attended. Participants shared innovative financing tools for business and discussed obstacles for people in rural communities to access capital at the forum at the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources building in Davis.

Two primary challenges faced by people trying to start a new business are figuring out how to get started – such as their supply chain – and gaining access to capital to finance their endeavor, according to keynote speaker Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

There are many funding sources that people aren't aware of, says Glenda Humiston

“There are actually an array of sources of capital beyond just the traditional bank loan, the problem is people don't know about them or how to access them,” Humiston said. She added that much more capital could be available to Central Valley businesses if residents would invest locally. “If you had brought home just one percent of the retirement accounts held by people in the AgPLUS region back in 2010, you would have had over $1 billion to invest in this region,” she said.

Marc Nemanic of 3CORE, Carrie Ellinwood of U.S. Small Business Administration, Ismael Herrero of Fresno State's Office of Community and Economic Development, and Catherine Howard of Northern California Community Loan Fund discussed some of the challenges for financing new businesses and alternatives to traditional bank loans.

Nemanic noted that many millennials are carrying student loan debt, which may make them averse to taking on more debt or prevent them from qualifying for business loans.

Howard said her organization is creating a tool to help people satisfy collateral requirements for credit.

To build their businesses, entrepreneurs often need technical assistance so Herrera's office pairs young companies with experienced mentors and other services. Herrera said he is working to create public and private partnerships in rural communities, such as commercial kitchens for people to turn farm produce into value-added products to sell at farmers markets.

Panelists pointed out that jobs in the gig economy, such as driving for Uber or Lyft, don't provide the stable income that tradition lenders seek in borrowers so they need to create a flexible product.

Meg Arnold, far left, moderated a panel discussion on challenges for financing new businesses. From left, Marc Nemanic, Carrie Ellinwood, Ismael Herrero and Catherine Howard.

In the afternoon, participants split into four groups to focus on identifying opportunities for supporting economic development, supporting small business and microenterprises, effective intermediaries to connect investors with entrepreneurs, and regional finance funds. Each topic was discussed by a diverse group of people as peers and experts, bringing their own expertise to the table.

To address the interplay between higher education, student debt and the structural changes in the nation's economy, Meg Arnold, who moderated the session, said she could foresee policy implications.

“Student debt is not forgivable,” said Arnold, managing director of Valley Vision. “At the same time we are making a four-year university degree both more necessary and less affordable, the economy is also changing, to the point that some graduates may need to think of self-employment or gig economy employment.

The 2012 Access to Capital Report by California Financial Opportunities Roundtable lists 34 ways to access capital.
The discussions identified many other challenges for the food and agriculture sectors in rural parts of the state that need to be overcome to access capital.

“We need everybody who participated today to share those examples of where something kind of unique or innovative is really working,” said Humiston.

Ideas generated during the forum will be used to inform the work of the Central Valley AgPLUS Food and Beverage Manufacturing Consortium, which hosted the AgPlus Funders Forum. The information will also be used by Humiston to update the 2012 Capital Access Report by California Financial Opportunities Roundtable (CalFOR). The report highlights financial needs for businesses in California, reviews financial tools and capital sources and provides policy recommendations. Humiston will also convey the outcomes to the California Economic Summit.

The AgPlus Funders Forum was sponsored by Chase Bank, Valley Vision, the Center for Economic Development, First Northern Bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Employment Training Panel, Blue Tech Valley, Fresno State Community and Economic Development and UC ANR.

Posted on Monday, December 18, 2017 at 5:03 PM

FOOD IT explores applying IT to food and agriculture challenges

UC ANR is a sponsoring partner of The Mixing Bowl's FOOD IT event taking place Tuesday, June 27, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. 

Participants will explore the different ways in which information technology is being applied to a broad range of food and agriculture challenges. 

VP Glenda Humiston will be moderating a panel called “The Deans' List of Food/AgTech Topics” that will feature food and agriculture university deans Helene Dillard from UC Davis, Andrew Thulin from Cal Poly and Wendy Wintersteen from Iowa State.

"Overall, FOOD IT will gather 300 people, from food producers, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, venture capitalists, industry executives, researchers and non-profits, representing all aspects of the food system for a highly interactive day," said Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer.

Speakers and participants include representatives from food and retail companies including Airbnb, Analog Devices, AT&T, Bowles Farming Company, Forbes, Campbell's, Coca-Cola, Driscoll's, Google, Land O' Lakes, Mattson, Rabobank, Recology, Syngenta, Upfront Ventures, Walmart, Western Digital, Yamaha and many more. You can read more about the event at http://mixingbowlhub.com/events/food-fork-farm

To register for FOOD IT, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/food-it-fork-to-farm-tickets-30230557411. Use discount code “17STMB" for 70 percent off (just $75 for the day).

UC ANR goes to Washington

The UC ANR group at the nation's capitol from left, Gabe Youtsey, Lucas Frerichs, Clare Gupta, Dina Moore, Bill Frost,Glenda Humiston, Lorrene Ritchie, Mike Mellano, Cher Watte and Wendy Powers.

“We visited offices of 26 of California's 55-member congressional delegation in two days!” said Lucas Frerichs, government and community relations manager. 

On March 6-9, a UC ANR delegation attended the 35th Annual Council on Agriculture Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) meetings in Washington D.C. CARET is part of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). They also made congressional visits to explain the importance of science and research to California.

From left, Humiston, Congressman Jimmy Panetta and Frerichs.
“Our primary purpose for the visits was to show the members of Congress all the good work UC ANR is doing throughout California, whether it's through our Cooperative Extension efforts, 4-H Youth Development program, nutrition programs, Integrated Pest Management, Master Gardeners, etc.,” Frerichs said, “and the value that Californians receive from the money Congress allocates to the university for UC ANR programs.”

Vice President Glenda Humiston was joined by AVP Wendy Powers, UCB College of Natural Resources Dean Keith Gilless, UCR College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Dean Kathryn Uhrich, Nutrition Policy Institute Director Lorrene Ritchie, UC Cooperative Extension Specialist Clare Gupta, Chief Innovation Officer Gabe Youtsey, and Frerichs. Industry partners Bill Frost, former UC ANR AVP; Cher Watte, executive director of the California Asparagus Commission; Mike Mellano, fresh cut flower grower; Dina Moore, Humboldt County rancher; and Jean-Mari Peltier, managing partner of Environmental Solutions Group, served as CARET delegates from California.

The group split up into teams to visit the offices of Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, agriculture committee members, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and other California representatives.

Although no U.S. secretary of agriculture had been confirmed at the time of their visit, members expressed their support for agriculture.

“One thing that members of Congress – Republicans and Democrats – can certainly agree on is that the support for agriculture and the University of California is strong,” Frerichs said.

Read more about the CARET visits in Powers' ANR Adventures blog

From left, Youtsey, Mellano, Congressman Eric Swalwell, Ritchie, Frost and Powers.

Read more

 
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