Truckee, Calif. September 7, 2017 – The Sierra Small Business Development Center (SBDC), managed by Sierra Business Council (SBC), has been awarded funding to work with the BlueTechValley Central Valley Innovation Cluster (BTVIC). The BTVIC was spearheaded by the International Center for Water Technology at Fresno State as part of a grant from the California Energy Commission to accelerate commercialization of technology. A Cluster Hub will be made available at SBC’s office in Truckee to collaborate with the California State University, Fresno Foundation to connect academics, investors, entrepreneurs, and innovators showcasing emerging technologies in water, energy, and agriculture.
SBC is currently seeking innovative entrepreneurs who are developing solutions to address the region’s needs in the water, energy, and food space. There is no cost to join the program, which will provide entrepreneurs at any stage of project development with tools to bring their technology to market. Participants will be offered a variety of services, including technology evaluation, proof of concept validation, advisory support, training and incubator services as well as connections to investors, industry leaders and potential customers. “We are thrilled to partner with the BTVIC to provide access to commercialization services that will dramatically accelerate the rate of innovation and growth of water and energy-oriented companies in the region. When combined with the services of our SBDC, this program provides essential support to entrepreneurs with triple bottom line solutions. Our mission is to help businesses start, grow, and thrive and this program strategically leverages the region’s resources and assets to create a fertile environment for entrepreneurs to turn vision into real world solutions,” said Kristin York, Vice President of Business Innovation for Sierra Business Council.
The BTVIC represents an expansion and interconnection of multiple incubator and/or entrepreneurship programs with services located at each of seven designated Cluster Hubs, collectively serving 39 counties covering two-thirds of California’s geographic area. “The award will be used to provide key services, infrastructure and resources to energy entrepreneurs with the goal of successfully deploying and commercializing technologies and innovations in water and energy” said Dr. David Zoldoske, executive director of Water Initiatives at Fresno State. “It is a big step to expanding the number of innovative new products and technologies that can improve our water, air, energy and food production practices,” said Zoldoske.
An important element of the program is to provide quantifiable energy use benefits to rural and disadvantaged communities (DACs) as a driver of economic development. Through outreach and educational programs, the SBC Cluster Hub will study energy use in DACs and work to ensure a robust pool of innovators to address their energy challenges.
Sierra Business Council fosters thriving communities in the Sierra Nevada via on-the-ground local projects that promote, develop, and amplify the region’s social, natural, and economic capital. More information on SBC, SBDC, and current projects can be found at www.sierrabusiness.org.