UCR’s Center for Entrepreneurs Wins $499,000 Grant

The Regional Innovation Strategies program was created to spur innovation across the nation

Christopher Earl, TriTech Small Business Development Center, and Taj Ahmed, Entrepreneur in Residence at UCR, at the EPIC launch event on Oct. 26, 2016, at the Riverside County Administration Center.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — A newly launched University of California, Riverside-based center for entrepreneurs has received a $499,000 award through the United States Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies program.

The Riverside Entrepreneurial Proof of Concept Center, or Riverside EPIC, is among 35 entrepreneurial organizations in 19 states that will receive a total of $15 million to create and expand their programs. EPIC will receive the federal funds in January 2017. The organizations were chosen from among 215 applicants.

The Regional Innovation Strategies program was created by the federal EDA to spur innovation across the nation, according to an EDA press release. The grant to UCR is called a “challenge investment,” which helps create and expand proof-of-concept and commercialization programs.

UCR Associate Vice Chancellor of Technology Partnerships Rosibel Ochoa said the funds will be used to support a holistic entrepreneurial effort serving Riverside County. EPIC is a haven for entrepreneurs and students alike, she said.

“Support for EPIC from the Riverside County Economic Development Agency, and our city and regional partners, is evidence that our region is primed to support the growth of high knowledge-based jobs and the entrepreneurial community they can develop from,” Ochoa said. “The funds from EDA will accelerate our effort and the region.”

Riverside EPIC launched Oct. 26, charged with providing resources for training, mentors, and connections to investors and partners. The primary sponsor is the Riverside County Economic Development Agency, with other sponsors including the cities of Corona, Murrieta, Riverside, Temecula and Palm Desert, the Temecula Valley Entrepreneur Exchange, InSoCal Connect, the Murrieta Innovation Center, and Excite. EPIC will serve an area of 27,000 square miles, offering startup services for students, faculty, and entrepreneurs.

UCR faculty and researchers generate more than 70 new inventions every year, and the university files about 25 new patents annually. The UC system generates more patents than any university in the United States, averaging five inventions a day. UC-affiliated companies employ more than 38,000 workers, contributing more than $20 billion to the California economy.

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