EPIC Small Business Development Center Will Help Inland Empire Startups Flourish

Center opens April 3; will offer support to technology-focused entrepreneurs

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu)— Every community yearns for its own Silicon Valley, a place where brainpower, technology and investors come together to provide lots of clean, local, well-paying jobs. UC Riverside has taken further steps to make those partnerships a reality for inland Southern California, with its new EPIC Small Business Development Center, or EPIC SBDC, a one-stop center for entrepreneurial support open to technology-focused entrepreneurs on April 3 in Downtown Riverside.

The EPIC SBDC is a partnership with Riverside County, funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the state of California to provide free training, access to capital, and ongoing support from seasoned entrepreneurs and industry experts.

“There’s no better time to be a tech entrepreneur in our region,” said Scott Brovsky, a former startup entrepreneur who is helping to launch the EPIC SBDC program. “The amount of support EPIC SBDC will bring is something that’s never been seen before in this region. The EPIC SBDC is a faster on-ramp to success.”

The EPIC SBDC will make available to the tech start-up community the expertise of 20 mentors called Entrepreneurs in Residence, or EIRs. These are established entrepreneurs and executives; experts in their respective industries who will provide free consultation.

That guidance is critical for new companies, said Tom Stone, CEO of Sensorygen, one of the 180 teams that UCR EPIC has coached since its inception. Sensorygen just received a $450,000 investment from the recently launched Highlander Venture Fund to develop an effective but non-toxic repellant for mosquitos, and Stone said the help from the UCR EPIC EIRs was “invaluable” in getting those funds.

“When you’re in the middle of starting a company, it isn’t obvious where your weak spots are.” Stone said. “Their EIRs are top-notch people. They review your business plan and give you really good feedback about how to start your business and get to market.”

More than a dozen companies have moved forward under UCR EPIC’s tutelage, and their names alone provide an intriguing glimpse at the range of tech-job opportunities they might someday provide: InstAPP Deals and SavingFace in Coachella Valley; Rival, and EZER in Corona; Murrieta Genomics and Terra Manta in Murrieta; DeepBits, Blue Social and Kids that Code in Riverside and Vinduino, Agrobiomics, and TotalABA in Temecula.

For more information about EPIC SBDC, contact Scott Brovsky at scott.brovsky@ucr.edu. The official launch and open house is open to everyone, and is 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 3, in the Riverside County Business Center, 3403 10th St, Riverside, CA 92501.

The Entrepreneurial Proof of Concept Center (EPIC) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the University of California at Riverside, and other private sector funds to offer no-cost business consulting and training for technology ventures throughout the Inland region. The program’s consultants include entrepreneurs in residence who assist clients with: equity and debt funding, pitching, intellectual property, SBIR/STTR applications and more. EPIC SBDC is a service center of the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC Network. For additional information, visit sbdctech.org.

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