The idea is to create a program that identifies, supports and encourages South Coast startup ventures that come from local universities, colleges and high schools, according to Michael Holliday.
It’s called Start It in Santa Barbara, said Holliday, the founder of the South Coast Business Forum. He said it’s a three-day event slated for November that facilitates business development by focusing on leading industries and institutions.
“It’s a brainstorm with Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and Goleta Mayor Ed Easton that promotes an ecosystem that allows for the local startup industry to thrive and flourish,” Holliday said. “We want to show that the South Coast isn’t just a great place to start a tech company but to grown any business because of the environment and quality of life. Good things get started in Santa Barbara.”
Start It in Santa Barbara was one of the topics discussed at the most recent South Coast Business Forum. The forum brings together business leaders and government officials on a monthly basis to promote the right kind of entrepreneurial visions that can fill the existing vacant 1 million square feet of office, manufacturing and industrial space on the South Coast.
The meeting also featured Kyle Ashby of Kaldera Marketing, who talked about the next Startup Weekend Santa Barbara planned for Nov. 2-4, and from Gideon Rubin of Local Market Launch, who discussed the Santa Barbara chapter of Startup America. Startup Weekend Santa Barbara drew 118 participants who created a technology-related small businesses in 54 hours.
“I’ve never seen so much activity around business and entrepreneurship in the Santa Barbara area,” Ashby said.
A lot of that activity stems from UCSB, SBCC, Westmont College and programs such as San Marcos High School’s Business and Accelerated Placement Program, Dos Pueblos High School’s Engineering Academy and Santa Barbara High School’s Film and Creative Media Academy, Holliday said.
“It’s the first time in a long time that there’s a genuine interest in promoting and enhancing the entrepreneurial community that exists,” he said.
Rubin talked about Startup Santa Barbara, which is one of the regions of Startup California. The umbrella organization is the Obama administration’s Startup America Partnership that strives to “increase the number and scale of new high-growth firms that are creating economic growth, innovation and quality jobs.”
Rubin said Startup Barbara has drawn more than $1 billion worth of commitments from dozens of companies, including the Kauffman Foundation and the Case Foundation, that want to provide new businesses access to the corporations, investors and services they need to grow.
“The most important thing is that we’re on the same page,” Holliday said. “No one wants to compromise the quality of life here in Santa Barbara, and we don’t want to turn this area into a San Jose or San Diego. We want to preserve and enhance the environment here and at the same time embrace the economic opportunity we have right now.”
The next forum is scheduled for July 19.