Thursday, November 26 , 2015, 9:01 am | Fair 45º

Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet to Open New Incubator, Launch Summer Accelerator Program

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

A new incubator space for startups will host a soft opening next week, coinciding nicely with a rollout of the first-ever Summer Accelerator Program offered through the Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet.

GEM’s physical location at 600 Pine Ave. in Old Town Goleta was made possible by donations from those involved in the partnership of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, the City of Goleta and UC Santa Barbara.

Likewise, an additional gift — from local investor, entrepreneur and GEM backer Chris Felipe — has helped launch the inaugural, intensive training program.

As office furniture and a kitchenette went into the space on the second floor of the current ATK Space Systems building this week, GEM announced the program as the partnership’s first step toward attracting and nurturing local tech startup businesses.

GEM Executive Director Doug Lynch said the incubator is expected to open next week, and that applications for the summer program will be accepted through Thursday, May 22. Six teams will be selected, many most likely from UCSB’s New Venture Competition.

Each will perfect a business pitch and entrepreneurial skills — with help from up to $8,000 — from July 7 through Sept. 12, attending workshops, receiving advice from mentors and, hopefully, deciding to stick around the space, Lynch said.

The program will conclude with an Investor Demo Days contest in September.

“I’m hoping a majority of the companies after the program will stay with GEM,” Lynch said. “It’s taken a lot longer to get this (space) open than we thought. We’re still looking for corporate sponsors.”

Four tenants are interested in occupying some of the 5,000-square-foot location, designed to house about 20 small startups in four fully furnished offices, 12 cubicles and several “hot desks” where entrepreneurs can come in and work on laptops.

The space will offer seminars and workshops, along with 24-hour tenant access, after an official open house on July 9.

Lynch said the program requires a majority of group members be available full time this summer, working to create potential full-scale jobs.

“Generally, it’s a synergistic approach to entrepreneurial development,” Felipe told Noozhawk. “We’re letting kids in school create a business, and then providing them with a foundation at GEM so they can nurture their business. Hopefully, it will create a lasting venture.”

Those interested in GEM’s Summer Accelerator Program can apply online by clicking here. Groups must upload a PDF file containing a brief one-page resume for each team member, and brief, pitch decks in PowerPoint format will also be accepted.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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