Sunday, May 1 , 2016, 3:30 pm | Fair with Haze 64º

Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet Gets Physical Space as Startup Venture Takes Shape

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

The Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet will soon have a small-business incubator space to call its own in Old Town Goleta.

Key players in the partnership between the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, the City of Goleta and UC Santa Barbara have secured an office space lease within the current ATK Space Systems building at 600 Pine Ave.

Until now, the collaboration — formed to attract and nurture local tech startup businesses — had no physical headquarters.

Tenants are expected to begin moving into the new 5,000-square-foot, second-floor location shortly after Feb. 1, when GEM gets the keys, according to Goleta Valley Chamber president and CEO Kristen Miller.

GEM executive director Doug Lynch said three tenants are already interested in the space. One of them, Asta Fluidic Technologies, is the most recent winner of UCSB’s New Venture Competition.

Miller noted that the GEM center will be totally separate from ATK’s operations, although there is potential for the incubator to expand or partner with the company on future projects.

“They’re a like-minded business,” she said. “It’s really a perfect spot for us.”

The GEM center will be across the street from a one-time potential GEM center location, where the chamber previously hosted an open house reception.

Buoyed by a recent stream of large donations, GEM was able to finally commit to a physical incubator space that could accommodate about 20 small startups in four fully furnished offices, 12 cubicles and several “hot desks” where entrepreneurs can come in and work on their laptops, Lynch said.

The center will allow 24-hour access to tenants, as well as offer break room facilities and space to host entrepreneur seminars, classes and workshops.

Miller said the space also has a large conference room that could be used by GEM, the chamber or community members.

“Some of the unique qualities of this endeavor are tied to what we think are the unique needs of high-tech and science-related entrepreneurs,” she said. “This is really targeted to a small niche.”

Lynch noted that several local companies have already offered services to the new incubator, which will host an open house sometime in mid-February.

Anyone interested in occupying space at the GEM center can contact Lynch at [email protected].

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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