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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 2:09 am | Fair 42º


Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet Names Doug Lynch Its First Executive Director

Veteran entrepreneur will guide the partnership between the city, UCSB and the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce to attract startup companies

Seasoned entrepreneur and business adviser Doug Lynch will become the first-ever executive director of GEM, the Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet.

The Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce announced the appointment Wednesday, nearly a year after entering into its partnership with the City of Goleta and UC Santa Barbara to attract and nurture local tech start-up businesses.

Lynch, who has his own entrepreneur consulting business, the Lynch Group, is no stranger to mentoring young companies.

Lynch, 59, is an entrepreneur-in-residence with UCSB’s Technology Management Program (TMP) and with the Synergy Business and Technology Center. He’s also a business adviser for the Small Business Development Center of Santa Barbara County and is a member of the Board of Advisors with Santa Barbara City College’s Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

All this while technically retired, Lynch joked.

Lynch, who has lived in Santa Barbara on and off for 30 years, settled and retired on the Central Coast for good in 2011 after helping start three companies in his career and traveling more than half the days of every year for his last start-up (The Reach Group), which required international travel to improve efficiency in the oil and gas industry.

Even with all that traveling, Lynch said he couldn’t be a bigger advocate for sticking around the Goleta area.

“I have never found a nicer place than Santa Barbara,” said Lynch, a native of Vancouver, Canada. “It’s a pretty exciting time right now in the entrepreneurial scene.”

The discipline and dedication Lynch is currently using to train for the Ironman France competition are traits he said will easily translate into the mentoring and leadership role he will fill for GEM.

Michael Rattray, former board chairman for the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, expressed enthusiasm for finding an ideal candidate to connect with businesses as well as officials.

A reception to welcome Lynch will be hosted at Bacara Resort & Spa from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on May 16.

“Our source selection team couldn’t be more excited in finding the right candidate to help us put GEM on the map,” Rattray said. “In working with the business community, professional mentors, service providers, UCSB and city staff, all for the benefit of our future entrepreneurial talent, Doug has the skill set and tenacity for success.”

UCSB Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas noted the significance of GEM hiring a director.

“It illustrates the commitment of the GEM partners to strengthen and enhance the connections between UC Santa Barbara — with its culture of entrepreneurship and innovation and its intellectual capital — and the businesses, resources and people in Goleta,” Lucas said. “In addition, it will help to grow and sustain a vibrant entrepreneurial community that benefits our regional economy.”

Lynch emphasized a need for small businesses to create realistic strategic plans and to set fewer, lofty goals.

“I think it’s really important,” he said. “Ninety percent of small businesses fail within five years.”

Lynch said he’s excited to be the GEM “point person” and to be part of an “incubator” that allows businesses to thrive here.

His connections to several programs with the same goal could help the cause.

“How do we keep these companies in the Goleta area? Grow them here,” Lynch said. “I think there’s enough room for everybody. We need to make sure all of us are talking. Hopefully it will be open soon to all businesses. It doesn’t have to be just high tech.”

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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