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A new collaborative effort between UCSB, Goleta city officials and local businesses is aiming to expand the field of technological entrepreneurship within the region.
The Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet is a joint venture established between the campus, the city government of Goleta and the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce to support the growth of start-up tech companies and bring lucrative development — supported by an employee base of recent graduates — to the area. By focusing on attracting and retaining more businesses in the technology field, the GEM seeks to create a better environment for not only graduating students in search of careers, but also for professors looking for further involvement in the corporate arena.
The GEM’s website is currently under construction and will feature contributions from all three participating entities to help business owners with everything from employee recruitment to real estate permits.
According to Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce President Kristen Miller, participation from all sectors of the community will be essential in fostering entrepreneurial development in Goleta.
“This is a very exciting milestone in the future for Goleta,” Miller said. “It’s historic in a way that these three groups have been able to come together on a very specific vision. There’s a lot that we each individually already do to help businesses thrive … but by the three of us working together we feel we have a better chance of strengthening the existing pipeline of small businesses that are able to start in Goleta and grow their employee base here.”
With successful tech companies like Citrix Online setting a precedent as large job providers in the city, the GEM aims to benefit from UCSB’s large pool of potential entrepreneurial candidates.
Director of Business Development for Goleta’s Chamber of Commerce Shelby Sim said the GEM will also work with the campus as a source of new information, merging data from all available sources to aid local entrepreneurs.
“UCSB lets us know who’s doing what and who needs what, and then the chamber will go out and meet with those individuals to talk about their needs,” Sim said. “[The GEM] is like a liaison between the school and the city.”
The Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet plan is currently in its initial stages, but according to Miller, the team plans to extend the business-centered initiative over the next few years,
“We are looking at a three-year and five-year plan, but the focus at the moment is to launch the program,” Miller said. “Our next step is to open a web portal that will give entrepreneurs the ability to easily connect with each of our three organizations.”
According to Goleta City Manager Dan Singer, this plan will also serve to modernize Goleta by supporting technology-centered businesses.
“This initiative is a very exciting and progressive move for Goleta,” Singer said. “We hope to bring more businesses to the city and also retain them. By bringing these three forces together we hope to make the regulatory aspects of starting up a business significantly easier and quicker. We also hope to make networking easier through this initiative.”