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iHub to support economic development in Central Valley
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A new state-backed initiative hopes to turn the Central Valley into a center for economic development and job creation through research and innovation.

The Central San Joaquin Valley Innovation Hub was awarded with California’s new iHub designation, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced on Monday. Just 12 total projects have received the iHub designation thus far.

The Central San Joaquin Valley iHub will focus on supporting businesses in water, energy, and agricultural technology to enhance technology-based economic development. The group’s members – the Central Valley Business Incubator, Merced County Department of Commerce, Aviation and Economic Development, the University of California, Merced, California State University, Fresno and the Small Business Development Center – will work to encourage regional collaboration between research institutions, start-up technology companies, local governments, venture capitalists, and economic development organizations.

“UC Merced is proud to be a part of such an important project and thrilled that this proposal has received the state's iHub designation," Chancellor Steve Kang said. "The iHub represents an ideal opportunity to combine our campus' strengths in scientific innovation and entrepreneurialism with the resources provided by our partners in the region to help improve the economic landscape of the San Joaquin Valley."

UC Merced will play a pivotal role in the iHub, supporting the creation of start-ups based on new technology and sharing expertise in intellectual property management and technology transfer. UC Merced programs will also benefit from the iHub, with collaboration focused on the commercialization of new green and renewable energy technologies under development at the university and the creation of new companies and entrepreneurs.

"Our faculty and students continue to work tirelessly to combat some of the most significant challenges of our time," Kang said. "The iHub will help ensure they have the support they need as they make the transition from researchers and innovators into entrepreneurs and successful business owners."

The iHub spans Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties. No iHubs have been designated in Stanislaus County.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.