Fresno State, spearheaded by the International Center for Water Technology (ICWT), was awarded a $5 million dollar grant from the California Energy Commission to create the BlueTech Valley: Central Valley Regional Innovation Cluster.
The grant funding is being used to expand the existing programs and services that are available at the Cluster Hubs and link them to maximize the benefits of regional planning and collaboration. The funding is also allowing Fresno State’s WET Center to double their dedicated office space from six to twelve companies and to expand the “plug-and-play” space available to participating entrepreneurs.
Humboldt State University (HSU), one of seven hubs, was the first to sign its contract with the BlueTechValley Innovation Cluster. The purpose of HSU serving as a BlueTechValley hub is to seek out, and provide resources to entrepreneurs working on efficiency in agriculture, water, and energy in Northern California.
BlueTechValley has been working out of Fresno State University to bring commercialization services to entrepreneurs since 2011. This partnership between Humboldt State University and BlueTechValley brings BTV’s previous success in areas surrounding Fresno to now include Northern California entrepreneurs and inventors.
Northern California entrepreneurs, will benefit from increased access to critical resources such as advanced testing at Schatz Research Energy Cluster. Lonny Grafman, faculty member at HSU, discussed that “BTV benefits by expanding their reach, resources, and cohort into the northern part of
the state. HSU benefits from the institutional knowledge, processes, and resources that have been developed by BTV over the last six years. Northern Californian communities benefit from increased traction and growth opportunities for local entrepreneurs and businesses. Finally, California rate payers benefits from the increased efficiency and cost saving measures brought to market by these commercialization services.”
The benefits of the partnership are critical to entrepreneurs, BTV, Humboldt State University, Northern California, and California rate payers.