Sierra Nevada, Kleen Kanteen, and Chico Bag are just a few of the well known companies that began right here in Chico.. And although they made it 'big' on their own.. many entrepreneurs in the north state are in need of some assistance.
Innovation Lab Co-Manager Jon Gregory says, "What we're trying to do here with the innovation lab facility is create a mechanism through which those entrepreneurs can get access to the expertise and resources that they need to get onto the grid."
The Innovation Lab offers a few outlets to get this done.. Number one, they have a smart room where education programs can hold business seminars.. A fab lab that allows start up businesses the opportunity to have a physical space to start out.. And a mentoring for growth program which connects these companies with world class executives..
Jon says, "We're going to start a process on an ongoing basis to be able to find the next great medical device company or sustainable green tech company.." Currently there are 27 companies involved with the lab, and those companies have filled 120 positions. The innovation lab says this is the new wave of the north state entrepreneur future.. which will also help benefit the local economy..
"We can find companies that have the opportunity to be market leaders.. By doing that they're generating new sells that come back into the community," Jon says.
A prime example...Springboard Bio-Diesel.. CEO Mark Roberts says, "We met some of the founders of the innovation lab about a year ago and they helped us to move from our former location in Chico, to this location.." Which has 9000 square feet instead of 3600 in their former location.. Now the company is growing larger every day with 11 employees and attributes a lot of it's success to the support they've received from the innovation lab.. Which they say is an integral part in the future of north state innovative companies..
Mark says, "This is just another piece of the foundation to making the north state a really competitive high growth arena." The innovation lab received its funding from a Green Challenge Grant.