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UC Irvine launches tech business incubator

Platform supports the commercialization of inventions developed at the institution and provides support to fledgling companies.

By Kristen SchottPublished: May 07, 2010 09:53 AM

UC Irvine is launching a new technology business incubator to support the commercialization of inventions developed at the institution and to speed up the transfer of academic research into the local and national market.

TechPortal will open this month at the local campus's California Institute for Telecommunications & Information Technology – aka Calit2 – and will provide affordable space, technical support, and mentoring and networking opportunities to fledgling firms formed through research conducted at UCI.

"This incubator will go a long way toward more successfully transforming promising research into marketable products," says Susan V. Bryant, UCI's vice chancellor for research. "It will keep the pipeline for useful innovations moving to the public."

TechPortal will be the third in the UC system and is based on similar incubators at UC San Francisco and UCLA.

The transfer of academic technology and research into the economy is a key tenet of the UC system. University inventions have formed the basis for more than 460 startups since 1976, including about 50 in 2009.

“The financial contribution of the University of California to the state’s economy is enormous,” says UCI Chancellor Michael Drake. “Research is most valuable when it translates into products and services that enrich and improve our society."

The 1,460-square-foot TechPortal will serve up to eight companies and will offer lab space, access to campus facilities and interaction with the school's faculty, among other services. In addition, UCI's Paul Merage School of Business, the Don Beall Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the Office of Technology Alliances, OCTANe and the Orange County Business Incubation Network will provide workshops to help entrepreneurs build their business plans and market their technology to the appropriate venues.

"(TechPortal) has the infrastructure to support new enterprises and is the gateway to other shared resources on campus,” adds Calit2 Irvine Director G.P. Li. “To have access to so many entrepreneurial resources in one place is going to maximize the chance of success for these businesses.”

Calit2 is among four Gray Davis Institutes for Science & Innovation formed by the former governor to boost innovation in the state. Calit2 is a two-campus multidisciplinary research institute. The center collaborates with its sister division at UC San Diego to combine academic and industry experience to provide information-technology products that spur economic development.

Calit2 will debut the incubator May 20 during its semiannual Igniting Technology event.

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