SALINAS VALLEY — California State University Monterey Bay’s Institute for Innovation and Economic Development (iiED) has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco 2023 AHEAD program.
The iiED’s proposal, which specifically targeted potential entrepreneurs from underserved and isolated communities along the Central Coast, garnered significant attention. With a special emphasis on underserved populations, the iiED’s initiative aims to bridge the gap between budding business visionaries and the essential resources they need to thrive.
In 2019, iiED identified the pressing need for a regional support system, a “virtual” incubator tailored to nurture and grow entrepreneurial ideas, especially among women and minorities.
This incubator will deliver crucial support in several areas, including product development, market validation, marketing strategies, financial planning, funding strategies, legal issue navigation for startups and comprehensive business and technical assistance.
Communities such as Gonzales, Greenfield, King City and Soledad, which traditionally lack access to such technical assistance, will be the primary beneficiaries of this initiative. The iiED has previously worked with similarly isolated entrepreneurial communities, collaborating with partners such as El Pajaro CDC, the Kitchen Incubator and other key organizations in Seaside, Marina and Salinas.
This award will allow the institute to reach the South Monterey County region, a predominantly Hispanic and underrepresented minority area. The funds will ensure the presence of bilingual personnel, and the necessary translation services, connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners to the vast network of mentors and advisers.
“We are immensely grateful to the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and Pinnacle Bank for recognizing the potential and significance of our project,” said Jenny Kuan, interim executive director. “This award is a testament to our vision of extending our educational mission to entrepreneurs throughout Monterey County, especially in the South County region.”
The grant application was sponsored by Pinnacle Bank of Salinas.