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Northern California MBDA Business Centers Help Minority Entrepreneurs Enter Technology Transfer, Innovation Market

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Created on February 17, 2015

Led by National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has been collaborating with the San Francisco MBDA Business Center (SFMBC), operated by ASIAN, Inc., to advance a groundbreaking technology transfer and innovation agenda.

The SFMBC, along with its sister San Jose and Fresno MBDA Business Centers, serve the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, which is universally recognized as one of the world’s leading regions for technology innovation and entrepreneurship. Minority business entrepreneurs (MBEs) in this region are not short of innovative ideas and are all too eager to gain access to cutting-edge technologies from national laboratories and universities, especially in life sciences, IT, and clean technology sectors. We’re working diligently to get those MBEs into these emerging markets.

In September 2014, the SFMBC began piloting MBDA’s strategic Technology Transfer and Innovation Program. Closely working with Director Castillo, we designed our pilot model to engage regional MBEs with technology transfer and innovation concepts in an effort to connect them with U.S. and international investors, including angel investors and venture capital firms, and conventional funding, as well as to assist them with developing strategic commercialization channels.

To increase awareness among local and regional MBEs and partners we jointly launched the initiative with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Keiretsu Forum, and other professional service partners in October 2014 at our regional 2014 Minority Enterprise Development Week conference in San Jose.

At the invitation of Director Castillo, the San Francisco team also brought in its partners and presented the pilot model to national-level MBE audiences at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s "Innovations in STEM: National Priorities and NIST" Symposium in November 2014.

As members of the Keiretsu Forum, the San Francisco and San Jose MBDA Business Center team actively participated in the Forum’s Angel Capital Expo that same month, connecting with regional MBEs and over 500 angel investors worldwide. In January 2015, the team was invited to the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, a gateway to connecting foreign investors with investment opportunities in cutting-edge U.S. technologies in life sciences.

The SFMBC has already had a great start to 2015, having assisted numerous clients with our top-level consulting services and provided them with opportunities to pitch their ideas to investors and secure a Series A investment from a foreign investment group. Proceeds from this type of funding will definitely fuel MBEs to expand their workforce in the areas of research and development and product manufacturing in the San Francisco Bay Area. By connecting our client companies and technologies to various networks they have the potential to increase their capacity and footprint of commercialization in the U.S. and global markets.

We are very proud of the contributions that our MBDA leadership, clients and project team have made to domestic economic growth in various technology sectors, by attracting foreign capital and creating jobs in the diverse and synergistic San Francisco Bay Area. To find out more about the Technology Transfer and Innovation Pilot Program, visit