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New Startups Paired with Local Biz Leaders

EDUCATION: UCSD Program Targets SoCal, Baja Entrepreneurs

A new venture program through UC San Diego will team up local business leaders with young entrepreneurs who are hoping to turn their early-stage ideas into high-value companies and nonprofits.

Elizabeth Lyons
Associate Professor of Management
University of California San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy

“The objective of the program is to provide founders resources to support this early-stage of their ideas and businesses with guidance on how to put one foot in front of the other, where to focus their attention, and as a result, how to make progress in the face of what can seem like insurmountable uncertainty and workload,” said UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) Associate Professor of Management Elizabeth Lyons. “My experience teaching the startups course primarily to master’s students in public policy, international affairs, and engineering highlighted for me first, that the ambiguity of the initial startup phase can be overwhelming for first-time founders and that alone can deter potentially very successful companies from being founded,” she added.

Lyons designed the new Policy and Strategy Entrepreneurship Lab (PSE-Lab) Venture Program, targeting mentees whose visions show promise but haven’t been brought to the market.

“[The program] is open to any startup, pre- or post-incorporation, in Southern California and Baja California because our objective is to bring the most promising ideas and founders that we believe we can effectively support from the region to the Lab to have the greatest possible impact for the ventures and for our students who have the chance to observe or potentially work with the ventures,” she said. There will be required on-campus meetings, but only four times during the program.

Kirti Gupta
Vice President & Chief Economist, Global Technology
Cornerstone Research

“Supporting entrepreneurship led by our nations’ young bright minds graduating from our great universities is critical for our economy’s progress and our nation’s security,” said program participant and mentor Kirti Gupta who currently serves as the vice president and chief economist of global technology at Cornerstone Research. She previously served Qualcomm as its vice president of economic strategy and chief economist. “Professor Lyons’ Venture Lab is building a strong network at the intersection of technology and business.”

Gupta will be part of a council of mentors who come from various industries and have demonstrated a commitment to the startup community. Others include James Cross, co-head of private investing for Franklin Equity Group; James Lambright, a professor of practice at GPS and former senior vice president of Sempra Energy; David Mallery, co-founder and CEO of Paradigm Diagnostics, and Don Rosenberg, who recently retired as executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Qualcomm.

The PSE-Lab will also provide advice on management, finance, accounting and legal resources – which are especially important for early-stage startups whose founders are forming a new entity. That can require setting up a board with legal responsibilities, protecting intellectual property, and issuing ownership shares.

“Similarly, legal entities have tax filing obligations and accounting services can help ensure startups are compliant and they can also advise them on things like what type of entity they should form and how they should consider dividing ownership,” added Lyons. “These early actions have large implications for subsequent performance so getting them right is important, but accessing high-quality legal and accounting services can be very hard for founders with little to no financial capital or existing startup networks.”

Startups could even be introduced to angel and capital investors whenever they’re ready to fundraise.

The program launches in early September and ventures will have their first face-to-face meetings with mentors in early October.

Lyons added in part, “There are so many opportunities to bring life-changing and profitable technologies and ideas to market in San Diego and the broader region and I hope the PSE-Lab can help increase the rate and success with which this happens.”

UC San Diego

FOUNDED: 1960
CHANCELLOR: Pradeep Khosla
FACULTY: 3,085
WEBSITE: ucsd.edu
NOTABLE: UC San Diego was ranked third among the nation’s top public colleges, according to the Forbes 2022 list of America’s Top Colleges. UC San Diego was No. 17 out of the complete list of close to 500 four-year private and public colleges in the country.

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