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EM, Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet, is the first collaboration between UC Santa Barbara, the city of Goleta, and the Goleta Chamber of Commerce intended to help strengthen the local economic vitality by providing support for new and growing entrepreneurs.

Launched in 2012, GEM is a collaborative effort between the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, City of Goleta and University of California, Santa Barbara.

The vision of GEM is to have Goleta Valley recognized as a world-class center of excellence for entrepreneurial technological development and growth. GEM will strengthen and sustain the economic vitality of Goleta Valley through job creation and retention.

“Our name is UC Santa Barbara, but our neighbor is Goleta and we’ve always been appreciative of the whole Goleta area in terms of their support for our technology and our start-ups,” said Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas.

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The initiative benefits UC Santa Barbara students by creating a better environment for graduating students and anyone in search of careers.

“Our multiple missions in the University of California are teaching, research and public service,” Lucas said. “By supporting start-ups we do two of those, we take research done at UCSB and convert it to a public good.”

Lucas said about four to six start-ups come out of UC Santa Barbara each year, and many entrepreneurs want to live and grow their business in Goleta. The start-ups created at UC Santa Barbara will bring high quality jobs to the community and help stimulate the economic vitality of Goleta.

“GEM is a great way to engage alumni, because many of the start-up businesses in Goleta are Gaucho grown, with UCSB alumni and faculty working with UCSB-based technologies,” said John Lofthus, associate director of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association, who is working with the GEM committee as the program is being developed. “The idea of being able to create meaningful engagement between experienced, seasoned entrepreneurs and those who are just starting the process is invaluable. If we can be a part of that, and help them with that, we can increase the strength of UCSB connections.”

The first step to GEM is to create a website that integrates the resources of business, education and government. The website will provide a web-based community where entrepreneurs can connect and network with each other. The website should be able to help Goleta entrepreneurs — from finding the perfect commercial property lease to finding a work force.

“GEM provides UCSB with an important collaboration, linking our start-ups and entrepreneurs to representatives on the board and the chamber and the city,” Lucas said. “Together we can build a support network for our new companies that contribute to the economic vitality and quality of life in Goleta Valley.”

Phase 2 of GEM, the creation of a website and new programs began in Fall of 2012. Although GEM focuses on bring together entrepreneurs through technology, that is not the only necessity for the success of GEM.

“It’s us, the people involved, the connections we make with each other, the communication and collaboration between us that will truly power success. The magnet drawing us together in GEM starts today,” Kristen Miller, CEO of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, said.