Innovation/Entrepreneurship Initiative

Project Description:


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Innovation/Entrepreneurship Initiative

“To keep the American dream of widely shared prosperity alive, we need to choose entrepreneurship and competition over the vested interests of the status quo”. Restoring confidence in the economy by creating a meaningful and compelling plan for moving forward is a top priority for elected officials as well as leaders from business, education, and labor groups throughout the country.

Source: Enterprising States-Recovery and Renewal for the 21st Century (a project of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber Foundation, June 2011).


Initiative Team:
Ben Kiblinger Head Shot 2016

Ben Kiblinger
Founder & Managing Partner at

Steve Burgess

Steve Burgess
Principal, Burgess Consulting & Forensics

Current Advisors
John Greathouse
Partner, Rincon Ventures

Walt Harasty, Retired
Former Principal, Boardroom Consultants

James Lisi
Partner, American Value Metrics
Sponsor/Speaker, Wild Horse Labs
Sponsor/Investor, Tech Coast Angels

Peter Luttrell

Jo Anne Miller
Managing Partner, Browndog Partners
The IDEA (Innovation Development Entrepreneurship Acceleration) Initiative is to foster and invigorate regional innovation and entrepreneurship by proactively organizing and providing support services for existing companies, entrepreneurs and start-ups. This may be done through:

  • Education and awareness-building of best innovation/entrepreneurship practices
  • Building communities of people to stimulate ideas and work on new ventures
  • Identify and garner support from experienced founders and entrepreneurs
  • Organizing events and venues to develop, share, refine and evangelize ideas
  • Building liaisons with sources of investment capital
  • Coordinating with other organizations having similar goals
  • Branding these and other activities with the IDEA name and logo to promote and institutionalize our efforts

IDEA Initiative Objectives:

  • Alert existing companies, entrepreneurs to trends, technologies likely to impact them or provide opportunities
  • Support existing companies in adapting to rapid change
  • Drive innovation and energize entrepreneurship
  • Foster opportunities for increased access to capital and new markets
  • Collaborate with other champions of innovators, entrepreneurs and start-ups
  • Stimulate entrepreneurial potential in under-served regional populations and areas

Current and Near-Term Activities

May 31, 2016 Meetup

2016 Future Forum (in planning, date TBA)

Tech Transfer Roundtables (August 2016 – date TBA, January 2017 – date TBA)

Past Activities & Events

Bi-monthly IDEA Meetups

2015 Quarterly Startup Tech Transfer Roundtables

Organization of 2015 Future Forum

IDEA Meetups

Future Forum – October 2013
Keynote: Robert Tucker, Innovation Speaker and Author
Virtual Keynote: Joe Kutchera, Advisor, Author, and Lecturer Specializing in Hispanic/Latin American Markets

Initiative Event – March, 2012
Keys to Northern Santa Barbara County Prosperity:
Strategic Industries, Access to Capital, Emerging Growth Companies
Keynote: Jon Gregory, Co-Founder/CEO, Grow-California LLC
“Game-Changing Innovation and Emerging Growth Companies”

Start Up Weekend Santa Maria – April 2012
Participation in Startup Weekend Santa Maria 4-day event

Support for innovation affiliate – June, 2012
Innovation North State – Sierra Nevada Innovation Challenge
Rick Bess participation as judge

Innovation OpEd – 2012

Futures Forum – November, 2012
Virtual Keynote: Simon J. Anderson, Futurist & Co-Author of Foresight 20/20
On Site Keynote: Rick Bess, PreBeta, Inc., a Silicon Valley firm specializing in innovation solutions for organizations
Event also featured an “Online Vision Campaign” gathering input on our region’s future

Future Forum featured a unique visions idea campaign driven to accelerate dialogue about the future of our region.

Advocacy Issues
Access to start-up capital
Access to venture capital
Joint workspace for entrepreneurs, start-ups

(Image credit)