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Community Colleges Join Forces with Startup 78

[Pictured: Speakers from the Food Innovation 3rd Quarter meetup on August 22, 2018]

Something big is happening along the I-78 corridor, and the region’s community colleges are there at every step of the way.

The Startup 78 initiative is working to bring startups and other forward-thinking businesses to the cities along the I-78 corridor: Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, and Vista. The goal is to bring creative leaders to these cities to drive even more innovation and success.

The region’s robust educational landscape adds to the appeal for businesses to invest in North County. Jennifer Patel, Business and Entrepreneurship Deputy Sector Navigator in the San Diego Region, noticed the local activity and sought to deepen the connection to the area’s community colleges.

"I have gotten our faculty and administrators involved in these activities, and I am a member of the committee. We also sent some faculty to Startup Week San Diego in June,” Patel said.

San Diego Startup Week was held June 25-29. It included more than 200 events that were attended by more than 4,000 people.

John Fusco, an accounting faculty member at MiraCosta College, was one of those attendees. He’s already looking forward to going back next year.

“I gained first-hand insight into where new entrepreneurs were focusing their efforts. I met, networked and discussed ideas with attendees,” Fusco said. “I listened to entrepreneurs who turned their ideas into successful businesses and are following their passions.”

Patel said she plans to continue working with Startup 78 to hold events specifically for community college students and keep faculty on the cutting edge of entrepreneurship in the region.

“This has been a great opportunity to keep our faculty and students engaged in what is happening in the local startup community,” Patel said.

The group’s first quarterly meetup was focused on Makerspaces, and the most recent event brought together food and beverage manufacturers in the area. Biotech will be the focus of the next gathering.

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