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Monday, Aug 15, 2022
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Around the Valleys

Conejo Valley Westlake Village California Lutheran University’s Center for Entrepreneurship has received a $300,000 donation from a Camarillo couple, the university announced. Cal Lutheran alumna Dawn Gross and her husband, entrepreneur Dave Gross, made the donation on behalf of NewCo Foundation, to expand opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students at the university and throughout Ventura County. The contribution is to be used over five years and will fund cash prizes for the center’s annual New Venture Competition. The competition provides Cal Lutheran students the opportunity to learn entrepreneurial skills, launch a startup business and connect with mentors and investors. “We think this is validation that there is a community here to be valued and are excited they have contributed to it,” Mike Panesis, executive director for the Center for Entrepreneurship, told the Business Journal. The donation will also help cover travel expenses for students to regional and national pitch competitions, and to study entrepreneurship abroad. Also, the money will aid the center to start a pith competition for elementary through graduate school students in Ventura County in partnership with the Ventura County Office of Education and Aspire3, a Ventura startup that offers programs for aspiring entrepreneurs. As part of the donation agreement, Dave Gross will serve on the center’s advisory board. San Fernando Valley Burbank Walt Disney Co. announced it was giving each of its 125,000 employees in the U.S. a $1,000 cash bonus. Additionally, the Burbank entertainment and media giant created a new education program to cover tuition costs for hourly employees. Disney already has a tuition reimbursement program for full-time workers. Chief Executive Robert Iger said he was proud to direct the $125 million in bonuses and to make higher education more accessible. “I have always believed that education is the key to opportunity; it opens doors and creates new possibilities,” Iger said in a statement. “Matched with the $1,000 cash bonus, these initiatives will have both an immediate and long-term positive impact.” The cash bonus will be paid to all hourly and salaried employees as of Jan. 1 in payments made in March and September. Disney is spending an initial $50 million on the new education program aimed at nearly 88,000 hourly employees to pursue qualifying higher education or vocational training, including courses unrelated to their current responsibilities at Disney. The company will support the program with $25 million annually after the initial investment. Chatsworth Capstone Turbine Corp. announced has received an order for one of its microturbines from a Canadian real estate investment trust. The 260-kilowatt combined heat and power microturbine will be installed in a large residential tower in the Toronto area to provide backup electricity. The order for the system was done through Vergent Power Solutions, Capstone’s exclusive distributor for eastern Canada. The system marks the fourth that Capstone, in Van Nuys, has supplied for an apartment or condominium building in the Toronto area. “Ontario is Canada’s most populous province, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the country’s population and is the second-largest province in total area, so it is a critical (combined heat and power) market for Capstone,” Chief Executive Darren Jamison said in a statement. Tarzana Providence Tarzana Medical Center received a $4 million donation from Allison Clago, a member of the hospital’s board of governors. It marks the biggest donation the Tarzana hospital has received. Clago chose Providence Tarzana because it was the community hospital where she received care. “I was treated for breast cancer and my beloved father peacefully passed at Providence Tarzana. Every member of my family has been treated at Tarzana,” Clago said in a statement. Providence Tarzana is currently raising funds for a $540 million expansion and renovation for the 45-year-old hospital. Renovation has begun at the hospital, including a new patient wing, expanded Emergency Department, second parking structure and expansion of diagnostic and treatment areas. Van Nuys Broker Jeff Puffer has taken over ownership of Delphi Business Properties Inc. and assumed the role of chief executive. The Van Nuys real estate brokerage specializes in sales and leasing of industrial properties in the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and Ventura County. It has a team of 17 brokers and staff. Puffer joined Delphi in 2003. Previously, he was senior vice president and a broker under long-time partners Ross Thomas, Jerry Scullin and Steve McKenzie. Thomas, one of the founding partners of Delphi, and Scullin and McKenzie, who have been partners since 1993, will continue to work at Delphi. “I’m very excited to take on the new responsibilities and work closely with the entire team to expand Delphi’s service platform for our client,” Puffer said in a statement. “I’m also looking forward to growing our team and introducing new people to the industry.” Woodland Hills A subsidiary of B. Riley Financial Inc. in Woodland Hills has served as sole underwriter and book-running manager of a $125 million offering from Gordon Pointe Acquisition Corp. B. Riley FBR Inc. sold 12.5 million for Gordon Pointe, which is a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Also called a “blank check company,” a SPAC is formed to raise money for the purpose of acquiring an existing business. In the case of Gordon Pointe, management plans to focus on companies in the financial technology sector. Shares of Gordon Pointe are expected to trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol GPAQ, according to B. Riley FBR. Endonovo Therapeutics announced the first commercial sales of its “electroceutical” wearable electronic device for pain relief. The Woodland Hills company, which makes electronic medical devices, said its first commercial product is designed to prevent pain and swelling after minor surgeries by emitting electrical pulses to recovering tissue. Called SofPulse, it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2008, but the company has only just begun commercializing it. Endonovo is currently seeking distribution partners in Europe, it said in a statement. “As we battle an opioid epidemic we must look for novel ways to prevent people … from becoming dependent on narcotics,” Endonovo Chief Executive Allen Collier said in a statement. “We believe our (device) can drastically reduce the need for pain medication use and improve the lives of millions of people.” Santa Clarita Valley Valencia Advantage Media Services Inc. has received certification from Los Angeles County as a Social Enterprise. The third-party fulfillment service provider in Valencia focuses on the process of receiving, packaging, shipping and ordering for goods. The news comes from the successful efforts to serve the community through workforce development. With this certificate, the educational, training and apprenticeship programs that are currently underway at AMS will continue and be extended into more areas that benefit families in the community and job seekers. Years of workforce development programs in collaboration with the College of the Canyons enables AMS to qualify. AMS plans to start a pre-apprentice program that will help job seekers who previously had trouble keeping employment because of life circumstances. Currently there is an apprentice program taking place at AMS and it’s the first of its kind in the United States. “At AMS, our most valuable resource is our people,” Ken Wiseman, chief executive of AMS, said in a statement. “Achieving the Social Enterprise status will help us more formally obtain workforce development grants with specific targeted goals towards providing career opportunities to struggling job seekers within our community.” Simi Valley Monster Digital Inc. completed its reverse merger with a North Carolina drug maker. The Simi Valley action sports camera developer and distributor will take on the name of the company it merged with, Innovate Biopharmaceuticals Inc. The combined companies now trade under a new ticker symbol, INNT. Innovate, in Raleigh, N.C., is a research biotechnology company that plans to use the public capital markets to finance development of its main pipeline drug to treat celiac disease. Founder Jay Madan called the reverse merger an exciting transition as the company strives to become a leader in autoimmune and inflammatory drug development. “With the continued support from our existing investors, and now with access to the capital markets, our main focus will be rapidly progressing our clinical assets,” Madan said in a prepared statement.

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