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Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

In Glendale, Tech Program Lands Grant

The City of Glendale received a $1 million state grant to launch a startup accelerator to support local technology companies. The funding comes out of the state’s general fund and is allocated by the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Jennifer Hiramoto, deputy director of economic development for Glendale, said that the accelerator was among the recommendations made by the City Council when it created its tech strategy in 2016. Last year, the city went out for a request for proposals to find a qualified operator to run the accelerator. But the amount budgeted – $50,000 a year for three years – was limiting and not going to create the impact the city wanted, Hiramoto said. She added that the city then went to the state for additional funds and the $1 million grant will go toward finding a qualified operator. “Our plan is to relaunch the request for proposals by the end of the year and between now and then we are going to engage our startup community to understand what their needs are,” she said. Part of the engagement with the startups involves an online survey and also discussing with them about the types of resources they want from an accelerator. Fundraising and introductions to investors are obviously an important component but there are other services, including mentorship, marketing, pitch development and networking events, she said. “We want to know clearly what kind of resources will be needed and that will help in trying to recruit a qualified operator,” Hiramoto added. Among other recommendations of the tech strategy that have been developed and implemented are the creation of the Glendale Relationship Initiation Team that engages Glendale’s top tech employers to promote the city as a tech hub; Glendale Tech on Tap, a monthly meet-up for tech entrepreneurs in a casual setting; and tech social media platforms that highlight local innovation, give updates on local tech companies including job openings and milestones, and promote regional tech events and tech news. Other recommendations had to do with creating more physical space for startups to use, Hiramoto said. Additionally, there is Glendale Tech Week, a local conference with pop-up events, an awards ceremony, a pitch competition and tech career fair. This year, tech week takes place from Sept. 14 to 21. The announcement of the funding follows news of the addition and expansion of other larger tech tenants in Glendale. High end co-working spaces Industrious opened at 500 N. Brand Blvd. earlier this year to be followed in December with the opening of WeWork at 611 N. Brand Blvd. “That was a victory for us because that was a clear recommendation out of the tech strategy,” Hiramoto said. Mayor Ara Najarian said that Glendale was poised to serve as the next hub for technology and innovation, especially in the areas of entertainment, finance and engineering. “Talent, access to transit, quality of life, and modern yet competitively priced office space are just a few reasons why people are drawn to Glendale,” Najarian said in a statement. “This accelerator will help provide services to local companies that currently obtain them outside of Glendale.”

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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