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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
Funding Opportunities Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

California State University Fresno Foundation, Inc.


Fresno, CA

Project Name

Central Valley Regional Energy Innovation Accelerator Project



Award Amount


The project will provide services in California’s Central Valley Region, covering 39 of the state’s 58 counties ranging from Kern County in the south and north to the Oregon border. In stark contrast to California’s overall economic prowess, the Central Valley Region exhibits some of the deepest poverty nationwide. According to results of the most recent US Census, the Fresno metropolitan area – where the accelerator will be centered – along with the nearby Central Valley cities all ranked in the top five most impoverished metropolitan areas nationwide. The area is dominated by low-paying agricultural jobs and associated support infrastructure, and has been referred to as the “Appalachia of the West”.

California State University, Fresno, in cooperation with CSU Bakersfield, Chico State, Humboldt State, Cal State Monterey Bay, and Sacramento State, proposes a new accelerator program, Central Valley Accelerator, which will expand on an extensive track record of technology innovation and commercialization activities targeting key issues surrounding the nexus of energy, water, and agriculture in California’s Central Valley region. The Central Valley Accelerator will identify the most outstanding startups by leveraging the regions existing BlueTechValley Energy Innovation Cluster program and infrastructure. These startups will participate in a three- to four-month program designed to accelerate their growth. Opportunities for companies participating in the accelerator program include seed capital funding, office space, a cultivated network of mentors, and other resources needed to enable the entrepreneurs to focus completely on scaling their startups.

The Central Valley Accelerator will generate new innovations, new businesses, jobs, and economic enhancement in these and other disadvantaged communities across Northern and Central California. By deploying a program that will accelerate the development of local water, energy, and agricultural technology startups, the accelerator will help to solve critical local problems with national and global applications, while directly developing and diversifying local economies in a region where such services and jobs are desperately needed.