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University of San Diego


San Diego, CA

Project Name

Expanding the San Diego Regional Energy Innovation Network to the Inland Empire



Award Amount

Federal Share

Local Match



The University of San Diego and its partners will scale-up the capacity of the San Diego Regional Energy Innovation Network (SDREIN) incubator program to support the creation and commercialization of clean energy startups in the Inland Empire (namely, Riverside and San Bernadino counties). SDREIN was formed in 2016 to offer free business, technical, and regulatory services to entrepreneurs with breakthrough electric energy technologies in the areas of San Diego, Imperial, Riverside, and San Bernadino. To date, SDREIN has supported 25 startups employing more than 144 people and raising $15.8 million in private capital since acceptance into the program.

However, SDREIN has faced challenges identifying clean energy startups from the Inland Empire. The Inland Empire has historically suffered from low education levels compounded by an economic foundation of low-tech, low-wage jobs, and is currently missing some of the common ingredients of a healthy innovation ecosystem. Despite outreach, only 1 of SDREIN’s 25 startups so far has come from the Inland Empire. In order for clean energy startups to thrive in the Inland Empire, more resources need to be allocated towards building a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem and a cohesive cleantech industry.

The project will allow SDREIN to be more effective in carrying out its goals by hiring staff to organize industry stakeholders in the Inland Empire, and conduct on-the-ground entrepreneur outreach. It will take advantage of the region’s economic differentiators and opportunities to forge new partnerships with universities to fund student internships and projects with clean energy startups. As a result, the SDREIN program will support 59 startups from the Inland Empire, helping them raise $58.1 million in private investment, create 305 jobs, and prepare 81 university graduates for careers in the cleantech industry.

Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Build To Scale (B2S)
formerly Regional Innovation Strategies Program (RIS)

SPRINT Challenge

STEM Talent Challenge

Accelerate R2 Network Challenge

National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (NACIE)

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