Invention & Innovation Hub

At CSU Channel Islands, the California Institute of Social Business (CISB) in collaboration with Muhammad Yunus, the Entrepreneurship and Small Business Institute (ESBI), and the STEMe program[1] have been teaching students entrepreneurial skills and inspiring them to think about using their lives to address global and local challenges. Core to this mission has been high-impact engagement with community partners–individual entrepreneurs, established and new businesses, and even non-profit organizations in search of sustainable revenue streams. Together, these entities have seen a positive synergy of research, teaching, and practice that has been recognized at the local, national, and global level. Looking forward, we propose a transition to a joint initiative in order to create a regional Innovation and Invention Hub that leads and coordinates joint events at CSUCI. The initiative will eventually involve several STEM programs, including the new Mechatronics Engineering program.

Hands holding an illuminated lightbulb

Building on our individual achievements thus far in establishing partners at the local, national, and global levels, support for this initiative will transform CSU Channel Islands into an even stronger regional-development engine that supports innovation and invention. Pulling together resources across the community, the Invention & Innovation Hub will be the initial entry point for students, faculty, and community partners to engage in creative exchange with the goal of innovation and invention. The Hub will be a place for individuals to either receive services (such as consulting, business planning, social impact measurement, mentorship) or be matched with appropriate resources to meet their needs (such as financial planning advice, incubation services, and funding opportunities). Community partners providing related services will associate with the hub. The hub will play a crucial role in graduating students ready to launch into the local, national, or global market with ideas, products, businesses, or nonprofit organizations. Many other universities have similar programs–but there is not one in Ventura County. CI is an ideal setting for this initiative because entrepreneurial thinking and innovation are an integral part of everything we do!

The entrepreneurship landscape is quickly changing in the U.S. with an increasing number of entrepreneurs coming from traditionally under-represented backgrounds (e.g., immigrant and women entrepreneurs).[2] These entrepreneurs often implicitly have the skill set necessary to successfully pursue entrepreneurial endeavors, creating a large number of jobs and spurring economic growth. CSU Channel Islands serves a large proportion of students from such backgrounds, as CSUCI is of the 12% of institutions nationwide classified as a Hispanic- Serving Institution (HSI) – a term used by the government to describe universities that are more than 25% Hispanic and that serve a significant number of low income students. CSU Channel islands’ student body is also approximately 60% female. The Invention & Innovation Hub is committed to providing entrepreneurs from traditionally under-represented backgrounds the skills and experience necessary to succeed and lead to innovation, job creation, and economic development.

With the necessary support, we hope to build on the reputation CI already has as a community-active, globally-engaged powerhouse.


[1] Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math entrepreneurship

[2] Kauffman Foundation (2015). Entrepreneurship Policy Digest.  

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