The mystartupXX accelerator program, a collaboration of the California Institute for Innovation and Development at the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego and the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, has been chosen for a second time as one of the winners of the national Growth Accelerator Fund competition and recipient of a $50,000 award from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Applications were judged by experts with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, capital formation and academic backgrounds from both the public and private sector. The judges reviewed 400 applications before selecting the 80 winners from across the U.S. The SBA award winners were announced at the first ever White House Demo Day on August 4. The event highlighted the accomplishments and efforts surrounding the American entrepreneurial and innovation engine.
“Increasing the number of women entrepreneurs is critically important to the growth of U.S. economy,” said Lada Rasochova, executive director of the California Institute for Innovation and Development at the Rady School of Management and mystartupXX program director. “Winning this prestigious award from the SBA will enable the work of the mystartupXX program to grow and expand to include UC San Diego alumni. We have already had many successful outcomes from program participants and this award will help us continue to provide the tools female-led technology startups need to excel in the innovation economy.”
“MystartupXX aims at leveling the playing field for female technology entrepreneurs in particular in terms of access to funding and to a strong support network that will serve as a launch pad for their success,” said Rosibel Ochoa, senior executive director of Entrepreneurism and Leadership Programs at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and mystartupXX program co-director.
The mystartupXX program’s mission is to nurture the next generation of female founder and female-led technology startups through mentorship, education and funding. The program is designed to encourage and aid female students from all across UC San Diego to create innovative, technology-driven companies.
“It has been wonderful to work first-hand with the many talented women who have gone through the mystartupXX program and watch as they develop their ideas into successful ventures,” said Kimberly Davis King, Rady School lecturer and mystartupXX program co-director.
The mystartupXX accelerator program attracts students from across the UC San Diego, from undergraduates to postdoctoral scholars. The program graduates have included, Ashley Van Zealand, a Rady School alumna and CEO of Cypher Genomics, who has grown her startup from an idea to a company with 15 employees and products on the market that enable the interpretation of the next generation sequencing data and precision medicine. Sneha Jayaprakash, a Jacobs School undergraduate student and CEO of Giventure has developed an app that enables volunteers, volunteer organizations and nonprofits to connect. In addition, Caroline McCandless, a graduate student at the Scripps Institute for Oceanography and CEO of Carosoul, is developing recyclable materials for wetsuits.
Since its founding in 2012, the mystartupXX program has supported three cohorts of female entrepreneurs and 16 female-led teams. Five startup companies have been launched, more than $8 million has been raised by startups, over 130 jobs have been created and several products are on the market generating more than $1 million in revenues. Two mystartupXX companies were admitted to other prestigious incubator and accelerator programs.
Locally, the program has been recognized throughout the community for its impact on potential female entrepreneurs. In May 2014, mystartupXX was recognized with a Pinnacle Award by Athena San Diego for the organization that best personifies Athena San Diego’s mission of fostering the personal and professional growth of women through mentoring, education, recognition and leadership training, thereby enhancing competitiveness and opportunity in the San Diego business community. Applications for the 2015 mystartupXX cohort will be accepted in October.
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Melinda Battenberg is the Public Relations Representative at the Rady School of Management. In her free time Battenberg enjoys cooking, craft beer and spending time with her family.