BK: What's the purpose behind Entretec, and how long have you been active in the area?
SY: Pasadena Entretec was launched in 2000 to help technology entrepreneurs in the 134 / 210 corridor develop technologies and grow their businesses. Our mission is to support the region's economic transformation through company expansion and retention, bringing in new investment, and providing high quality employment for our young people. We currently have close to 275 members, and a majority of these companies are technology ventures.
Entretec is the only organization in the region offering practical "in the trenches" services targeting start-up ventures during the highly vulnerable phases of development. This group of companies represents the most important source of high-tech economic growth within our region.
These services include focused networking events; business training workshops; group discount programs and leads to financing, customers and partners. We are also linked to a powerful local network of vendors, service providers, and real estate brokers and developers throughout the region who provide necessary infrastructure for high tech development. We have successfully organized over 60 events, and provided practical support to hundreds of companies.
We also play a vital role in providing employment opportunities for young graduates. We foster connections between technology companies and career guidance offices at academic institutions in the region including Caltech, the Keck Graduate Institute, Calpoly Pomona, Pasadena City College, and Fullerton and Whittier Colleges.
Entretec is a unique organization that offers not only an environment for entrepreneurs to network, but we also sponsor a cross pollination of ideas, and supportive business development from resource providers and other technology companies in this region.
We work with many partners including the San Gabriel Valley Economic Development Partnership, the LAEDC, LARTA, Los Angeles County, Caltech, the Keck Graduate Institute, Calpoly Pomona, the NASA Commercialization Center, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the City of Hope and UCLA to extend our outreach and leverage our resources. We raise matching funds wherever possible, which brings new partners into our network. We are a grassroots organization, funded by a strong and loyal network of private donors who have allowed us to grow vigorously over our first three years.
BK: Who are your members?
SY: They include technology/biotech companies (both large and small), city government representatives, academic departments, students and service providers. You can see a partial list of our members on our web site at www.pasadenaentretec.com.
BK: Where are you seeing the most activity in the San Gabriel Valley?
SY: Geographically, Pasadena is the center of new company formation, while Pasadena, Monrovia and Claremont are preferred locations for companies moving to the region. We sense that Homeland defense, network security, biotechnology including biodefense, are areas of major activity, along with fuel research and product development, particularly at Idealab! where this has become a priority.
BK: What is the biggest issue your members are currently facing?
SY: The key issue centers around recruiting talent; finding both experienced entrepreneurial CEO's, and employees at lower levels tends to be a challenge. The region is not yet perceived as a sufficiently large high tech cluster that can provide many opportunities. A shortage of affordable housing and good public schools may also be barriers to recruiting top talent.