Ikhlaq Sidhu to lead $2.2 million initiative to strengthen entrepreneurship and innovation at UC Berkeley


Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology Chief Scientist and IEOR professor Ikhlaq Sidhu has just been awarded a $2.2 million grant on behalf of the leading centers and programs that accelerate the innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of California, Berkeley.  

The new grant funds will help the Sutardja Center and its UC Berkeley partners create a “coordinated pipeline” of activities and programs that educate more students, provide specialized mentorship for women and underrepresented minorities, and increase the amount of seed funding available for student startups. Additionally, the funds will be used to facilitate team formation, accelerate new ventures, and unite the innovation ecosystem on campus to make it easier for entrepreneurs, mentors, researchers, and institutional resources to connect with each other to build the next great startup.

“A remarkable group of programs to foster all aspects of entrepreneurship emerged organically from Berkeley in the last decade,” said UC Berkeley’s vice chancellor of research, Paul Alivisatos. “This new funding from the State of California will help these groups step up to a new level, helping our faculty and students fulfill this aspiration to change the world through discovery based entrepreneurship.”

Grant partners include the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology, the hub of technology entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley; the Blum Center for Developing EconomiesSkyDeck, UC Berkeley’s largest campus-wide accelerator; the CITRIS Foundry, an incubator supporting transformational technology startups; the NSF I-Corps Bay Area Node, which trains entrepreneurs in the acclaimed Lean Launchpad customer discovery methodology; and the Office of Intellectual Property & Industry Research Alliances (IPIRA). The grant will also include non-STEM programs like UC Berkeley’s Law School and innovation initiatives such as the Berkeley Startup Network. A special effort will also be made to include women and minorities who are currently underrepresented in incubators, accelerators, and startups.

“Since joining Berkeley’s faculty ten years ago, Ikhlaq Sidhu has led the efforts to build the Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology and the entrepreneurship ecosystem on campus,” said Ken Goldberg, chair of the Industrial Engineering & Operations Research department, the academic home of the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology. “This major state grant will allow Ikhlaq and his team to accelerate innovation and improve the teaching of entrepreneurship at Berkeley.”

The grant was allocated by the State of California under Assembly Bill 2664, which has recognized the role of UC campuses in building some of California’s strongest industries: aerospace, biotechnology, computers, digital media, and others. 

The bill is providing $2.2 million to each UC campus to spur innovation through instruction and research to help create the industries, companies, and commercial successes of tomorrow.  For UC Berkeley, the entire $2.2 million allotment has been awarded to Sidhu’s proposal, which includes initiatives to strengthen the entrepreneurship and innovation community on campus through partnerships with seven leading UC Berkeley innovation entities.

Read more at Berkeley Engineering