Did you know Innovation Month, the month of April when Riverside County showcases technology and innovation in the region, was an initial collaboration by the City of Corona and the County of Riverside Economic Development Agency?
"In September of 2016 the City of Corona and the EDA of Riverside discussed the fact that we have a lot of businesses here, a lot of innovative companies. And we explored ways to get that message out. We asked, ‘How do we highlight the innovation here?’” said Kimberly Davidson, Economic Development Manager for the City of Corona.
The answer became clear. An entire month would be dedicated to innovation. The purpose behind it was to foster awareness of both inventive and entrepreneurial companies in the area.
"A big reason we created Innovation Month was to make a push to identify technology companies that are doing business here in Riverside County and to showcase what the county has to offer.”
The month-long celebration of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship is now spearheaded by Riverside County Economic Development Agency and encompasses all 28 cities in Riverside County.
"Innovation Month is one of the first of its kind and innovative itself because of the collaboration of cities, economic development agencies, universities, and local private businesses.”
Throughout the month, a number of technology innovators have been celebrated like Jose Montero, CEO and President of Blue, a company that has developed a social app that is a virtual name tag connecting users via Bluetooth technology. Users turn on the app, slide it back in their pocket and as soon as users cross paths in real life, they’ll be notified in real-time.
Other innovators, who happen to be from Corona, are Karan Amin and Jasjeet Virk, co-founders of Rival, a company that produced an app of the same name for connecting casual, competitive athletes. The app allows users to obtain the geolocation of other participants via GPS within a 30-mile radius.
Along with celebrating tech innovators in the region, Innovation Month offers a wide variety of events occurring almost daily throughout Riverside County.
Some of this year’s Innovation Month events in Corona included:
• Getting Funded, a class geared toward start-ups
• Coffee with an Entrepreneur, a fireside chat with Darshan Arya, co-owner of FutureLink in Corona
• Corona Fast Pitch Competition, a preliminary competition where entrepreneurs pitch their companies to compete in the region-wide finals
• Blockchain Meetup, a meeting for those interested in blockchain and crytocurrency
• Tech O Tuesday, a mixer event for entrepreneurs and investors to network
• Digital Marketing Workshop, a class about marketing your business online
Innovation Month concluded with the 2nd Annual Fast Pitch Finale where Riverside County’s entrepreneur finalists presented their business ideas to a panel of venture capitalists and angel investors for cash prizes. The eight finalists were:
• Burble – Taylor Cole
• Double-Lock Healthcare Systems – Elizabeth Wong
• Rival – Karan Amin and Jasjeet Virk
• Globe Biomedical – Matt Rickard
• Laughing Lizard Adventure Park – Kirsten Gallagher
• Deal Drive – Shawn Isaac
• Project TechXploration – Pat Person
• serviceMob – Anuj Bhalla
The winner, Anuj Bhalla, founder of serviceMob, was presented a check for $5,000.
"I think with Innovation Month, we are changing the message and positioning Corona and Riverside County as an area of innovation,” said Davidson.