It’s estimated that as many as 30,000 vehicles per day leave the Murrieta/Temecula area carrying local residents to high tech jobs in San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles. But, enticing large technology companies with high paying jobs to relocate to our Valley has proven elusive. If high tech companies are relocating from a coastal area, chances are they’re leaving the state entirely, not just moving a few miles inland.
Bruce Coleman, Economic Development Director for the City of Murrieta, is not at all happy with that and has set about doing something about it. “We are doing everything we can as a region to bring jobs in. The city attends the ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) convention every year and we’re starting to see some real rewards from that effort as well as our other national and international outreach. But one effort that has proven to be very effective is creating jobs in the city by encouraging start-ups in targeted industries and promoting growth of the entrepreneurial system.”
As part of their effort to create jobs, Murrieta opened a business incubator, the Murrieta Innovation Center, in the old city hall building in 2012. Organizations like InSoCal Connect, TriTech SBDC and BuildLeaders.org have all launched effective initiatives that are sparking technology entrepreneurs in the area. CoWorking Connection and others provide shared space allowing start-up businesses to network around an office while sharing technology and ideas.
A new addition to the effort is the opening of CoHive, a project started by Novohit (novohit.com). Founded in 1987, Novohit is a software company specializing in hotel and industry management software. The company recently established their headquarters in Murrieta with regional offices in major cities in Italy, Mexico and Chile.
According to Novohit Vice President of Operations David Bertolini, “I’m impressed with everything the City is doing to embrace tech-oriented businesses and the path taken by local entrepreneurial groups. Our CoHive Project creates an IT and software start-up working space where like-minded ‘techy’ folks can collaborate and thrive.”
The CoHive is an 1,800 SqFt space in the heart of Murrieta catering to the needs of entrepreneurs focused on IT and software development. CoHive offers assignable desks, high-speed Wi-Fi and LAN access, a conference room, projectors and sketch boards throughout the facility. Not only will the center encourage local techies, its more lofty goal is to increase local jobs, end the daily commute for many and increase the visibility of developers, designers and their products and services.
Another company growing out of the Murrieta Innovation Center is GROW (trygrow.com). GROW provides an 8 week accelerated technology course designed to teach entrepreneurs how to build apps, manage design and ultimately start their own or work for a tech company. GROW is the latest effort by Stephen Espinosa, former Lead Programmer for Global Small Business Revenue at Google and founder and current CEO of Puzzle Piece, a start-up that makes affordable tablets and apps geared toward children with autism. Course instructors include current and former employees of Google, Netflix, YouTube and Yahoo.
“All these pieces fit together to make Murrieta a hub for innovation and technology,” according to Coleman. “We are in a very good location and the City is being very proactive on our strategic plan to reach out to our tech partners, foster high tech job growth and provide incentive for more public-private collaboration. Access to low-cost space, mentoring programs and exposure to a growing worldwide market makes us a vortex for tech start-ups. Next up? The City is in conversation with a major healthcare university to create a regional healthcare innovation facility. Stay tuned!”
For more information about the Innovation Center or any of the ideas summarized here, contact Bruce Coleman or Kimberly Davidson at (951) 304-2489 or go to www.Murrieta.org/business