Valley Innovators founders, from left: Jamin Brazil, Jennifer Lopez and Steve Miller help cut the ribbon for their organization. Valley Innovators aims to introduce capital for new business and startups in the Central Valley.

published on June 8, 2018 - 4:45 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

A new company has kicked off with the intention of spurning innovation and entrepreneurial growth in the Central Valley.

The company, Valley Innovators, celebrated its launch on Tuesday with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Tower Theatre. Currently headquartered out of Fresno First Bank, Valley Innovators CEO Jennifer Lopez referred to the organization as one that is mission-driven and focused on bringing access to capital for startups and early stage companies.

“We’re looking for people with an entrepreneurial spirit who are ready to roll up their sleeves and do what needs to be done to start their companies,” Lopez said.

Lopez added that there is no specific niche to what companies they will work with, aiming at everyone from taco trucks to tech companies. Valley Innovators also plans to hold a pitch contest March 13, 2019.

Educational and networking activities will begin in August.

Part of its goal is educate and provide networking opportunities to entrepreneurs, as well as host business pitch contests. Lopez said Valley Innovators is unique in that it won’t require an equity stake from a company’s founders in order to win prize money.

“We want you all to understand that we have big ambitions,” said co-founder Steve Miller, who is also president and CEO of Fresno First Bank “We’re thinking big — we want you to think big with us.”

Jamin Brazil is another founder of Valley Innovators.

“We have a stellar team in place with experience building companies, running accelerators, and hosting successful pitch contests. We’re excited about the knowledge and capital we will provide founders,” said Brazil, general partner at Vine Ventures. “Valley Innovators is a great platform to showcase the next generation of entrepreneurs that come out of California.”

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