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UC Riverside group works to Connect entrepreneurs with resources

There's no "how-to" manual for business.

For most entrepreneurs, getting an idea from concept to execution is a guideless tour.

That doesn't have to be the case for Inland Empire business executives, according to Steve Austin, who co-chairs the steering committee for networking group UCR Connect.

"It's a very good platform to get the right parties together to get things done," Austin said Monday, noting UCR Connect intends to be a catalyst to get the "local economy moving." Austin is also a partner at accounting firm Swenson Advisors LLP in Temecula.

Future events include an April 26 luncheon presented as part of UCR Connect's Links program, called "The 20 Most Important IP Questions, and the Answers." Brobeck's Stephen Korniczky is scheduled to talk at a location to be announced later.

The group also intends to host a Springboard event entitled "Reflex Developing & Testing Corp. -- Revolutionizing the Rehabilitation Industry ... One Test at a Time." The event was originally scheduled for Friday, but has been postponed to an as-yet-undetermined later date, Austin said.

A Director's Luncheon, anticipated for May or June, will encourage executives to meet and network. The outdoor events typically attract a couple hundred people, Austin said.

UCR Connect, led by executive director Ed Sternagle, is actually a spin-off of technology networking group UCSD Connect. Founded in 1998 as Temecula Connect, the satellite group changed its name in July 2001 to reflect the new leadership role assumed by the University of California, Riverside.

UCSD Connect has been the model for a number of similar groups around the globe, says UCSD Connect spokeswoman Theresa Cervantes de Torres. They include UC Davis Connect, Hawaii Connections, Houston Tech Center, Scotland Connect, Connect Yorkshire, Denmark Connect, Norway Connect, and even Sweden Connect. UCSD Connect got its start in 1995.

Austin says UCR Connect differs from UCSD Connect in some respects, focusing more on early-stage companies while expanding its ranks.

As the newly organized UCR Connect, the group's mission statement is: "We are committed to attracting intellectual and financial capital to the Inland Empire to foster business growth under the leadership of a unique collaboration between the University of California, Riverside and business development resources throughout the Inland Empire."

Membership is open to all businesses in the region, though Austin says entrepreneurs and start-up companies seem to benefit the most from the affiliation. Prospective members can enroll online. Membership fees range from $350 to $2,500, depending on the size of the organization, Austin said.

Related Links

UCR Connect: www.ucrconnect.org

Global Connect Links: www.connect.org/programs/globalconnect/links.htm

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