Powering the Innovation Ecosystem in the Monterey Bay Region


What We Do

Startup Monterey Bay supports entrepreneurs, innovators and the startup community in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties with training, workshops, events, competitions, information about local resources, and opportunities to connect and network. This is a great region to live and work and we want to enable local entrepreneurs, innovators and startups to be able to succeed in this region.

Startup Monterey Bay is a program of the CSU Monterey Bay Institute for Innovation and Economic Development. The Institute is housed within the College of Business, and serves the university and its surrounding community.

The iiED prepares highly motivated students and community members for success as entrepreneurs. We educate, incubate, and launch new enterprises. We seek out and serve underserved communities and actively promote inclusion and diversity.
The iiED is committed to the Central Coast region being an economically and environmentally rich and resilient region offering economic opportunity balanced with maintaining a rich ecology. The Central Coast is home to a vibrant entrepreneurial community creating innovative companies both large and small. This community is renowned for being an inclusive and sustainable community that offers encouragement and opportunity for all. It is a place where there are rich career opportunities for graduates of CSUMB and other institutions of higher education.

Meet Our Team

Leadership Team

Brad Barbeau, PhD.

Executive Director
Brad Barbeau, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the CSU Monterey Bay College of Business and Executive Director of the CSUMB Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development (iiED). As a faculty member, he teaches courses in entrepreneurship and new venture formation and finance, and is faculty lead for the entrepreneurship concentration for the College of Business. As Executive Director for the iiED, he devotes his efforts to building the entrepreneurial ecosystem and developing and accelerating entrepreneurial ventures in the Monterey Bay region.

Jennifer Kuan, PhD.

Deputy Director of Innovation and Research
Dr. Kuan is a member of the CSUMB entrepreneurship and economics faculty with a PhD from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. She is currently studying the commercialization of publicly funded R&D and the history of venture capital. Prior to CSUMB, Jenny was a researcher at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research for over a decade. She also has a background in technology, with a decade of experience as an engineer in manufacturing at Apple and Solectron. In addition to her PhD from Berkeley, Jenny holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.

Dan Ripke

Director, Economic Development, Funding & Grants
Over the past 30 years, Dan Ripke has designed and implemented innovative projects, programs, and services designed to improve the economies of California communities. Dan was the director of an EDA regional University Center program for 30 years and the director of a regional small business development center network (Northeastern California) for 14 years serving 23 of California's 58 counties. He has secured over $50 million in grant funding for economic development.

Mary Jo Zenk, MBA

Program Manager
As Program Manager of the Institute for Innovation & Economic Development (iiED) at CSUMB, she coordinates workshops, speaker series, competitions, and conferences that foster innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development on campus and in the local region. She also teaches graduate and undergraduate level courses in public and non-profit finance and management and consults in the areas of government budgeting and community, housing and economic development programs.

Team Members

Mirna Gonzalez

Print & Web Designer
Mirna Gonzalez is a recent graduate from CSUMB, majoring in Communication Design. She is the current IIED Print and Web Designer, creating marketing materials to promote upcoming events. She is seeking a new graphic design position specializing in branding and marketing design.

Lauryl Gonzalez

iiED Program Assistant
Lauryl Gonzalez is a recent graduate from CSUMB's College of Business, Lauryl brings valuable experience as a previous employee, having served as both an assistant and coordinator within the college for three years.

Ghanish Shah

Data Management
Ghanish Shah is Bachelor's degree in Business Administration graduate, specializing in Information Systems and Marketing. His passion for Information Systems and Marketing stems from his fascination with sports science and data analysis. Following his graduation, Ghanish aspires to have a career in either sports data analysis or marketing analysis.

Student Interns

Kate Boyle

Marketing Intern
Kate is a junior at CSUMB pursuing a Sustainable Hospitality Management degree with a concentration in Sustainable Hotel, Resort, and Event Management. She is thrilled to be joining the team and is looking forward to pursuing a career in sales or marketing in the golf industry with a sustainability purpose. Kate’s recent experience assisting in planning, operating, and marketing weddings has taught her that she values both teamwork and creativity in her work. She is excited to build her professional skills and will assist with Startup Monterey Bay’s social media and email marketing.

Dawn Hightree

Management Intern
Dawn Hightree is graduating Senior in the Spring of 2024 at CSUMB pursuing a bachelor's degree in Collaborative Health and Human Services with a Nonprofit Management concentration. Helping businesses flourish is important to Dawn. Dawn has recently started her own consulting and sustainability company in Monterey County called Usolec Company. Dawn is enjoying helping to build her professional skills by assisting in the operations of Startup Challenge events from start to finish.

Advisory Council

  • Bob Margevicius, – Specialized Bicycle Components
  • Brad van Dam – American Casting Co.
  • Brooks McChesney – Retired CEO and Investor
  • Brigid McGrath-Massie – Author and Professional speaker
  • Carmen Herrera – Director, El Pajaro Community Development Corporation
  • Carrie Nikitin, Chief Business Strategist, Powerful Women International Connections
  • Charly Franklin – Retired attorney, Real Estate Manager, Developer
  • Colton Bollinger, CEO, Jumper Media
  • Craig Vachon, CEO, AI Redefined
  • Dave Côté, Advisory Board Chair, Switchboard
  • Dennis Donohue – Director, Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology
  • Doug Erickson – CEO, Santa Cruz Works
  • Harvey Dadwal – Owner and CEO, Marriott Springhill Suites at the Dunes
  • Ian Oglesby – Mayor, City of Seaside
  • Jennifer Dacquisto – SVP, Bank of America
  • Joel Gambord – CEO, Joel Gambord Investments
  • John Dicconson – CEO, Tech Care Now
  • Kelly Crampton, Strategic Advisor, Excelligence Learning Corp.
  • Martha Watson – Principal, Watson Consulting
  • Marylou Shockley, Interim Dean, College of Business at California State University Monterey Bay
  • Paul Powers, Partner, Paul Power Associates
  • Rene Mendez, City Manager, City of Watsonville
  • Scott Komar – SVP, Driscoll’s Berries
  • Shyam Kamath – Founding Dean, College of Business at Cal State Monterey Bay
  • Tom Armstrong – White Summers Caffee & James, LLP
  • Associated Professors and Researchers

    • Angie Nariswari, PhD, College of Business
    • Dante DiGregorio, PhD, College of Business
    • Eric Tao, PhD, School of Computing and Design
    • Heiko Wieland, PhD, College of Business
    • Jenny Lin, PhD, College of Business
    • Joel Ryman, PhD, College of Business
    • Joshua Gross, School of Computing and Design
    • Miguel Lara, PhD, School of Computing and Design
    • Paige Viren, PhD, College of Business
    • Rosalyn Sandoval, PhD, College of Business
    • Shwadhin Sharma, PhD, College of Business