Institute for Innovation and Economic Development

Events and Programs

The Institute for Innovation and Economic Development offers the following events and programs to support entrepreneurship and innovation in the Monterey Bay region.

Participants wanting presentation at Startup Monterey Bay Connect


Startup Monterey Bay Connect

A monthly meeting where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, innovators, local start-ups, and businesses can meet, learn, tell others about what you’re up to, find out what they’re up to, and enjoy the camaraderie with other entrepreneurs. Investors, entrepreneurs, local businesses, and anyone interested in the latest innovations, trends in business and technology, or the latest and greatest ideas should come! Startup Monterey Bay Connect meets on the second Tuesday of each month.  Learn more at

Startup Challenge check with Brad Barbeau, Little Feet Packaging team, Tom Armstrong, Erik Cushman


Startup Challenge Monterey Bay

Startup Challenge Monterey Bay is a new business competition and accelerator program that supports the founding, funding, and growth of new and innovative businesses in the Monterey Bay region. It offers workshops, feedback, and mentoring to empower entrepreneurs in a competitive process. Nothing inspires and prepares entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to market like Startup Challenge Monterey Bay! The deadline for the 2023 application is midnight, March 6, 2023. The Finale and Venture Showcase will be on April, 28, 2023 at the university. Learn more at

Four people on laptops


Startup Launchpad Monterey Bay

The Startup Launchpad offers mentoring and advising, workshops, referrals to resources, assistance in obtaining funding, and connection to our extensive network of entrepreneurs, investors, advisors, and service providers. Our vision is that we are creating a community of entrepreneurs and mentors who can support each other in developing innovative businesses in our region – Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more at

Startup Weekend student writing on white board


Startup Factory Monterey Bay

This event is a creative and collaborative three-day educational event where anyone can develop and pitch new startup ideas. It's about pitching, business model creation, prototyping, designing, and market validation, in a friendly and supportive team environment. Learn how to think, work, and build like a startup at the annual Startup Factory Monterey Bay. Over an action-packed three days, you’ll meet the very best mentors, investors, and co-founders. and sponsors to show you how to get more done faster -- and, maybe even start that business. The dates for the 2023 Startup Factory will be February 3-5, 2023 at the University Center. Learn more at 

Photo of three panelists at Startup Investment and Community Capital Expo


Startup Investment and Community Capital Expo

The region’s largest showcase of emerging companies! Startup Investment & Community Capital Expo connects the region’s fastest-growing companies with investors and lenders to raise the capital they need to grow their business. This annual event provides attendees with a unique opportunity to watch startups pitch, exhibit, and network with top-tier investors, regional banks, and alternative sources of funding.  Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to network with investors, a student searching for inspiration, or an investor looking for the next big startup, this event provides ample opportunities to network with founders and investors, and discover the ins and outs of startup funding. Learn more at