Skip to content Skip to navigation
See our Campus Ready site for the most up to date information about instruction.Campus ReadyCOVID Help
Office of Business Development

Central Valley Entrepreneurship Academy

Central Valley Entrepreneurship

October 2, 2018 - October 4, 2018.

Double Tree by Hilton Modesto


A collaboration between the UC Merced Venture Lab, and UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Central Valley Entrepreneurship Academy is the premier academic program for commercializing innovations in science, engineering, social science, and humanities. The academy is open to everyone in the community, aspiring entrepreneurs, and undergrads, graduate students (master’s and doctoral), postdocs and faculty from all academic fields.

The program is taught by investors, entrepreneurs, university faculty, and industry experts who serve as mentors and guest speakers. You'll gain the knowledge and networks needed to explore and develop the commercial potential of your research or venture.

Key topics include how to ask the right questions to grow your venture, investigates its market, technical and business potential; build a team, protect your intellectual property, develop a presentation, and expand your network.

The Academy Includes:

  • An opportunity to explore the market opportunities surrounding your ideas and your research.
  • Daily seminars and interactive sessions taught by leading investors, industry executives and entrepreneurs.
  • The tools to communicate the broader potential of your venture or research.
  • Evening mentoring sessions with industry executives, entrepreneurs and investors, who give you real-world feedback and guidance.


Program is funded for the Central Valley Entrepreneurship Academy is provided by the State of California through Assembly Bill 2664: University of California Innovation and Entrepreneurship Expansion.


CVEA 18 Schedule PDF


How to Apply

The academy is open to community members and aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as upper-division undergrads, graduate students, postdocs and faculty from all academic fields.

Complete your online application >


Program Costs

There is no charge to attend the Central Valley Entrepreneurship Academy. Coffee/tea, lunch and dinner are included. Participants are responsible for their lodging, transportation and parking fees. 

Please note: Need-based grants are available to cover travel and lodging expenses. Please indicate your interest in being considered for a grant on the application. 


Schedule, Location and Travel Information

The academy will take place Tuesday through Thursday, October 2–4, 2018, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Modesto. To gain the full benefit of the academy experience, please plan to attend all sessions.

Please check back for schedule updates.



2018 Keynote Speaker




Pam Marrone

CEO and Founder, Marrone Bio Innovation


RSVP now to join us for a networking mixer and talk on Tuesday, October 2, following that day’s academy.


Dr. Pamela Marrone founded Marrone Bio Innovations in 2006 to discover and develop effective and environmentally responsible, biologically based products for pest management and plant health. In August 2013 she led the company IPO on the NASDAQ stock exchange.


2018 Featured Speakers



Andrew Hargadon 

Faculty Director

UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship



Joe Dinunzio 

Interim Executive Director

UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship



Peter Schuerman 

Associate Vice Chancellor, Research and Economic Development

UC Merced



Shane Smith 

Of Counsel at

McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte & Carruth LLP



Mel Turner 

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt

E. & J. Gallo Winery



Roger Werne 

Deputy Director of Industrial Partnerships

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



Tamba Balé 

Co-Founder and CFO

Sweep Energy



Agustin Roldan 

CEO and Hardware Engineer

Sweep Energy



Mark Jackson 

Founder and Executive Director

The Pi Shop



Aubrey Priest 

Program Manager

The UC Merced Venture Lab, Modesto



James Bates 

President of Operations, Strategic Partnerships and R&D/Co-Founder

Data Path, Inc.



John Selep 

Investor, Advisor and Business Coach

Technology-based Businesses



Lou Friedman 


Gianelli | Nielsen



Tim Keller 

Executive Director





Domenica Escatel 

Brand and Business Strategist





If you have any questions please email Carla Sanchez at