During a recent SmartMoney Ventures podcast, Richard Sudek, Ph.D., UCI Beall Applied Innovation executive director and UCI chief innovation officer, shared with hosts Dave Berkus and Jeff Davids his thoughts on many topics, including building UCI Beall Applied Innovation, the significance of universities bringing value to their communities and the importance of opening up resources for underrepresented communities.
“I think public universities of the future have to be designed to bring more value to the community than they have in the past,” said Sudek. “In some ways they’ve been siloed … from the very beginning, our vision statement was for us to help make Orange County a globally recognized entrepreneur region.”
During the hourlong show, he discussed the importance of incorporating more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education into underrepresented communities to build more diversity in the innovation ecosystem and discussed its benefits to the U.S. economy.
“There’s actually a strategic opportunity for the U.S. if we were to promote more STEM education for the underrepresented. We have a workforce that could be developed here rather than imported,” said Sudek. “For the U.S., I think it’s important that we encourage different populations to pursue STEM degrees and backgrounds. The valley has not treated women entrepreneurs – especially people of color – very well when we look at the percentages. I think we need to open up those networks.”
Sudek also encouraged the funding regions across Southern California to come together to build a collective ecosystem and serve as a resource for startups.
“I don’t see LA and San Diego as competing ecosystems; I see them as massive assets for Orange County. Because when we look at Southern California as an ecosystem, the numbers are massive and the diversity is excellent in technology, entrepreneurs, investors, etc.,” said Sudek. “The more we can work together in Southern California, the more this region will become the sought after investment region.”
Listen to the full podcast.
Main Photo: Ryan Mahar, UCI Beall Applied Innovation