SLO City News

SLO’s HotHouse Heats Up New Digs

Best 1Story and Photos by Camas Frank

The SLO Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has moved 17 of its incubator program start-up companies into a 15,000-square foot space above Ross Dress-for-Less in Downtown SLO.
While half of the space is still under renovation, the operational area is a marked step up from their old home on Morro Street although several of its programs will work out of that building until September.
Best 3Once complete CIE’s new home will be three times the size of the old one and will be able to host as many as 25 star-ups at a time, with some office room in the wings for CIE operations.
Working the building towards the end of June were students three weeks into a 3-month accelerator program.
When the SLO City News stopped in for a visit, all were immersed in computer screens or busy diagramming flow charts on white, dry erase boards covered in a rainbow of Post-It Notes.
Among them were businesses that had already received some form of seed funding after winning acceptance into the HotHouse, as well 100_2672as a few ideas fresh out  of the Senior Project stage of development.
While the university has signed a 10-year lease on the office space, which once housed a tech firm in the years before Downtown was earthquake retrofitted, there will eventually be more than student start ups in the venue.
Part of the support for that was finalized recently in San Luis Obispo County’s 2015-16 Budget, with $200,000 allocated annually to help the CIE,  “create new innovations and start new business ventures.”
In an announcement of the grant, SLO County’s Dist. 3 Supervisor, Adam Hill, said, “This is a critical engine of economic prosperity. To keep our community prosperous and dynamic, we need young companies doing innovative work. The HotHouse is something we can all be so proud of and support.”
For more information on the SLO HotHouse programs see: cie.calpoly.edu.