From the Ground Up Startup Programs

Agtech software developer in Salinas California

Cultivating AgTech Entrepreneurs

Salinas is home to a variety of programs that provide food and agriculture innovators with the office space, mentorship, and resources they need to turn ideas into profitable businesses. Our startup programs give entrepreneurs the opportunity to work side-by-side with farmers and some of the brightest minds in the business, all while being located a short drive away from Silicon Valley.

Key Facts & Figures

THRIVE AgTech aims to expand the number of startups in the Salinas Valley and attract venture capital to the region by creating an ecosystem where tech companies, agriculture companies, investors, and entrepreneurs can work together to drive a sustainable agriculture future.

The initiative’s highly competitive, eight-week THRIVE Accelerator program provides agtech startups from across the globe with high-level mentorship from industry leaders and other key business resources, including direct access to the Salinas Valley’s largest agriculture companies. THRIVE Accelerator receives hundreds of applicants from dozens of countries, including early stage and commercially ready companies.

The THRIVE Open Innovation program aims to identify key challenges in agriculture and provide solutions through collaboration across multiple industries, including finance, computer technologies, and engineering. Program partners include Wells Fargo, Verizon, Taylor Farms, JV Smith, Panasonic and Yamaha.

Key Contact
Mareese Keane Program Manager (267) 258-3786

Located in downtown Salinas, the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology (WGCIT) offers workspaces and collaborative opportunities for agtech entrepreneurs. Its goal is to turn Salinas into a hub for tackling some of agriculture’s toughest problems by bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and local growers.

From startups using cloud-based platforms to automate a farmer’s daily tasks, to companies producing clean energy infrastructure for the agriculture industry, as many as 30 agtech innovators from across the nation call WGCIT their home. The center is currently accepting applications.



Key Contact
Hank Giclas Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning (949) 885-2205

THRIVE Innovation Foundation (formerly the Steinbeck Innovation Foundation) is focused on supporting youth innovation programs in the Monterey County region, such as Coder Dojo-Salinas Valley.

The Foundation works in collaboration with the local school districts, the City of Salinas, local agricultural businesses and SVG Partners. The Foundation’s Board of Directors includes Luis Alvarez, Alvarez Technology; Dennis Donohue, WGA Center for Innovation & Technology; Dr. Willard Lewellan, Hartnell College; Rich Moran, Menlo College; Chris Steinbruner and Margaret D’Arrigo-Martin, Taylor Farms.

Key Contact
Margaret D’Arrigo VP Community Development

California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) offers a Small Business Development Center in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) – providing Monterey and San Benito County entrepreneurs and small businesses with tools to help build their business.

CSUMB is also home to the Institute for Innovation and Economic Development (iiED). Sponsored by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the program is a collaboration between CSUMB and the Monterey County Business Council and aims to support students and entrepreneurs pursuing business opportunities through research and innovative business projects.

In addition, the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership provides a list of Entrepreneur Resources, and information on local organizations and regional events for entrepreneurs.