By David Benda, Record Searchlight, November 2015

REDDING, California – North State residents, and community and business leaders came out in force Wednesday night to tour the Economic Development Corp. of Shasta County’s newest initiative.

The grand opening of the Shasta Venture HUB drew some 300 people to its Caterpillar Road campus in the Mountain Lakes Center in north Redding.

Visitors enjoyed food and drink while checking out the 14,000-square-foot business incubator that now has five startup companies, a Silicon Valley-based computer firm that continues to grow its Redding operation, a Chico State University Small Business Development Center office and the new headquarters for the Shasta EDC.

The Shasta Venture HUB also has video conferencing capabilities and resources the EDC believes will help entrepreneurs and inventors grow their dreams.

Keynote speaker Jason Eatmon of the Development Group in Redding encouraged the gathering to help the North State build a better economy and work to keep businesses here.

Hope Seth, the EDC’s director of entrepreneurial development, said that is the inspiration for the Shasta Venture HUB, which officially opened its doors in September after a four-month build-out. The EDC partnered with 10 investors who spent about $130,000 on the business incubator they believe will create more jobs in the community.

Growth and inspiration is why Indie Game University decided to apply for space in the incubator. The company, started by the husband-and-wife team of Mark and Linette Soderwall, moved in this week.

Mark directed game development at Atari, EA and LucasArts for more than 20 years before he started Indie Game University, which provides game development solutions for the independent game developers, everything from marketing to building teams.

“Mentors need mentors,” he said of their decision to take up residence in the Shasta Venture HUB. “I come from a creative background, but I still need help with my business side.”

Joining Indie Game University in the HUB’s “Startup Alley” is Spero Pictures, Mindbox Studios, Rethink Loyalty and Vertical Sciences.

Tegile Systems is the Silicon Valley-based flash drive data storage company that opened a Redding branch about five years ago with two employees. The company has grown to 20 employees and has three departments in Redding. It needed more room. Enter Shasta Venture HUB.

Paul LaPrise, Tegile’s inside sales manager in Redding, believes the area has a deep labor talent pool that is fueled by Bethel Church and Simpson University.

LaPrise, who came to Redding to attend the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, said the church draws people from around the world with technical and creative backgrounds.

Eric Casequin is a web developer who works for Y3TI, a company based in Lafayette. Casequin is renting space in Shasta Venture HUB. Before coming to the incubator, he would work from home and in places like Starbucks.

“I want the experience of meeting other startups and being so close to so much talent,” said Casequin, who was living on the streets of Las Vegas before his father bought him a bus ticket to Redding 16 years ago. Today, Casequin has a wife and two daughters. “You are going to learn something new every day. Everybody here has something interesting to talk about.”

The Shasta Venture HUB also features two entrepreneurs in residence: Luke Miner of YouCaring; and Joshua Johnson of Mindbox Studios.

The HUB also welcomes private events, community groups and company training workshops.

Got to for more information.