Fresno State's Water, Energy and Technology Center helping businesses grow

Amanda Venegas Image
Wednesday, April 6, 2022
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To date, they have 86 active ventures creating businesses and ideas that could impact our Valley and the world.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Water, Energy and Technology (WET) Center at Fresno State is helping businesses thrive.

"We upcycle food waste from restaurants and supermarkets, and we transform it into a microbial biofertilizer that helps to reduce the dependency on synthetic fertilizers," said Le Loung with Nurture Growth Biofertilizer.

Loung is CEO of a Canadian company that was a part of the WET Center's Valley Venture program.

The business incubator gives knowledge and resources to start-ups or companies.

Nurture Growth Biofertilizer was a part of the cohort and participated remotely.

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, fertilizer prices have gone up.

The company's growth comes at an important time.

"The prices have increased even more, but in addition to that there's a shortage of fertilizer because they're restricting the export of fertilizer, so it's this perfect storm. That will work in favor of companies like myself, who are growing that is this alternative to synthetic fertilizers," Luong said.

The WET Center opened its doors in 2007. The mission is to help technologies get to California and thrive.

"The hope is for these ventures to be successful in California to solve meaningful problems in our community and for the businesses here. We're talking about water, energy and food. These are three critical things for our community and our economy, which is over $50 billion a year in ag in the Central Valley," said Jeff Macon, venture development manager.

The WET Center is celebrating its 15th year.

Recently, they announced the ventures had raised $205 million in public and private funding, making the program competitive with major cities.

These businesses are also creating jobs in the Valley with a diverse workforce.

"In the leadership teams, 40 percent of the people are minorities, and 20 percent are women. And also just in general jobs created, they have created over 500 positions here in the Central Valley," said Grace Manly, pipeline and membership manager.

To date, they have 86 active ventures creating businesses and ideas that could impact our Valley and the world.

The next cohort of Valley Ventures begins in the fall. Applications will be accepted in late summer.