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    Steinbeck Innovation Foundation Launches High Tech, AgTech Smart Farm Initiative

    The Steinbeck Innovation Foundation has launched an aggressive initiative to spur economic development and the growth of small businesses in the Salinas Valley, called the Steinbeck Innovation Cluster. The foundation was started by former Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue and Silicon Valley executive John Hartnett with an aim of creating more than 1,000 jobs and starting more than 25 companies in the next five years. The intiative’s priorities rest on four pillars - education, incubation, investment and corporate engagement. Among the foundation’s goals is to engage the youth of Salinas and mentor them as the next generation of entrepreneurs, along with giving Salinas a competitive edge by creating the farms of the future – smart farms.   
     
    From teaching young students how to write computer code through a Coder Dojo program, to guiding new entrepreneurs with a Kaufman FastTrac initiative launching in the spring, the organization is a comprehensive effort that will usher in a new spirit of collaboration among Salinas’ officials and the leaders of the future. In an interview with KSBW Channel 8, Hartnett said, “This will create advanced research and activities, and projects that will get funded. And will attract venture capital and will attract local angel investment to these ideas.”