Slots Added to IBA@LAX Cohort; Deadline Extended to June 30

When we  announced the IBA@LAX Coastal Chamber at the beginning of May, we weren’t sure how many companies would be interested in the West LA location. We’ve done a lot of outreach and have received an amazing response.  We met our minimum goal of applications this week and so we received the go-ahead to add four additional slots. To allow additional companies to apply, we are extending the application cut-off date to June 30. For additional information about the IBA@LAX program and the link to the application, go the IBA@LAX page (


Business Acceleration for Global Businesses


The Community Vitalization is excited about the second cohort for the International Business Accelerator (IBA). Civic 180 teamed up with K5 Partners  in 2014 to launch an accelerator to help startup and early stage companies successfully enter global markets. Starting last September, the IBA has had a brick and mortar location in Long Beach, CA at Long Beach Community College.

Participants in the program receive:

  • six workshops on the nuts and bolts of international business covering everything from cross-cultural issues to market development to financing,
  • one-on-one business coaching that help companies implement business practices based on what they learned in the workshops, and
  • company specific assistance drawing on experts from the Los Angeles Regional Small Business Development network (SBDC).

Applications are open until March 17. Here is detailed information about the program. Spread the word to companies you may think would qualify.

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Five Inexpensive Ways to Jumpstart Your Economy

Here is a link to the slides from our popular webinar from last December. All the ideas can be implemented for under $10,000 and some are at no (financial) cost (although there are man hours involved).

Five Inexpensive Ways to Jumpstart Your Local Economy

CIVIC 180 Launches Hispanic Entrepreneur Ecosystem Program to Empower Entrepreneurs in Orange County

Hispanics represent one in three residents of Orange County, California but account for only 12% of Orange County businesses.  A CB Insights Report cites that less than one percent of venture-backed startups in the nation were founded by Hispanics and are still underrepresented among the ranks of high-tech entrepreneurs.  In response to this challenge, the Community Vitalization Council 180 (“CiViC 180”), a non-profit organization, is launching a Hispanic Entrepreneur Ecosystem to assist Orange County and surrounding cities to empower high-tech entrepreneurs.  The program is designed to foster a new generation of Hispanic entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing access to resources and support that will enable them to build and grow their startup or small business.

One of the key roles that local government and chambers of commerce to perform is to facilitate and influence business and investment opportunities in an effort to retain and create jobs and enhance its tax base.  California cities have one of the highest unemployment rates of any state in the nation of which no city has escaped either in terms of losses in employment or to its tax base.  Thus, a Hispanic Entrepreneur Ecosystem is a valuable program in the support of economic development activities and has become even more valuable since the 2008 recession.

“Cities are central to innovation and new technology,” said Chris Lynch, president of Civic 180.  “They need to act as giant petri dishes, where creative types and entrepreneurs can rub up against each other as well as mentors who are a great resource to assist them from idea to an emerging growth company – combining and recombining to spark new ideas, new inventions, new businesses and new industries.”

The Hispanic Entrepreneur Ecosystem Program is consistent with the mission of CiViC 180 which is to promote community level economic vitality and jobs by bringing and implementing best practices in creating and supporting the growth of new businesses.  CiViC 180 works in collaboration with cities, economic development agencies, chambers of commerce and other non-profit organizations – with the aim to provide services to poor or underserved communities by developing stable funding streams for community-based programs using grants, donations, and corporate sponsorships.

“If Orange County cities want to remain a vibrant community, then cities and chambers of commerce must do everything it can to foster a Hispanic Entrepreneur Ecosystem and create a pipeline of jobs for working families,” commented Lynch.  The CiViC 180 Hispanic Entrepreneur Ecosystem is a mentorship-driven program that provides “hands-on” education, business resources, infrastructure, capital, and guidance for promising startup companies led by Hispanics, moving them on to a fast track to success.  The CiViC 180 Hispanic Entrepreneur Ecosystem will assist Hispanic entrepreneurs with the following benefits:

  • Mentorship – Participants receive frequent one-on-one time with the most influential entrepreneurs in the community to provide guidance, share progress, and receive crucial feedback.
  • Workshops/Seminars – Facilitated by CiViC 180 “hands-on” mentors, participants will learn how to build a scalable business model, attract and maintain customers, and generate revenue for their startups.
  • Pitch Presentations – Workshops on preparing pitch presentations will be conducted by industry leaders and venture capitalists, in partnership with SBA and other organizations.  These pitch presentation workshops are designed for entrepreneurs to roll up their sleeves to learn about startup business strategies and tactics that will deliver successful results.
  • Training – CiViC 180 will provide training on practical skills and knowledge to Hispanic entrepreneurs and small business owners regarding the specific competencies that will improve their capabilities and performance.  This training will allow participants to continue to maintain, upgrade and update their skill sets throughout their business lives.
  • Demo Day – In cooperation with K-5 Accelerator, each startup will participate in a pitch competition and pitch to investors in an interactive setting.  Our shared goal is to help participants exit the program on a fast, upward trajectory toward their company’s specific growth objectives.
  • Access to Resources – CiViC 180 will also provide additional resources that will enable Hispanic entrepreneurs to build and grow their startup or small companies.
  • Promotion – create buzz and awareness in launching new Hispanic companies and products or services.  It is vital in gathering customers, investors and achieving success.

All Hispanic startups and small businesses are expected to achieve certain milestones and graduate with a lean startup team

CiViC 180 to Host Webinar Dec. 12 Focusing on Inexpensive Ways to Jumpstart Your Local Economy

After Redevelopment Agencies and Enterprise Zones, what can a California community do to promote local economic development? The answer is in your own backyard by retaining and growing local businesses. Join in this no-cost webinar to hear about five great ideas to create jobs and positive buzz for your community. We’ll also give you tips on how to finance the costs.

Join the Webinar DEC. 12 from 10:00-10:45 a.m.

The presentation will present ideas on inexpensive programs to create jobs through:

  • Business Retention
  • Entrepreneurship
  • International Connections
  • Vital Marketing
  • Smart Cities Technologies

The program will conclude with a discussion of strategies to find funding to support these projects through innovative public-private partnerships. CiViC 180 will make time available to all participants  to discuss local needs following the program.

The presentation will be led by CiViC 180 Co-Founders:

Christopher Lynch, an economic developer with experience in Irvine, Santa Rosa and Silicon Valley. He also was an international economic and trade policy expert with the US Department of State.

Bob Maples, PR and social media expert. Bob has worked with most of the major IT companies developing their PR strategies, winning seven national PRSA “Silver Anvil” awards.

To register, send YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION to OR call 949-236-9637

About the Community Vitalization Council:  CiViC 180 creates, manages and finances programs to help communities develop their local businesses. As a 501(C)3 non-profit, CiViC 180 gives special focus to working with underserved communities.

Welcome to CiViC 180

We’re excited to launch CiViC 180. Traditional practice in economic development has been turned on its head with the Great Recession. In California, funding streams from Redevelopment Agencies were eliminated. Elsewhere, state and local revenues were battered by sinking property values. The use of incentives has also fallen under intense scrutiny as the long run ROI of incentives is being questioned.

At CiViC 180, we’re going back to basics — real economic vitality comes from a healthy local business community. We believe that communities need to focus on retaining existing businesses, support the growth of small and emerging growth companies and help business be successful in a global economy. Based on our experience, we offer a series of programs to address those needs. We support those with viral marketing and fundraising strategies.

We will use this blog to highlight best practices. We look forward to having a dialogue with you, so please add your comments!

Bob Maples and Chris Lynch