The Venture Lab, out of the University of California Merced, provides resources for skill development for people who wish to explore entrepreneurship. The program is open to people interested in starting a company and with needs that fit the program's resources. Resources include free legal advice, through a partnership with UC Berkeley Law School; co-working, meeting, and workshop spaces; coaching; access to mentor networks; matchmaking for collaborators and team members; specialized training; and events. The program has locations in Merced, Atwater, Modesto, and Fresno.
The program is broken into three categories: member, affiliate, and mentor.
The member program helps new startups assess their market opportunity by assisting program participants to develop a business model, identify customers, and create to-market plans. The program also offers support with free legal advice, business consultants, mentorship, support from established companies, and other new aspects.
The affiliate program works with established companies looking for assistance to increase their business. The program works to help those businesses connect to a network and explore new markets.
The mentor program works to engage individuals that are interested in coaching new ventures to explore market opportunities and established businesses to grow their existing business. Mentors through the program work with members a few times throughout the year in formal settings, and they can meet with members as needed.