MORE THAN JUST CALIFORNIA RAISINS
ACE 10 will move into the heartland of California’s Central Valley on Wednesday, October 24th with a stop in the City of Fresno. Fresno is located close to the geographic center of California, in proximity to nearly all of the state’s major cities and well-known destinations. Fresno has a diverse population of 522,053, making it the 4th largest city in the state, 34th nationally, and the most populous city in California’s Central Valley.
ACE 10 participants will get a firsthand look at one of the largest agricultural regions on earth. Fresno is seen as the economic hub for the eight-county San Joaquin Valley region, an area known as “The Food Basket of the World.” The Fresno County Department of Agriculture reports ag production totaled $6.18 billion in 2016, compromised of nearly 400 commodities and exporting to 93 countries, making it one of the most productive agricultural centers in the country. Fresno is recognized as a global producer of almonds (with over 126, 000 acres), and a significant producer of grapes, poultry, cattle, and tomatoes. Half of the world’s raisin supply comes from the area.
INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Participants will get a taste of what makes this ecosystem so robust during a lunch and tour at California State University, Fresno (Fresno State). The campus features a 1,000-acre agricultural laboratory that provides students and staff hand on access to the nation’s most diverse agricultural areas, maintained by students, staff, and faculty. Participants will also meet with the Fresno Food Expo, providing a platform devoted to highlighting the area’s robust and innovative food community.
The tour will be lead in collaboration with International Center for Water Technology (ICWT) at Fresno State, which hosts numerous startup and entrepreneurship partnerships through their Water Energy Technology (WET) Incubator Center, Center for Irrigation Technology, and BlueTechValley Innovation Cluster. Water is a finite resource. Responsible management requires the inclusion of all stakeholders to determine appropriate long-term use and allocation. While the program targets opportunities and issues within the San Joaquin Valley region, solutions and experiences are applicable worldwide.
With its proximity to Silicon Valley, the Central Valley is one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the country as well. Fresno’s burgeoning tech sector includes efforts lead by Bitwise Industries, recognized as the mothership of technological education, collaboration and innovation in Fresno. Recent downtown additions in the tech sector include the Product Incubator (PI) Shop, an incubator space providing high-level product and business development assistance through non-profit partner Blue Dolphin Design and Engineering.
Featuring numerous startups operating in renovated historic buildings and a renowned coding school called Geekwise Academy, Bitwise Industries central Downtown Fresno location will be the next stop of the tour following Fresno State. Participants will get a chance to tour the facility and network with the local leaders spearheading the tech charge in Fresno.
The Central Valley, especially Fresno County, is at the epicenter of high-speed rail (HSR) in America. There are currently over 20 active construction sites with over 2000 construction workers building the nation’s first high-speed rail system. Fresno is also a candidate for the HSR heavy maintenance facility and continues to align local stakeholders to take full advantage of the economic opportunities presented by this significant project. Upon completion, the California High-Speed Rail system will connect San Francisco to Los Angeles allowing travel between the two cities in under three hours. The tour will feature an overview HSR’s significant impact to the region’s continued economic growth.
CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT
Participants will experience Fresno’s strong cultural ties to Latin America through festivities during the dinner reception at Arte Americas Latino Cultural Arts Center. Located downtown, the facility celebrates the San Joaquin Valley’s sizeable Hispanic population through art exhibitions and concerts. The Center will feature October festivities for Dia de Muertos (Spanish for “Day of the Dead”), a multi-day Mexican holiday known for colorful celebrations that include festivals and parades for loved ones who have passed on to help support their spiritual journey. The reception will showcase locally grown products from the agriculturally-centric area.