Continuing its path toward future innovations in Irvine, the city has recently announced the launch of Orange County’s first Innovation Council. With 18 representatives, Irvine’s Innovation Council has sought relationships with Google, CerraCap Ventures, UCI Beall Applied Innovation, FivePoint and several other Irvine-based companies leading innovations.

On Wednesday, Dec. 8, the Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan was joined in the Irvine City Hall Council Chambers to announce the launch of the city’s Innovation Council, which aims to solidify the city’s tenure as a hub for the creation and development of cutting-edge technology in Orange County.

“As the city of Irvine celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and we look ahead to the future, there is no doubt that our next chapter will be defined by our growing prominence in technology and innovation,” Khan said. “I am excited to announce I have established an Innovation Council made up of representatives from business, education, and government that will identify actions we can take to ensure Irvine is positioned to be a regional hub of innovation and technology.”

Khan called it a legacy project that will serve as an incubator to attract scalable technology businesses and aid in the development of new technologies locally.

“The goal is to create a collaborative action plan to not only help attract, retain and support scalable sustainable and high-growth technology businesses in our city,” she said. “But also foster a pipeline of creativity and innovation from our young talent.”

Abhi Mukherjee, Operating Partner with CerraCap Ventures, an Irvine-based venture capital firm, which invests in health care, cyber security and AI solutions for large organizations globally, said it’s important to focus on bringing start-ups and “disruptive technologies,” and hopes the Innovation Council will be a conduit for those goals.

“Irvine embodies innovation and this Innovation Council has all the necessary partners and ingredients – with CerraCap Ventures bringing the start-ups,” Mukherjee said. “Now we just need the right recipe to bring forward the best technologies and innovation to the city we love, Irvine.”

Errol Arkilic, Executive Director and Chief Innovation Officer at UCI Beall Applied Innovation, spoke during Wednesday’s press conference about this public-private opportunity. As part of his role at UCI Beall Applied Innovation, Arkilic added that his goal is to facilitate that opportunity into action.

“My job is to facilitate and transfer that knowledge through the creation of startups and through commercialization, research and licensing,” Arkilic said. “We do that through a number of mechanisms, but primarily by bringing resources, market opportunity talent and knowledge to the table.”

As an R1 research institute, UC Irvine serves as a cornerstone of knowledge and innovation within the community, and Arkilic hopes to harness that creativity even more.

“Knowledge creation is at the core of our experience. Increasingly that core research and commercialization activity becomes one,” Arkilic said. “Dissemination of knowledge into products and services is critical to innovation, and what this council will help ensure.”