Young entrepreneurs from India to train in Menlo Park


Mayor Catherine Carlton may be on track to set a record for international miles traveled as a Menlo Park City Council member. She recently returned from a trip that took her to Dubai and later, Kochi, India.

For those tracking council expenditures, Ms. Carlton is covering most of the costs herself, with assistance of $2,000 approved by the council for her trip to Kochi, where she signed a sister city agreement.

What is Menlo Park getting in return, apart from a higher international profile as a base for innovation? An economic exchange program: The city will host 100 young entrepreneurs and students during the next year "to train at BootUp Ventures and stay in our hotels and eat in our restaurants," she said.

BootUp Ventures, based at 68 Willow Road in Menlo Park, specializes in new business development. The company runs programs that teach people how to do business in North America, what levels of venture capital to target, and differences in contract law -- basically, "this is how you do your business in America," Ms. Carlton said. "On so many levels it works; it's really exciting."

Joined in Kochi by Councilman Ray Mueller, who heard the original pitch for the economic exchange program while he was mayor last year, she visited "a world-class art festival, orphanages, private schools, universities," she said.

Representatives from the Indian government talked about technology in the classroom. "They were really excited about that" and were "interested in sending more people over to see who they could hire in Silicon Valley to support them on that level," she said.

The first group to train at BootUp Ventures will arrive this spring.

"We are delighted to welcome them, and are proud to have a Menlo Park company working to support entrepreneurs from here and around the world," Ms. Carlton said.

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