ROHNERT PARK -- Sonoma State University’s School of Business and Economics will soon add an “entrepreneur-in-residence” to its programs, a move funded by an $180,000 donation from Codding Enterprises and one that business Dean William Silver said would help create an “entrepreneurship pipeline” linking students, the North Bay Innovation Hub and the regional economy.
Dr. Silver announced the gift Friday during the institution’s SSU's annual Economic Outlook Conference, an event held in partnership with the Business Journal. The position will be known as the Hugh Codding Entrepreneur-in-Residence.
“We look forward to working with innovation partners and successful companies like TriVascular, the Buck Institute and regional R&D firms, and will foster innovation in niches unique to the North Bay like our organic foods cluster, wine, solar and water and medical technology,” Dr. Silver said.
The position will also champion the importance of entrepreneurship in a healthy North Bay economy, he said.
"Our support for entrepreneurship at Sonoma State is a logical match," said Brad Baker, president of Codding Enterprises. "At Codding, we’re interesting in building sustainable communities and we need young entrepreneurs with the skill and drive to launch the businesses that will make these communities thrive."
Hugh Codding, founder of the investment company that today focuses on sustainable projects and companies in addition to commercial real estate, achieved a number of notable investments in his time, including leveraging a $400 Navy discharge pay into a prominent development company. Mr. Codding, who died in 2010, is credited with the construction of Montgomery Village and Coddingtown Mall shopping centers, and also invested in savings and loans, title companies and a weekly newspaper.
“Hugh had a vision -- he built a successful company, and also our community,” said Connie Codding, president of the Codding Foundation and wife of the late businessman and community leader. "We’re pleased to create the Hugh Codding Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Sonoma State to grow the next generation of entrepreneurs who can have a positive impact in the region and beyond."