Sustaining Economic Vitality in the East Bay

By Stephen Baiter, Executive Director for The East Bay Economic Development Alliance (East Bay EDA)

Last fall, the East Bay Economic Development Alliance (East Bay EDA) brought together four local manufacturing CEOs to a conversation at Hacienda where they offered insights on the current and future state of the regions's manufacturing sector. The good news; manufacturing remains a vital source of innovation and economic competitiveness in the East Bay with significant contributions to research and development, exports and productivity growth. This outlook was highlighted in a special report we released on Manufacturing Day 2019, which outlines how the East Bay remains well positioned to contribute to be one of the nation's leading manufacturing regions, particularly as R&D functions increasingly converge with goods production.

At the same time, each of the CEOs admonished that to sustain our region's competitive advantage, it is important to not take these conditions for granted. Business, education, government, and other organizations must work together even more closely to ensure that the assets and conditions that helped to create a diverse and successful manufacturing sector - not to mention the many other industry sectors that drive our regional economy, including healthcare, information technology, and others - remain in place for years to come.

As East Bay EDA has noted regularly in our reporting, the primary industry clusters driving our region have been growing over the last several years and continue to exhibit a lot of near-term strength. Biotech, construction, healthcare, life sciences, information technology, manufacturing, and other key sectors are at the core of a powerful regional economic engine that has produced strong levels of employment in the region. Measures that we routinely watch, which include everything from job creation to tax generation to trade activity, indicate that our region's assets continue to generate many benefits for East Bay communities and their residents.

Building upon the capacity and value of these assets is at the core of East Bay EDA's work to support regional economic development throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties. By convening diverse, cross-sector networks of senior leaders from businesses, local government, and the broader community. East Bay EDA helps to align efforts to promote and support the region's economic vitality and quality of life.

The East Bay is home to an abundant number of leading-edge companies, with breakthrough research and technologies in artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology, driverless vehicles, synthetic materials, clean technology, quantum computing and more. Recognizing this, East Bay EDA launched the East Bay Innovation Awards seven years ago to celebrate and highlight companies and organizations that contribute to the East Bays' culture of innovation; a few of the more notable winners include Penumbra (2013), Tesla (2013), and Impossible Foods (2018), though there are many other less well-known names also doing incredible things. Meanwhile, just as the East Bay region continues to change and evolve, we have made some important additions and changes to our 2020 event. In recognition of the incredible diversity and talent that we are fortunate to have in our region, we have added awards categories for Arts & Culture and Community Impact. We have also revamped prior award categories to highlight standout companies working on built environment and sustainability, a nod to continuous innovation that is happening in our region around design, engineering, and lifestyle trends.

We hope that you can join us as we celebrate some of our region's greatest business and organizational success stories at our 8th Annual East Bay Innovation Awards, which will take place on Thursday, March 26, 2020 at the historic Fox Theater in Oakland. Likewise, as the East Bay is the epicenter of so many disruptive innovations, we invite you to join in our work at East Bay EDA to apply the same ingenuity to solving some of our regional challenges to help shape our region in the coming decade.

For more information about East Bay EDA, please visit www.eastbayeda.org .

To review East Bay EDA's report on manufacturing, please visit eastbayeda.org/ebeda-assets/reports/2019/East Bay Manufacturing Final v2.pdf .

For information on the 8th Annual East Bay Innovation Awards, please visit iawards.eastbayeda.org/ .

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