Economic Development

August 21, 2013

Governor’s GO-Biz Office starts promoting economic initative

Governor Brown will apparently be taking his economic development plan on the road. According to to a report in the Sacramento Business Journal, representatives of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, known as GO-Biz. will be on hand to describe their economic initiatives at an event sponsored by several Sacramento Business Associations:

“We’re excited to talk about these updates for economic development in the state,” GO-Biz director Kish Rajan said. “As we’ve seen lately, the Golden State’s economy has been coming back strong over the past year. But with (the governor’s initiative) we now have new, dynamic tools to increase that momentum and put our foot on the accelerator for economic development in California.”

A few months ago, Govornor Brown signed legislation that eliminated the state of California’s enterprise zone program and replaced it with new economic stimulus tools. Those programs include a manufacturing sales tax waiver, a hiring tax credit and recruitment incentives. The full plan can be found at this link.

As described on their website: “The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) serves as California’s single point of contact for economic development and job creation efforts. GO-Biz offers a range of services to business owners including: attraction, retention and expansion services, site selection, permit streamlining, clearing of regulatory hurdles, small business assistance, international trade development, assistance with state government” To learn more about this office visit:

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August 5, 2013

California Centers for International Trade Development receive Presidential Award

The White House has given an award to the California Centers for International Trade Development (CITD) in recognition of their contributions to the increase of U.S. exports.

The Presidential “E” Award was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, to recognize persons, firms, or organizations that contribute significantly to increasing United States exports. The Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration manages this award program and has recognized more than 2,500 firms since it began. The award was presented n Washington, D.C. to California Community Colleges Board of Governors member Dr. Debbie Malumed and Jeff Williamson, CITD’s statewide director.

There are nine Centers for International Trade Development across the state. The centers are supported by grants through the Chancellor’s Office’s Workforce and Economic Development division. Programs are in place that provide industry-specific education, training and services contribute to workforce development.

“It is programs such as the CITD that are strengthening the economies of local communities, creating jobs, and contributing to the worldwide demand for ‘Made in the USA’ goods and services.” said U.S. Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank on conferring the award.

For more information on CITD programs please visit their website.

Filed under Economic Development, International Development by

July 26, 2013

California might benefit from White House Manufacturing Initiative

The Obama Administration has launched a new program called rogram the “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” (IMCP) and recently held their first and only meeting in California. This roundtable event in Woodland was sponsored by the White House and the USDA and attracted about 125 people.

As part of a national manufacturing strategy. 25 communities around the country will be awarded $200,000 each to create an implementation strategy for this program. In addition, a half dozen or so communities will be awarded up to $25 million each next year from the U.S. Commerce Department for manufacturing strategies that are ready to be implemented.

According to a report by the California Economic Summit, a public-private partnership group called Innovate North State proposed concentrating on five industries: agriculture, cleantech, health, web and information technology as well as manufacturing. They have identified 100 manufacturing companies in the northern part of the state, and are planning to submit a proposal to the IMCP.

Filed under Economic Development, Manufacturing, U.S. Government by

October 22, 2012

China investment in California predicted to soar

China’s direct foreign investment in developing economies is on the increase, and California could be uniquely situated to benefit from this, according to a report by Rhodium Group, a New York based economic think tank.

Already, about $1.3 billion of Chinese money has flowed into the California from 2000 to 2011, and this amount to increase to between $10 billion and $60 billion by the year 2020. “Just as Chinese exports exploded in the last decade—from $250 billion in 2000 to nearly $2 trillion by 2011—China’s OFDI is poised to skyrocket in the years ahead”, according to the report.

It went on to conclude. “California, with its long history with China, the most sizable Chinese American population in the country, and more inward investment deals from China than any other state, is in a position to lead the nation in attracting Chinese investment in the decade to come”. The full report can be downloaded from a link on this page:

Filed under California Economy, China, Economic Development by

September 25, 2012

California Plans to Reopen International Trade Offices

Governor Brown signed legislation in September that will open some international trade offices for the State. The legislation authorizes the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development — also called GO-Biz — to work with nonprofit organizations to operate these offices, using state funds or private donations, according to a report in the San Francisco Daily Times. GO-Biz will partner with the Bay Area Council and hope raise a million dollars by the end of the year for this purpose. It is probably that a trade office in Mexico will be the next priority of this program.

At one time, California had twelve offices in various parts of the world but these were shut down in 2003 for numerous reasons: questions about their effectiveness, mismanagment and political corruption, questions, a scandle involving fabricated “success stories”, and the budget crises of the time.

Govern Brown had previously announced his intention to reopen ab outpost in Shanghai to promote trade and commerce with California. “The office will encourage direct investment and further strengthen existing ties between the world’s second and ninth-largest economies,” Brown said in statement before meeting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in Los Angeles in February.

Filed under Economic Development, Foreign Relations by

March 12, 2008

Bridges to Italy economic development group launched

Bridges to Italy has launched as a first-of-its-kind economic development organization focused on helping Southern California entrepreneurs, researchers and investors pursue new business opportunities with their colleagues in Italy and throughout the world. The nonprofit organization will foster cooperation and collaboration through an ongoing series of networking events that highlight Italy’s emerging technology sectors. The first such event was held February 25th at UC Irvine, and introduced business leaders from Southern California and throughout the US to some of Italy’s most renowned biotechnology pioneers. “The goal of Bridges to Italy is to help business and research leaders in Southern California connect one-on-one with their foreign colleagues to build successful new ventures in the technology sector,” said Bridges to Italy founder Bianca Dellepiane. “Information and personal relationships are the building blocks of international business collaboration.”

Bridges to Italy events present information about business, research and investment opportunities in a format that transcends language and cultural barriers. The organization’s approach to international business introduces Italian and US participants to each other’s unique cultural, as well as business, resources and opportunities. This in turn helps its events attract a uniquely multicultural and multidisciplinary crowd. “We want to make learning about international business opportunities an approachable and even fun endeavor,” Dellepiane explains. More information about Bridges to Italy can be found at

Filed under Business Associations, Economic Development, Italy by

October 16, 2007

CalPERS claims $114 million boost to Central Valley economy

Investments by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System generated $114 million in economic activity in the Central Valley last year, according to a research report by funded by CalPERS. The report says CalPERS created more than 900 jobs in in 2006 in the Great Valley region – the area between Kern County on the south and San Joaquin County on the north. The investments returned state and local tax revenues of nearly $7 million and generated employee compensation of more than $27 million. The report was written by the Applied Research Center of California State University, Sacramento. CalPERS is the nation’s largest public pension fund with more than $250 billion in assets. It administers retirement and health benefit plans of 1.5 million active and retired California public employees and their families.

Filed under California Government, Central Valley, Economic Development by

Progressive Economic Think Tank To Launch in Los Angeles

The founding conference for the Horizon Institute, a new progressive economic think tank, will take place tomorrow in Los Angeles. Featured speakers at the event include Jared Bernstein (Economic Policy Institute), John Podesta (Center for American Progress), Maria Elena Durazo (Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO), Professor Manuel Pastor (USC), Harold Meyerson (Washington Post, The American Prospect), Madeline Janis (L.A. Alliance for a New Economy), Professor Peter Dreier (Occidental College), Joan Ling (Community Corporation of Santa Monica), John Canham-Clyne (Change to Win) and Rev. William Smart (L.A. Alliance for a New Economy). The founding conference is open to the public and will take place Tuesday October 16, 2007 at the Cathedral Conference Center in Los Angeles.

Filed under California Politics, Economic Development by

September 20, 2007

Overseas flights add 82 billion to Southern California economy

Overseas international flights at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) make a substantial contribution to the economy of Southern California, adding $82.1 billion in total economic output, according to a study by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) and other organizations. he LAEDC study revealed that the LAX flights created 363,700 direct and indirect jobs with annual wages of $19.3 billion in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura Counties in 2006. Over the course of 2006, an average transoceanic flight traveling round-trip from LAX every day added $623 million in economic output and sustained 3,120 direct and indirect jobs in Southern California with $156 million in wages. The economic output, jobs, and wages were calculated from the production and transportation of freight exports (carried in the belly of the plane), the transportation of freight imports, the operation of the airport itself, and the purchases made by international visitors on the flights. Freight exports (which are generally high-value items) accounted for over 80% of the annual economic activity generated by international flights at LAX.

Filed under Aerospace and Aviation, California Economy, Economic Development by

May 10, 2007

Fresno recognized for Economic Development Programs

“ and Municipal Restoration Zone programs, created by the City Economic Development Department, received statewide recognition from the California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED) on May 2, 2007. The two programs were created to help improve the economic outlook for the City of Fresno. is an informational based web site that serves the business community. The site was created as a one-stop-shop for individuals interested in starting a new business in the City of Fresno. The Municipal Restoration Zone (MRZ) is an initiative of Mayor Autry’s created in January of 2006 to help end the tale of two cities by providing significant fee and tax incentives, in addition to the initiatives already in place as part of the Federal Empowerment Zone and State Enterprise Zone, to businesses located within the City’s urban core.”

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May 2, 2007

LAEDC releases International Trade Report

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. has released its annual International Trade Trends and Impacts report. As is usual for this otherwise reputable organization, they have lumped all imports and exports onto one category with frequent references to what that they call “the total value of two-way international trade”. It isn’t until the discussion of individual trade partners is there any mention at all about the huge trade deficits with these countries, and we can only assume that Los Angeles Ports must be shipping a huge number of empty shipping containers back to Asia. With China, for example, there is a regional trade deficit of 83 billion dollars- a nearly 5 to 1 import to export ratio with Southern California. In spite of this, the LAEDC did not even mention the stunning difference between imports and exports in their list of “challenges” facing the industry.

Filed under California Ports, Economic Development, Opinion by

April 24, 2007

Growth amid Gloom: California’s Central Valley

Excerpt from L.A. Times article about the Central Valley City of Delano and its manager Abdel Salem, an Egyptian native who arrived in Delano about four years ago from El Centro where he had been city manager for more than two decades:

This city of 49,000 now has no fewer than 35 major building projects in the pipeline, including a giant shopping center. Hundreds of homes are being added each year as families spill over from the coast in search of affordable housing. “We know the people are coming,” Salem says. “The Central Valley is the last frontier.”

Despite the bustle, however, Delano is down at the heel. Its unemployment rate stands at around 20%, far higher than the county’s overall mark of 6.9%. The median per-capita income in the city is about $11,000 — just a shade above the federal poverty line. Since 2000, annual population increases have outstripped the creation of jobs (2.8% on average compared with 1.7%). Tumbledown shacks dot the outskirts of town.

What’s abundantly clear is that an influx of residents “isn’t necessarily a key to prosperity,” says Carol Whiteside, president of the Great Valley Center, a Modesto-based group trying to promote the region’s well-being.

Meanwhile, the pathologies that tend to go hand in hand with privation have descended upon Delano. Among them is gang violence. When I got my hair trimmed the other day at Firme’s Barber Shop, just off Main Street, the buzz was about how students were recently put on alert and shooed straight home from school. The reason: Police feared that Los Angeles gang members might make the two-hour drive to Delano and start shooting in retaliation for a MySpace posting they deemed offensive.

This juxtaposition — growth amid gloom — points up the enormous opportunities and challenges facing not only Delano but also much of inland California. Extending from Riverside to Redding, the area “is perhaps the greatest untapped outlet for upward mobility in the Golden State,” declared a report last month from the Brookings Institution. If our leaders are smart about how they plan and invest, this vast stretch can be a place that provides decent jobs, a strong sense of community and a shot at homeownership.

But if they goof up, the cost will be high. How this part of California fares, the Brookings study noted, “may determine whether the state remains competitive and a beacon of opportunity in the early decades of the 21st century.” Complicating matters is that these 75,000 square miles are far from homogenous. The rural reaches of the Central Valley, in particular, trail far behind the Inland Empire and the Sacramento suburbs in their economic vitality.

Filed under Central Valley, Economic Development, Egypt by

April 20, 2007

Lt. Governor Garamendi stresses importance of skilled work-force

“California must find ways to produce more skilled workers from its schools system or face an erosion of its economy, a state-organized panel was told here Wednesday. ‘The economy in our state will falter unless we make this investment,’ Lt. Gov. John Garamendi said in an interview… Garamendi had gathered a group of business, education and government leaders at the California State University, East Bay campus to discuss ways to prepare young people to find jobs in California’s knowledge-based economy. The common theme: Not nearly enough money and resources have been deployed to bolster the ability of universities, community colleges and high schools to train people to join the work forces of the future. ‘There is a need for more tax revenues,’ Garamendi said. At the same time, though, colleges and high schools must become more efficient at delivering effective education services and training to students, Garamendi said. He called for a complete revamp of the state’s creaky education laws. ‘Schools have to respond more nimbly to the needs of businesses,’ Garamendi said. Those who gathered at the event at the university’s Valley Business & Technology school pointed to a drastic shortage of job candidates. Some employment seekers struggle to pass sixth-grade math and reading tests given by companies such as the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. auto assembly plant in Fremont.”

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April 13, 2007

City of San Jose launches venture capital fund

“Can venture capitalists spark an entire city? San Jose is about to find out. In December the city launched a $3 million venture capital fund to invest in local businesses. The fund will be managed by Pacific Community Ventures, the investment arm of a nonprofit aimed at helping low-income California communities, and will target businesses with annual revenues of $3 million to about $15 million. The idea, according to Jeff Ruster, deputy director of San Jose’s Office of Economic Development, is to create jobs and enhance the city’s tax base, and make money in the bargain. ‘This isn’t just about making a 16 to 20 percent profit, but also a social return on investment,’ he says. PCV will put up $5.70 – culled from its own funds and from other investors – for every dollar that San Jose invests. The city’s fund will make ten to 12 investments of as much as $500,000 each, says Eduardo Rallo, PCV’s managing director. At presstime, San Jose was about to make its first investment.”

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March 28, 2007

Long Beach earns recognition for effort to save C-17

“The City of Long Beach Red Team, established to fight off federal budget threats to the Long Beach-built Boeing C-17, was recognized by Trade & Industry Development magazine for its efforts to retain thousands of jobs and generate economic growth associated with the military cargo plane. ‘What the Red Team did was tell the C-17 story, that this aircraft is a national asset,’ Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster said in a statement. ‘But our efforts haven’t stopped; I can tell you that every member of the Red Team remains dedicated to keeping this vital program alive.’ Trade & Industry Development, a national publication specializing in corporate growth strategies, honored the city of Long Beach with the 2007 Award for Community Impact for the way it worked with Boeing executives and representatives from local, regional and state agencies, utilities and business leaders to retain the C-17 program.”

Filed under Aerospace and Aviation, Economic Development by

March 27, 2007

Upstate California Economic Agency Council launches new jobs strategy

“Greg O’Sullivan, president of the Upstate California Economic Development Council, said UCEDC will launch a new strategy to create jobs in the renewable energy industry cluster. “Our economy is changing in terms of growth opportunities” said O’Sullivan. “We need to create a collaborative advantage to expand existing companies and attract new firms to the region.” The 20-county Upstate region is home to the majority of cogeneration facilities and small hydro electric generators. O’Sullivan said the region could become a “hot spot” for solar energy companies in research and development, new technology, manufacturing, and sales.”

Filed under Economic Development, Energy Industry by

February 27, 2007

Schwarzenegger administration taking heat for loss of Tesla Moters

Several editorials have appeared around the State criticizing the Schwarzenegger administration for the loss of the Tesla electric sports car company. This is from the San Francisco Chronicle:

PayPal, eBay and Tesla Motors are all Bay Area success stories. Tesla was seriously weighing the possibility of establishing its first factory close at hand in Pittsburg, along the East Bay manufacturing belt. Instead, construction on the $35 million, 150,000-square-foot plant will begin this April in Albuquerque, N.M. The 400 new jobs will pay between $24,000 and $100,000 a year, plus full benefits and stock options… Putting it bluntly, this state should have done better. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger actually test-drove a Tesla last November and told the Los Angeles Auto Show, ‘It was hot.’ And why doesn’t the Bay Area have its own regional lobbying office to push Sacramento into being more competitive about retaining companies already here and looking to expand? Meanwhile, at least the 160-employee Tesla headquarters is remaining in San Carlos, where its main function apparently will be to add more venture capital to the $60 million that has already come from Silicon Valley — funding that will now mostly be spent out-of-state.

Filed under Economic Development, Governor Schwarzenegger by

February 26, 2007

California becoming dangerously stratified

Excerpted from “Golden State may be blinded by its luster” a disturbing opt-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle by Joel Kotkin- an Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation:

For much of the past century, California has often seen itself — and been seen by others — as America’s avant-garde state… Recently, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger compared California to “the ancient city-states of Rome and Sparta,” praising it as “the harmonious, the prosperous state, the cutting-edge state.” Perhaps it’s time to ditch the celebratory rhetoric and take a closer look at the sober realities. Our magnificent state may still be the home to Silicon Valley, Hollywood, the nation’s largest port complex and the world’s richest agricultural valleys, but by many critical measurements the state is slipping.

The most obvious signs are economic. Although far from moribund, the state may not be as fundamentally strong as its boosters, including the governor, suggest. The state rate of GDP growth over the past decade has been strong, ranking fourth in the nation, but California has been losing ground in the new millennium. In 2004-05, it fell to 17th, behind not only fast-growing Arizona and Nevada but also Oregon, Washington and rival “nation-state” Texas.

Job creation has been even less impressive. In the Bay Area and Los Angeles, it can only be considered mediocre or worse. More disturbing, as California’s population has grown — largely from immigration — per-capita income growth has weakened… Today, California ranks 12th in per-capita income. And it’s losing ground: Between 1999 and 2004, California’s per-capita income growth ranked a miserable 40th among the states. This slow growth reflects a gradually widening chasm between social classes. Although the rest of the country has also experienced this trend, the gap between rich and poor has expanded more rapidly in California than in the rest of the country.

Similarly, the governor’s entertainment industry friends, as well as art and developer elites close to Mayors Antonio Villaraigosa and Gavin Newsom, may feel these are the best of times. But Los Angeles and San Francisco, along with Monterey, now suffer a poverty rate of more than 20 percent, among the highest level in the country.

Parallel to these developments, California is losing its once broad middle class, the traditional source of its political ballast and much of its entrepreneurial genius. Outmigration from the state is growing and, contrary to the notions of some sophisticates, it’s not just the rubes and roughhouses who are leaving. Indeed, an analysis of the most recent migration numbers shows a disturbing trend: an increasing out-migration of educated people from California’s largest metropolitan areas.

Given the shrinking per-capita income advantage for being in California, moving elsewhere increasingly makes sense, particularly for those who do not already own homes and don’t have wealthy parents…

Taken together, these trends suggest that California could be devolving toward an unappealing model of class stratification. As educated white-collar and skilled blue-collar workers leave, businesses in the state will be forced to truncate their operations — perhaps having an elite research lab, design office or marketing arm in California but shunting most midlevel jobs elsewhere.

Remarkably, neither political party seems to have a clue about any of this. David Crane, Schwarzenegger’s economic adviser, seems to think the state can make do by concentrating on the highest value-added work. He seems untroubled that more mundane jobs go elsewhere. That may make sense if you are a venture capitalist, dot-com wiz or movie producer, but it’s not so great if you are an electronics technician, customer support employee or movie grip.

To regain its promise, California needs to stop stroking itself and reverse course. A state that’s great for a relative handful of moguls — no matter how enlightened — and their servants cannot serve as the national model for anything but decadence and decline.

Filed under California Economy, California Politics, Economic Development by

February 21, 2007

New Secretary named for Business, Transportation and Housing Agency

Governor Schwarzenegger has named Dale Bonner as the new secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency (BT&H). He replaces Sunne Wright McPeak, who resigned last year. Mr. Bonner, 41, of Los Angeles, has been a partner in the law firm Epstein Becker & Green since 2002, where he specialized in government contracts, health care law and represents domestic and foreign firms in state and local government procurement issues. Prior to going into private practice in 1999, he served as commissioner for the California Department of Corporations from 1998 to 1999 and deputy secretary and general counsel for BT&H from 1996 to 1998.

BT&H is a huge bureaucracy consisting of 13 departments with more than 42,000 employees and a budget greater than $11 billion. Its operations oversee financial services, transportation, affordable housing, real estate, managed health care and public safety. When the State Legislature abolished the California Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency, Governor Schwarzenegger added “Business” to the Transportation and Housing agency name and then consolidated most remaining business and economic programs in that Agency. Mr. Bonner has his work cut out for him. BT&H is responsible for rebuilding the State’s infrastructure using $37 billion in bonds voters approved last November, implementing the new greenhouse gas reduction law, and fixing the California’s dysfunctional economic development programs.

Filed under California Government, Economic Development by

February 18, 2007

Idaho using in-region recruiter to grab California jobs

Has Idaho planted a mole in Southern California to steal our jobs and businesses? That’s what the San Fernando Valley Business Journal thinks: “Bob Potter is out there right now in the Valley stealing our businesses. Potter, a man who has a second home in La Canada Flintridge, is director of the Inland Northwest Economic Alliance. What’s that obscure little agency, you ask? Well it’s a small organization that is the economic development agency in of all places northwest Idaho and southeast Washington. And it’s cleaning our clock more or less in recruiting businesses from the Valley.”

Filed under Economic Development by

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