Back in May, an impressive cohort of nine creative doers and thinkers came together in Long beach and after months of research and planning, they now have five on it. Five new initiatives to spur local economic development that is.
Brought together by a Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative, the Long Beach Innovation Team is meant to foster a nimble and inventive culture in City Hall that is more synonymous with private start-ups than public bureaucracy. Their goal is to ‘disrupt’ typical urban city planning by better ‘leveraging’ public resources to ‘pivot’ the City in a way that they feel will create ‘synergy’ and spur local economic development. If you’re rolling your eyes at all the clichés in the last sentence-well, the plan presented to City Council this past week is full of this type of ‘techie’ jargon. Think public library ‘hackathons’ for middle schools students and neighborhood bootsraping. The I-team’s 5 initiatives for Long Beach are:
1. The Economic Development Blueprint
A citywide strategy for economic growth.
2. StartupLB Tools For business
An online service for the City’s Economic and Property Development Department to provide a ‘one stop portal’ for entrepreneurs to complete all the necessary steps to get their business up and running within the City.
3. High Tech Infrastructure Plan
Expand high-tech infrastructure and work with the City’s Technology and Innovation Department to see how high speed internet can be provided throughout the City
4. Branding for Business
Work with existing and new local businesses to improve marketing and outreach.
5. The Long Beach Center For innovation
Rapid ideation for new products and services by bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and city officials in a Center for Innovation.
With these 5 ambitious initiatives, the I-team hopes to make Long Beach a better place for existing locals while also attracting area professionals working in the creative and tech fields. But more specifically, they would like to grow industries that already exist here in Long Beach, like healthcare, goods movement and aerospace manufacturing. As Mayor Robert Garcia put it, “We’re being told over and over again, there’s a need for an aggregator.”
Let’s hope the group’s burn rate on the $3 million Bloomberg grant and $1 million City match will give them enough time to see these goals actualized.
[Photo Courtesy Robert Garcia’s office]