When he stepped into the governor’s office for the second time in 2010, California Governor Jerry Brown faced a huge dilemma. The state had amassed hundreds of billions in debt, schools were failing, and the state’s economic incentives to attract outside businesses — many of them multinational corporations — seemed to focus on two places: Silicon Valley and Southern California, particularly south of Los Angeles.
In 2012, Gov. Brown created a focal point to change that: the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, known as GO-Biz. It has become the single point of contact for economic development and job creation efforts in a state that now leads the nation in fastest growing companies: 670 members of the Inc. 5000 are based in the Golden State. Along with that, in 2014, Gov. Brown established the California Competes Tax Credit.
“Everyday, California companies deliver groundbreaking technological advances — from the Internet of Things to artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and nanotechnology,” said Panorea Avdis, GO-Biz Director and Chair of the California Competes Tax Credit Committee. “Everyday, people use technology that was developed in California.”
A Recipe for an Explosion in Tech and Manufacturing Zones
Thanks to services like attraction, retention and expansion, clearing of regulatory hurdles, small business assistance, international trade development, permit streamlining, and more, GO-Biz has been instrumental in California’s explosion of tech and manufacturing zones this decade. How instrumental? Since 2014, through California Competes Tax Credit, GO-Biz has allocated nearly $700 million to 928 companies, which has led (or is leading) to the creation of nearly 90,000 jobs and $16.2 billion in new investments.
Investing $700 million to draw in $16.2 billion in new investment? “The California Competes Tax Credit we were just awarded gives us the ability to invest back into the company by hiring staff, buying equipment, and offering additional services to our customers,” said Mina Doshi, president of INTA Technologies, reflecting the prevalent view of beneficiaries.
“In the last four years, hundreds of companies have made commitments to expand in the state and GO-Biz will continue to host informational workshops and work with our regional and local partners to ensure companies of all sizes know about and apply for these tax credits,” added Avdis.
GO-Biz works with organizations and programs of all sizes, in a wide variety of ways, reflecting the diversity of the state’s tech and manufacturing base. Programs range from the California Film Commission, California Travel and Tourism, and the California Made labeling program, to Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Small Business Assistance, and International Affairs and Business Development.
A Snapshot of California’s Business Climate
A quick snapshot of recent activity illustrates how it is touting California’s affluence, resources, leading-edge tech savvy, and forward-thinking business climate and workforce:
- GO-Biz is sponsoring the 2018 California Cyber Innovation Challenge June 22-25 at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. The event matches twenty teams of high school students, following a cybersecurity workforce development conference. “This program will help students across California gain new technical skills to spur new innovation and strengthen cybersecurity,” Avdis said.
- In February, GO-Biz hosted its first Innovation Day, bringing together key stakeholders from iHub, the state’s Innovation Hub Network. The thirty stakeholders discussed cybersecurity, defense, economic development, startup support, and workforce development. In conjunction with the event, and in lieu of rampant corporate and consumer hacking, GO-Biz launched a California Cybersecurity Labor Market Survey.
- In January, Gov. Brown issued an executive order directing GO-Biz to assist local and regional governments to increase zero-emission vehicles and fund new climate investments, such as plug-in station, greenhouse gas reduction, and climate resiliency projects. This comes after zero-emission vehicle use increased by 1,300 percent in the state between 2011 and 2016. This $2.5 billion investment plan reinforces California’s station as the leading environmental voice and economic driver, in the wake of the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and sharp rollbacks of environmental standards, some in place since 1970.