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Office of Economic Development
Office of Economic Development

Updates: Office of Economic Development

 Berkeley Startup Cluster Advisors confirm new mission and workplan  

 Berkeley City Council Moves to Adopt a Parklets Ordinance   

 Modifications to Zoning Ordinances to Support Small Businesses   

 Berkeley Emeryville BIO draws East Bay bioscience professionals to Berkeley’s downtown    

 STEM Career Awareness Day raises high school students’ awareness of local STEM career opportunities  

 WEB Salon at BHS 


Berkeley Startup Cluster Advisors confirm new mission & workplan 

BSC Advisory Group Meeting - May 7 
  (Photo: Courtesy of City of Berkeley, Office of Economic Development)

On May 7, the Berkeley Startup Cluster (BSC) Advisory Group convened at SkyDeck to provide feedback on the Berkeley Startup Cluster’s updated mission, vision, objectives and workplan. BSC Advisors, including 50 local startup founders, accelerator leaders, venture capitalists, real estate specialists and other innovation ecosystem experts, expressed robust support for the BSC mission to “make Berkeley a more vibrant, accessible and equitable place for startups to launch and grow.”

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin thanked fellow Advisory Group members for their leadership to build an ecosystem that supports innovation and economic vitality and BSC Advisors provided a range of suggestions for “action items” that will help the BSC Steering Committee to achieve seven objectives including:

  • Provide local innovators with information about resources and opportunities.   
  • Improve the number and quality of events & networks for Berkeley entrepreneurs.
  • Improve Berkeley’s image as a place for startups.            
  • Develop local infrastructure to meet the needs of the innovation sector.             
  • Increase high quality commercial real estate & wet lab space.               
  • Align city policy to support local innovation and startup growth.
  • Increase the diversity of participants in the innovation sector.

The BSC is a collaborative effort of the City of Berkeley’s Office of Economic Development, the Downtown Berkeley Association, the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley, which is represented on the BSC Steering Committee by IPIRACITRIS FoundrySkyDeck and Local Government and Community Relations.

The group will reconvene in late 2018 to discuss progress made toward these objectives and map out key areas for future investment.

Berkeley City Council Moves to Adopt a Parklets Ordinance 

In May 2018 City Council adopted the Parklets Ordinance (BMC Section 16.18.010), making the 2013 pilot Parklet program permanent.  A parklet dedicates space in the right of way for public use including seating, landscaping, and bike racks. Currently the City has six constructed Parklets as shown below:

Existing Berkeley Parklets

Read the full report here. 

Modifications to Zoning Ordinances to Support Small Businesses 

OED and Planning staff have been working jointly to identify modifications to the zoning ordinance that will improve conditions for small businesses, without compromising on neighborhood impacts. On May 15, Berkeley City Council directed the Planning Commission to consider six modifications to the zoning ordinance to support small businesses and prioritize desired uses. The specific modifications to the zoning ordinance are designed to make the zoning review process for small businesses easier, clearer, and more streamlined. In summer 2018, staff will present the Planning Commission with information and case studies regarding each proposed change, as well as updated use tables and formulated ordinance language. After the Commission hearings, the revised ordinance language will be presented to City Council for their review and approval.

Zoning Map

 Berkeley Emeryville BIO draws East Bay bioscience professionals to Berkeley’s downtown 

On May 1, 35 industry leaders representing Caribou Biosciences, the Berkeley Lab, Alveo Technologies, Chrono Therapeutics, Biocom, Wareham Development, the East Bay Bioscience Network, and other local East Bay bioscience companies gathered Berkeley-Emeryville BIO Bioscience Theatre Night Out

Over dinner prepared at Downtown Berkeley's Tender Greens by acclaimed chef Sean Eastwood, Downtown Berkeley Association Director John Caner encouraged the crowd to explore Berkeley’s many innovative dining establishments and cultural amenities. The group then walked the short distance to Downtown Berkeley's Aurora Theatre to see A Number, a stimulating drama about human cloning, a topic of relevance to industry professionals.  

John Storella, representing Storella & Witt, LLP, which conducts Intellectual Property Law for Innovators in Biotech and Cleantech subsequently expressed his excitement about the event: “I’m glad to see a growing biotech presence in Berkeley-Emeryville and grateful you’re bringing people in the area together to develop a sense of community.”  

Stay tuned for future events from Berkeley Emeryville BIO and the Berkeley Startup Cluster.

Bioscience Theater Night Out 
STEM Career Awareness Day raises high school students’ awareness of local STEM career opportunities 
On April 26, the City of Berkeley participated in the annual STEM Career Awareness Day organized by Cal State East Bay’s Institute for STEM Education. A collaboration of the Institute, Wareham Development, Bayer, the economic development offices of the cities of Berkeley and Emeryville, East Bay civic organizations, and many companies employing a STEM workforce, the event was designed to inspire under-served high school students to pursue science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) majors at community and four-year colleges.
After breakfast and opening remarks by City of Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, approximately 200 high school students from Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, and Richmond visited 15 work sites in West Berkeley, at (or in close proximity to) the Wareham Development Aquatic park campus, which is a Berkeley hub of scientific research, biotechnology, media and innovation sector companies. Participating companies included: Bayer, 2 Plus 2 Partners, ACME Bread Co., Aduro Biotech, AVID, Berkeley Mills, Biomedical Manufacturing Network, Bolt Threads, California Coastal Commission, California Department of Toxic Substances, Caltrans, Caribou Biosciences, Community Energy Services Co., Dynavax, EESA, Fantasy Studios, JBEI, Kala Art Studio, Kava Massih Architects, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Meyer Sound, Osteolyse Inc., Perfect Foods, Rising Sun Energy, UC Berkeley School of Public Health, UCSF-SEP, WLC Architects.
 Mayor and STEM
(Photo: Courtesy of Marco Sanchez Photography)

WEB Salon at BHS    

On April 30, the Women Entrepreneurs of Berkeley held an inspirational Salon for Berkeley High School (BHS) Bridge students at Berkeley Community Media. BHS Bridge originated in 2010 as part of the 2020 Vision for Equity, a plan with the City of Berkeley, BUSD and the Berkeley community to better serve all Berkeley students, specifically underserved students.  Bridge is designed to help students successfully transition to Berkeley High, support them during their four years in high school, and maintain eligibility to attend a four-year college or university when they graduate.  

The panel of three entrepreneurs (Sarah Richardson of Microbyre, Etosha Cave of Opus 12, and Araceli Kopiloff of The Hillside Club) was moderated by leadership coach Brigette Iarrusso of Embrace Change. Each shared their story about the path to entrepreneurship and the challenges they had overcome to become a successful woman in business. Jessie Luxford, Berkeley High School Bridge Teacher & Coordinator thanked OED and the Berkeley Chamber after, “Know that the Bridge young women are very appreciative and the speakers gave them a lot to think about. They were riveted during the panel discussion, I have never seen them so quiet for so long!”

WEB Salon at BHS

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