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Office of Economic Development
Office of Economic Development

Updates: Office of Economic Development

Email 50Subscribe to this page for update notifications on programs, services, classes and incentives from the City of Berkeley's Office of Economic Development.


Citywide Economic Performance 

1% for the Arts

Focus on Equitable Development 

Expanding local business networks 

New team  


 Citywide Economic Performance  Dashboard for Updates 2017

OED published its semi-annual Economic and Commercial District Dashboard Reports, which include a detailed examination of trends in employment, real estate development, commercial vacancy rates, sales tax revenues by sector, and other indicators of citywide economic performance. Highlights from the recent dashboards include:

  • 1,552 Units in the construction/development pipeline.
  • Approximately 13,000 active business licenses, with employment growth in the data processing and educational services sectors.
  • Nearly $31 million dollars in physical investments (building valuation), and 582 building permits issued.

The next issue will be released in mid-winter. Dashboards and other relevant data-rich reports can be found here.

1% for the Arts

 Our Civic Arts team has been working on a number of major civic art initiatives this year:

  • The City's Arts and Culture plan, first adopted in 2004, is being updated! Visit our website to check out draft documents and learn how to weigh in.
  • The $8 million renovation of Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza will include a number of public art elements, including new sound and light poles that will facilitate public performance, as well as a major sculpture element. The project will be complete in spring 2018.
  • In 2016 the Berkeley City Council adopted a new policy requiring private developers of large projects to incorporate public art. In 2017, staff has been launching this program, and is currently supporting a number of developers as they produce on-site art or pay in-lieu fees to support art programming elsewhere in Berkeley.


Focus on Equitable Development

Inclusion in Entrepreneurship Summit

OED was pleased to be a sponsor of Berkeley's first-ever Inclusion in Entrepreneurship Summit. Held on September 15th in the Pauley Ballroom at UC Berkeley, the event brought together over 400 entrepreneurs from varied backgrounds to help them understand opportunities to gain access to federal, state, and local resources for startups. More than 25 federal agencies and 75 investors from the Bay Area participated in panel discussions and met with local entrepreneurs, resulting in more than 500 one-to-one Meetings.  

Closing the digital divide

The City of Berkeley issued an RFP for a Broadband Infrastructure Masterplan. In addition to its goals of (1) expanding fiber access for public facilities and infrastructure to ensure continuous connectivity and service resilience for essential City functions  and (2) improving fiber access in key commercial districts, the Masterplan will seek to address the 'digital divide' by increasing high speed internet access for low-income and disadvantaged residents. Additionally, the Office of Economic Development (in partnership with the City of Berkeley's IT Department) has begun research to identify the nature of the City's digital divide problem (by six distinct user groups) and identify additional solutions that can help Berkeley residents and businesses to increase their internet access and digital literacy.

Building Economic Resilience in Low-Income Communities

The City of Berkeley participated in the 100 Resilient Cities Urban Resilience Summit in New York City, which brought together nearly 500 participants from 100 global cities to discuss opportunities to build stronger, more resilient communities. The City of Berkeley's Chief Strategist for Sustainable Growth, Liz Redman Cleveland, help design and moderate a session on Building Economic Resilience in Low Income Communities. The panel explored case studies from three cities-Louisville, Norfolk, and Salvador- and helped participants work together to identify the kinds of resources and tools required to encourage:Building Economic Resilence

  • Micro- and small-business development at the neighborhood scale,
  • Commercial and residential property affordability and anti-displacement strategies
  • Workforce development at district/neighborhood scale

The City of Berkeley will be applying the learning's from this event as it rolls out additional programs to support small businesses.


 Expanding local business networks 

Berkeley Startup Cluster

The Berkeley Startup Cluster, originally launched in 2010, has a new mission statement: making Berkeley a more vibrant, accessible, and equitable place for startups to launch and grow! With an innovation ecosystem that now includes more than a dozen co-working spaces, accelerators and incubators, the Berkeley Startup Cluster will focus its efforts in the years ahead on:

  • increasing the connections between Berkeley's high tech startups and the local community,
  • identifying opportunities for the development of new commercial real estate and lab space within the City of Berkeley, and
  • educating elected officials about the nature and value of Berkeley's startup ecosystem.

OED is also pleased to announce that 275 people celebrated the 2017 Berkeley Visionary Awards at the Berkeley Repertory Theater on September 11. The event awarded three UC Berkeley honorees (Amy Herr, Mike Cohen, and Scott Shenker) for the ways they are shaping the future through their respective fields.  UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ served as the event's keynote speaker and City of Berkeley City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley closed the event, offering strong City support for fostering a local innovation ecosystem. Visionary Award 2017

To see recent news from Berkeley's early stage, high growth industries or learn about other startup-focused events in our city - sign up for the newsletter and see the event calendar at or follow the Berkeley Startup Cluster Facebook page.

Recent newsletters can also be accessed here:

Women Entrepreneurs of Berkeley

Originally an informal network that spun out of the Berkeley Startup Cluster, the shape and format of the Women Entrepreneurs of Berkeley (WEB) has evolved!  WEB's mission is to connect innovative women with the resources and networks they need to accelerate their businesses.  As an initiative of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, the network will now have a formal membership structure and annual programming. WEB's new Advisory Group includes the City of Berkeley Office of Economic Development and many other Berkeley-based inspirational women entrepreneurs and financiers (see the list of Advisors here). WEB picture for OED Updates

On October 16, WEB hosted a networking happy hour at Gio's Pizza & Bocce where more than 80 Berkeley businesswomen shared their business aspirations and provided input on the topics and events that will support their companies and careers.

To see recent news from the Women Entrepreneurs of Berkeley and learn about other resources and events - visit and sign up for the WEB newsletter, join the WEB Group on LinkedIn or follow our Facebook page or Twitter page.

Recent WEB newsletters can also be accessed here:

 New team

There are many new faces at the Office of Economic Development - and familiar faces in new roles. 

  • In January 2017, Jordan Klein replaced Michael Caplan as Economic Development Manager. Jordan, who joined OED in 2014, brings 15 years of economic and community development experience and unrivaled enthusiasm for supporting local businesses. 
  • The department's new Chief Strategist of Sustainable Growth, Elizabeth Redman Cleveland, joined the team in May, bringing more than a decade of experience in the private sector and regional competitiveness expertise from other cities, states, and countries. She works with Berkeley's local entrepreneurs, business networks and startups to nourish the local innovation ecosystem and encourage environmentally and socially responsible business growth.
  • Eleanor Hollander, Economic Development Project Coordinator, with Berkeley OED since 2014, supports many of Berkeley's Business Improvement Districts and oversees data and report production for the unit.
  • Crystal Mota, previously in the Planning Department, joined the Civic Arts team to lead our implementation of the new Public Art in Private Development program. She will also be managing public art projects around the City.
  • In August 2017, Tony Benado joined OED as our Office Specialist. In addition to providing administrative support to our entire team, Tony assists with customer service, communications and research.
  • In October 2017, Kieron Slaughter joined OED as a Community Development Project Coordinator. Kieron is OED's small business services lead, manages our Revolving Loan Fund, and supports a number of commercial districts around the City.
  • Mary Ann Merker, Civic Arts Coordinator, continues to coordinate the City's arts programs and staff the Civic Arts Commission.
  • And many great interns, including Jessica Moreno, Monica Ly, Sean Doocy, Nathan Kelleher, and Jasmeen Sandhu have helped with important OED projects -from preparing OED newsletters for the Berkeley Startup Cluster and Women Entrepreneurs of Berkeley to updating the OED Commercial District Dashboard.


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Office of Economic Development, 2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
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