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Office of Economic Development
Office of Economic Development

Updates: Office of Economic Development

Berkeley Celebrates First-Ever Berkeley Manufacturing Day     

Berkeley Tech Fair Enhances Digital Inclusion  

Global Startup Grind Network Launches a Berkeley Chapter

OED Releases September 2018 Economic Dashboards 

Civic Arts Program – Call for Artists 

Civic Arts Program – Civic Art Grants  




 Berkeley Celebrates First-Ever Berkeley Manufacturing Day  
   Photo: The Rare Barrel Manufacturing Day 2018 tour

To celebrate national Manufacturing Day 2018 (October 5), the City of Berkeley Office of Economic Development (OED) organized free tours, open to the public, at three local manufacturing businesses: Bay Area CoRoasters’ collaborative space”  for coffee roasting, Meyer Sound’s audio system design and production lab, and The Rare Barrel’s barrel-aged sour beer brewery. The tours, offered at various times from Oct. 2-5 (“Manufacturing Week”), were designed to celebrate innovative local businesses, give manufacturers an opportunity to showcase their modern technology, and highlight the variety of career pathways the manufacturing industry affords. Nearly five dozen Berkeley residents attended and participants expressed their excitement at having had a behind-the-scenes look at what happens in the nondescript industrial buildings they've driven by for years.

OED organized Manufacturing Week tours as part of its participation in a larger effort by the Bay Area Urban Manufacturing Initiative (BAUMI), which ensures that the Bay Area retains and creates the middle-class jobs that are created by urban manufacturers.  In Berkeley, more than 5% of the city’s workforce has a job in manufacturing and the city’s most concentrated manufacturing district, West Berkeley, alone has almost 70 manufacturing businesses. Craft food and beverage and chemical manufacturing, which includes the pharmaceutical manufacturer, Bayer, are the largest sectors.


Berkeley Tech Fair Enhances Digital Inclusion 
Courtesy of Tech Exchange 

After learning about local residents’ needs for technological devices, high-speed internet access, and digital know-how as part of our city’s research on Berkeley’s digital divide in response to a 2014 City Council referral on this topic, the City of Berkeley, Berkeley Public Library, and Tech Exchange partnered in hosting a Berkeley Tech Fair on September 15th, 2018.

The Berkeley Tech Fair offered a fun and welcoming space where residents were informed about low-cost internet options ($10/month available through Comcast Internet Essentials or AT&T Access), had the opportunity to engage with local community partners (including Tech Exchange, Berkeley Public Library, Healthy Black Families, City of Berkeley Black Infant Health, Black Girls Code and Berkeley City College), and could walk-away with a free desktop computer. The event successfully attracted approximately 300 people, of which 125 walked away with a high-quality refurbished computer. Additionally, Tech Exchange supplied 70 participants with vouchers to pick up a free, refurbished computer at a future date.

At a time when less than half of California’s low-income families don’t have access to the internet through a personal computer and digital connectivity is more important than ever, the City of Berkeley OED was pleased to have exposed our community to tools, resources, and training opportunities which will lessen the digital divide and help residents acquire skills, apply for jobs, and gain meaningful employment.


Global Startup Grind Network Launches a Berkeley Chapter 

On September 24, Startup Grind, a global network of 1.5 million entrepreneurs in 450 cities worldwide, launched a local chapter in Berkeley. The launch event was held at SkyDeck, UC Berkeley’s world-renowned startup accelerator. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Councilman Ben Bartlett expressed the City of Berkeley’s support and participated in a panel discussion about the local economy, small businesses, public-private partnerships and entrepreneurship. 

With a mission to “inspire, educate and connect”, Startup Grind Berkeley hopes to ignite multi-sector collaboration at a hyperlocal level for business owners, founders and aspiring entrepreneurs. By featuring successful local entrepreneurs and telling their stories, helping people connect with multi-sector partners and secure funding, and hosting lectures and networking events, Startup Grind Berkeley will help the Berkeley Startup Cluster achieve its mission to make Berkeley a more vibrant, accessible and equitable place for startups to launch and grow.   Click here to see a brief video about the event.


OED Releases September 2018 Economic Dashboards Twice annually, OED presents data and analysis about Berkeley’s economy to Berkeley’s City Council (see the Information Report from September 13, 2018). These Berkeley Economic Dashboards, which include key City of Berkeley economic indicators, such as business occupancy, commercial vacancy rates and other demographic statistics help support business location decisions, marketing, and research.

Specifically, the latest Berkeley Economic Dashboard examines trends in economic development including: employment, real estate, housing development, sales tax, and other indicators of economic performance. The Commercial District Dashboard offers a focused look at economic performance in Berkeley’s nine neighborhood-specific commercial districts.    The latest Economic Dashboards can always be found on our website.



The City of Berkeley is commissioning functional public art for North Berkeley Senior Center and San Pablo Park as part of the first phase of the Measure T1 bond program to repair and renovate Berkeley’s aging infrastructure and facilities. At both of these sites, the artwork will be incorporated into the planned improvement projects in order to enhance the facilities and expand the community’s public art resources. 

For North Berkeley Senior Center, artwork is being commissioned for the renovation of the entry plaza and will be integrated with the seating and planted areas. This entry plaza will be a space where building users can gather to socialize, play games and enjoy time spent outdoors. The artwork will complement the plaza design and may include sculptural seating or other interactive and functional sculptural elements. It may also include decorative and integrated treatments to the space such as tile or other durable media for the vertical retaining walls. Artwork will be responsive to the site, will help beautify the space and will contribute to the unique identity of the senior center. The artwork will be formally and thematically appropriate to the building’s users and employees. 

For San Pablo Park, artwork is being commissioned in conjunction with the park renovations, which include a revamped play area and equipment for 5-12 year-olds as well as the complete renovation of the tennis courts. The artworks will be integrated into the park improvements and will be functional, sculptural or integrated durable two-dimensional treatments. The artwork will be formally and thematically appropriate to the park’s users, employees and surrounding neighborhood and will contribute to the unique identity of the park. 


On June 26, 2018, the City Council approved the City's Fiscal Year 2019 funding allocation for the Civic Arts Grant Program. A total of 62 applicants were awarded funds for a variety of arts and cultural projects, productions, and activities.  The Civic Arts Grants provide essential operating support to Berkeley’s arts organizations, and are a central pillar of the City of Berkeley’s robust Civic Arts Program. For more information, visit our Civic Arts website.










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