From all of us at the Alliance, we hope that you are safe and healthy. In general, we’re an optimistic bunch so we look for silver linings and try to focus on what’s ahead, especially during difficult times like these. We are extremely lucky that our team and families have not been physically impacted by Covid-19 and although we’ve had to make some big adjustments to our programs, we’ve been able to retain our staff thanks to timely underwriter support received in Q1 and an SBA PPP loan. Like many of you, we are trying to plan for a future with a lot of uncertainty -- but plan we must, and carry on, we do. Therefore, I thought it would be a good time to share our current plans and some opportunities to engage in this extremely vibrant, relevant innovation ecosystem.
Digital Community PlatformThe beta version of our new Alliance website and digital community platform went live in late February so please check features like our SoCal Event Calendar where you can post your own (virtual) events; the News section where you can post your own news updates or blog; and contribute to discussion forums. Coming soon: resources like a map and company directory, and a new digital home for the Space Ventures Coalition as well a few local innovation communities.
Live Events Postponed
The annual First Look SoCal Innovation Showcase will now be virtual on September 15 (originally June 3). The Corporate Venture & Innovation Forum has been postponed and no new date has been chosen. Check out the Alliance event calendar for more details.
COVID-19 Innovation Challenge
In collaboration with Techstars and ScaleHealth, we are planning a 3-4 week virtual Challenge event (similar to a mini X-Prize) where startup teams will partner with sponsor organizations to create solutions that address issues for living with the impacts of COVID-19. Topics could address a variety of issues within categories such as Digital Health, Distance Learning, Back to Work (Safely) etc. Prizes will be awarded to the top teams. We are currently looking for sponsors to lead challenge areas and fund prizes for the challenge winners. If you have suggestions/recommendations for potential challenge area sponsors please let us know (contact Jenn Fernandez).
The SoCal Innovation Brand
We are so fortunate and grateful to have secured a $10K donation from the Annenberg Foundation to partially fund our upcoming “SoCal innovation brand activation” project. This initiative will create a marketing toolkit that can be used by a variety of organizations to promote the SoCal innovation brand. The project will be led by Bulldog Drummond, the brand design consultancy who developed the initial brand platform we’ve been using. We’re exploring how best to bridge the current funding gap so let us know if you have ideas/suggestions for organizations, city governments, EDCs, etc who might want to collaborate (contact me).
Mapping SoCal’s Innovation Assets
We are exploring how we can map the various innovation assets of SoCal -- think Yelp for innovation. We’re currently exploring tech platforms like Esri and looking for partners who have built maps and can share knowledge and/or data. If your org currently uses Esri or you recommend a GIS design firm, we’d love to explore partnering with you on the buildout of our map (contact me).
The F.I.N.D. Program (Fueling Innovation through Node Development)
We continue to engage with local innovation community leaders to support, nurture and accelerate the development of their tech and life science ecosystems. Although the pandemic has disrupted some elements of the program like live events, there is still much that can be done so that the region is ready to jumpstart growth through tech/life science jobs when we emerge, hopefully stronger as we’ve seen in past downturns (contact Eric Eide).
Please join us as we help build our way out of these crises through collaboration and a diversity of approaches, skills, and innovative spirit -- the SoCal way.