Tapping Counties’ Potential for Economic Development

Determined to unlock the potential of counties nationwide to facilitate sustainable business expansion and job creation in the bioscience industry, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas hosted a “County Talk” on economic development at this year’s National Association of Counties Conference and Exposition (NACo).

Entitled “Retooling for Job Creation: Case Study on the Bioscience Sector,” the presentation  featured Los Angeles County Economic Development Manager Julia Orozco, LA County Chief Medical Officer and Bioscience Medical Director Brad Spellberg, and LA BioMed Vice President of Business Development and Technology Transfer Keith Hoffman.

In his opening remarks, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said, “Right now, for Los Angeles County, the future is in bioscience. In its nascent form, it generates nearly $40 billion in economic activity and supports almost 70,000 direct jobs and 160,000 indirect jobs.”

The common thread throughout the day’s discussion was LA County’s asset-based approach: taking inventory of assets – whether real estate, intellectual property, or geography – and leveraging them for economic development and strong regional job growth.

“The Board of Supervisors of Los Angeles County, and Mark Ridley-Thomas in particular, have conceived of and implemented numerous programs that are having a significant impact on the bioscience sector in our County,” said Dr. Hoffman of LABioMed, a groundbreaking research facility on the campus of the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

“These initiatives are directly paving the way for not only more high quality jobs in the County, but they are also directly setting up Los Angeles to take a key leadership position in global bioscience,” Dr. Hoffman added. “While  these efforts are focused on bioscience, I see them as a model for other counties to implement for their own industry strengths.”

The LA County region is currently home to more than 2,600 bio and life science companies. LA County has put forth a number of initiatives to support its bioscience industry to grow into a global powerhouse. This includes the creation of BioLA, a nonprofit that will serve as a coordinating hub for bioscience throughout the region; the creation of a bioscience incubator at LA BioMed; and a $15-million investment to support burgeoning startups in the region.

Founded in 1935, NACo represents 3,069 county governments, bringing together county officials to advocate with a collective voice on national policy.  This year’s NaCo conference and exposition was held in Clark County, Las Vegas, Nevada.