Oakland, California – On August 4, 2022, more than 400 people gathered at the Fox Theater in downtown Oakland for the 2022 East Bay Innovation Awards, an event recognizing business and civic entrepreneurs and leaders of dynamic businesses and organizations here in our region. Attendees were welcomed back to downtown Oakland by Mayor Libby Schaaf, who turned it over to the evening’s emcee, Scott McGrew of NBC Bay Area, to preside over the event. A total of eleven (11) entities received awards handed out by East Bay EDA senior leaders and event sponsors who were each paired with a young person from PilotCity, winner of the 2018 Education award.
The 2022 finalists and awardees join an exceptional group of nearly 200 companies recognized over the 10 years that East Bay EDA has been holding the East Bay Innovation Awards. A list and description of the 2022 awardees appears below.
Advanced Manufacturing: DuPont Advanced Clean Technologies is a leading global manufacturer of specialty chemicals enabling high productivity and improved yields for high volume semiconductor fabrication. With a facility in Hayward, DuPont EKC provides best-in-class process solutions for wafer cleaning, surface preparations, liquid and dry film resist removal, post-CMP cleaning, selective etching and post-etch residue removal. DuPont EKC Technology provides solutions that help transform industries and everyday life.
Arts & Culture: Hip Hop for Change provides experiential Hip-Hop Educational programming to youth. Their Arts Educators introduce youth to the history and evolution of Hip Hop music and culture, incorporating significant events in History which inform Hip Hop artistry, creativity, and self-expression. The organization leverages Hip Hop Culture as a vehicle to engage youth in powerful conversations about social justice issues impacting their daily lives, including educational and economic disparities; environmental hazards; food deserts; health care inequities; and mental health and wellness gaps.
Built Environment: Build It Green is an Oakland-based non-profit organization that connects changemakers to transform the housing system in service of human and ecological vitality. Build It Green is building a cross-sector network to enable comprehensive and efficient change needed to provide regenerative, sustainable and equitable housing for all in California. Build It Green recognizes the complexity, urgency, and interconnected nature of California’s housing crisis (both in affordability and stock) as well as the climate crisis by unlocking coordinated, large scale innovation. They are unlocking coordinated, large-scale innovation through their network of entrepreneurs, developers, policymakers, financiers, advocates, and more together to build a movement towards providing the housing we needed yesterday while building towards a climate just, resilient and adaptable future.
Clean Tech: MCE Community Choice Energy (MCE) is a groundbreaking, not-for-profit, public agency that offers renewable electricity at stable rates, reducing greenhouse emissions, and reinvesting over $180M in local energy programs. MCE provides electricity service and programs to more than one million residents and businesses in 37 member communities across Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, and Solano. MCE was the first community choice program in the state and has become the gold standard for community choice across California and the nation.
Community Impact: Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) provides solutions to mass homelessness, mass incarceration, and community violence — including housing and innovative support service solutions for people in need right now, as well as civic engagement and policy solutions to address the root causes of systemic inequity stemming from racially biased systems/policies. Their transformative Neighborhood Impact Hubs are designed to overcome concentrations of poverty and violence by creating centers of community, opportunity, cultural celebration, and empowerment right where people live.
Education: Over its 30-year history, Biotech Partners has grown to serve hundreds of students in three (3) Bay Area counties with award-winning biotech-based career technical education spanning 11th grade through community college. Biotech Partner’s innovative multi-sector life science workforce development program equips students facing substantial barriers to succeed in bioscience pathways. BP has developed a comprehensive, adaptable and unique bioscience workforce development model supporting populations underrepresented in STEM careers, contributing to a much-needed diversified workforce for the East Bay’s growing life sciences industry.
Engineering & Design: Squishy Robotics develops rapidly deployable robots equipped with cameras and customizable sensors, increasing situational awareness by enabling persistent ground-level monitoring and establishing local mesh networks. Deployment from drones or aerial vehicles makes these highly customizable robotic platforms suitable for applications in disaster response, smart cities, Industrial Internet of Things, and methane and wildfire monitoring. Squishy Robotics has commercialized this technology for a range of applications on planet Earth: disaster response, military applications, and package delivery, among other things.
Food: Founded to create delicious and healthy plant-based and cell-cultured seafood alternatives, Finless Foods offers options for all palates and preferences. Its products provide consumers with a range of responsibly produced products to diversify their daily habits and progress toward a more sustainable future. Finless Foods’ cell-cultured bluefin tuna is real bluefin tuna that simply is produced another way –instead of catching a wild-bluefin, cell-cultured bluefin tuna is produced by growing out a sample of bluefin cells in a microbrewery-type production facility, resulting in cuts of bluefin tuna that can be prepared, served, and consumed just like any other dish. As the first cell-cultured seafood company in the US, Finless is a leading voice in that vision.
Life Sciences: Eikon Therapeutics is a drug discovery and development company founded and headquartered in Hayward. Eikon’s proprietary platform leverages Nobel Prize-winning super-resolution microscopy, advanced engineering, and automation with the goal of bringing important new medicines to patients suffering from grievous illness. There remains a massive need for new, more effective treatments in virtually every disease area, as there are estimated to be between 4,000 and 5,000 rare diseases worldwide with no treatments currently available. Eikon is building a world-class team of experts in engineering, computation, biology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology and clinical studies which will enable them to invent innovative therapies that will improve and extend life.
Technology: Ambi Robotics goes beyond building good tech. The future of jobs is robots working hard so humans can work smarter. The company is rooted in the belief that the best performing systems stem from the symbiotic relationship between humans and machines. Through the accelerated adoption of automation across the supply chain, advanced automation is now in the hands of warehouse workers around the world. During a time of manufacturing turmoil, advancements to the system have enabled the company to remain steadfast with deployments across the US, deploying a new category of accessible, flexible and high-dexterity robotic systems that empower warehouse workers to handle more in high-speed supply chain operations.
In addition to the above competitive award categories, California State University – East Bay was named the 2022 Legacy Awardee.
Every awardee received a manufactured trophy that was custom designed and printed by Walnut Creek-based HoneyPoint3D, a “Made in the East Bay” gift basked from BayMade, and a complimentary pair of airline tickets from Southwest Airlines. Awardees were also granted a one-year complimentary membership to East Bay EDA, a benefit also conferred to all 2022 finalists.
The 2022 East Bay Innovation Awards was sponsored by Presenting Sponsor Kaiser Permanente. Platinum Sponsors included PG&E and the Oakland Athletics, and Gold Sponsors were Bank of America, Bayer, Blue Shield, the City of Hayward, NECA Northern California, and Wells Fargo. Silver sponsors included AB&I Foundry, AT&T, East Bay Regional Park District, Stanford Medicine, the State of California Employment Training Panel, StopWaste, and UCSF. Southwest Airlines was a special event partner and sponsor.