The past few years have been characterized by significant disruptions and events unfolding at warp speed, raising fundamental questions about our economy and society while also surfacing creative new ideas and solutions to how we address our most urgent challenges. For nearly three years, our communities across the East Bay were compelled to adjust and react to continually changing circumstances and demands. And while economic uncertainty still dominates much of the current landscape, it is imperative that business, community, and government leaders continue to harness that very same creativity and flexibility to tackle lasting and long overdue changes in some of our most entrenched structures and systems. Indeed, to do otherwise would be to ignore the learnings from and waste the opportunities presented by the challenges of the pandemic and how we came together to meet this moment.

Bringing organizations in our region together to work on critical issues affecting and shaping our economy is a critical part of supporting regional economic development, and it is for this reason that the East Bay Economic Development Alliance (East Bay EDA) has been partnering with the San Francisco Business Times for nearly a decade to provide content and resources for the San Francisco Business Times’ East Bay Book of Lists. Providing and updating this helpful listing of key resources in our region that help promote and sustain our economic success is useful, but it is only one of many things that we must do. Beyond the important step of mapping and understanding our region’s greatest assets and resources, we also must lean into our core values and come together in new ways to support and sustain a more equitable and sustainable economy.

Recognizing the importance of this shift, East Bay EDA published a blueprint for regional economic recovery in late 2021 called East Bay Forward that is anchored in six guiding principles. These principles were established to help shape our work as we collectively strive to maximize economic opportunity and recovery and promote solutions to shared regional issues. We must develop and lead solutions and strategies that that push our region to be more connected, equitable, measurable, regenerative, resilient, and transformational. More than mere buzzwords, these principles are at the core of our efforts to bring people together and focus on meaningful actions to rewire our regional economy to harness its full potential and power so that it works for all businesses and residents. A few of the many organizations that embody these principles includes AC Transit, which is leading the nation in the adoption and advancement of zero emission buses and has created an augmented reality workforce training program; Black Cultural Zone’s development of publicly-owned land to create complete communities in East Oakland; and Phillips 66’s Rodeo Renewed project, which took a major step forward by securing a permit to convert its facility into one of the world’s largest renewable fuels plant.

Despite current economic warning signs, our region remains well-positioned to forge new solutions to emerging and longstanding challenges. While some have proclaimed – and not without good reason – that our region and state are unfriendly to business, it is still home to more world-class companies and industries than anywhere else with an ethos to match. Companies and industry sectors in our region – from advanced manufacturing to life sciences to clean tech – continue to attract new investments that drive business and consumer trends, influencing our culture and the global economy.

Join East Bay EDA in 2023 as we work to build upon and sustain our accomplishments and mobilize our region’s business, civic, community, and elected leaders to create a regional economy that works for everyone.

East Bay EDA is a cross-sector, public-private partnership that promotes strategic economic development throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, serving as the regional voice and networking resource for strengthening the economy, building the workforce and enhancing the quality of life in the East Bay. Download your copy of the 2023 East Bay Book of Lists today!