Secret from 026: Recognizing Success in Your Business Community

This month, Jackie Keliiaa, Senior Economic Development Analyst for the East Bay EDA, discusses their exciting annual event that recognizes successes in their business community.

The East Bay Innovation Awards was created to be a regional marker, sort of a tool to attract businesses by showcasing the success of our assets and our businesses in the East Bay. It’s a very competitive process, but it’s exciting as well. So of the 104 nominations we received last year, only 16 finalists get to compete in 8 categories. So of these categories, we have advanced manufacturing, clean technology, education, and life sciences for example. It’s a very prestigious award. Some of the companies that have been winners in the past include Tesla, Impossible Foods, Kaiser Permanente, Clorox Company, as well as the East Bay Regional Parks District. So it’s a really fun event. We like to think of it as the Academy Awards of East Bay Innovation.

We have a red carpet interview and the winners are all revealed when the envelopes are opened that night. So it’s got a really good energy, a very festive vibe. And actually we have sold out the historic Fox Theater in downtown Oakland three years in a row.

So with only 16 finalists and just 8 awardees, it’s a fun event. It’s a little competitive, but the reality is the companies that are highlighted as finalists really catapult into their field. For example, we had Saildrone, a company based in Alameda actually, and those folks have been doing amazing things since they were noted as a finalist at the 2017 Innovation Awards.

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