Thursday, May 27, 2010

Solano County business leaders encouraged to tout own businesses, California

By Melissa Murphy / The Reporter
Posted: 05/27/2010 01:01:32 AM PDT

Business leaders in Solano County are encouraged not only to tout their own businesses but to tout California, too.

During the monthly Solano Economic Development Corporation gathering on Wednesday, the full room at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield heard about Team California and the newly formed Governor's Office of Economic Development.

Trying to shed the reputation of California having an "unfriendly business climate," the two groups are trying to work with cities and counties around the state to not only retain businesses but also recruit.

"Other states have very large budgets to communicate what (businesses) they want and why they shouldn't come to California," explained Mary Ingersoll, director of Team California. She added that with a very small budget, California hasn't done a very good job of promoting the good of the state. "We need to market the assets by working together."

She said it is necessary to invest in economic development programs even though local governments have been hurt badly by the state's grabs of redevelopment funds -- to the tune of $35 million in the next two years for Solano County.

The bright spot in California, Ingersoll noted, is that it's a magnet for innovation, high technology, biotech and now clean technology.

California has nurtured major companies like Google, Apple, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Ebay, Sysco, Facebook and Twitter, she added.

Ingersoll said that it's time for everyone to remind businesses they don't want them to leave, but to stay and help.

Louis Stewart, assistant deputy director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GoED), admits things look a little bleak right now and although GoED doesn't have a silver bullet to turn around the state's economy, the group is committed to market the state.

He encourages business owners to contact him with questions or ideas at