Five years ago, The Hill launched a day dedicated to recognizing the startup community in the United States.The idea was to connect local startups with elected officials in order to greater understand the benefits and challenges of the entrepreneurial community.
To celebrate National Startup Day I attended a meeting with our district's Congressman, Eric Swalwell, at a local center of innovation in downtown Livermore.
I made the short drive over to i-GATE, a non-profit organization which runs The Switch (an homage to the old Pacific Bell tenant). The Switch is, appropriately, a startup incubator where I met local government, business leaders and startup employees to discuss how startups will have a crucial role in the future of our community.
The meeting began with a tour of the facility and introductions to a few of the startups who work out of the 9,000 square foot space. Following the tour we sat down with the Congressman to chat about the work being done in The Switch.
Brandon Cardwell, Executive Director of i-GATE, spoke about companies who have successfully exited their incubator. A few current residents of The Switch spoke about the benefits they receive in the incubator that they would have a hard time accessing outside the walls of such an organization.
I passed around a copy of our research report which highlights the unique access startups in the Tri-Valley have and features lists of venture capital raised in the area. Accompanying our report was a handout on the Mirador Tri-Valley Index to bring attention to the investment potential of our region.
We talked at length about the collective resources that contribute to the "special sauce" of the Tri-Valley including the National Labs just up the road, the wealth of talent and the quality of life that we all cherish.
As any good government official should do, Swalwell asked what he could do to help! Answers ranged from streamlining the tax code for small companies to facilitating HB-1 visas for startup workers.
I think The Hill would be very proud of our take on National Startup Day.
We are fortunate to live in a place where entrepreneurial spirit has room to run and our elected representatives are aware of such needs. Many thanks to Congressman Swalwell for taking the time to celebrate National Startup Day with us.