LONG BEACH, Calif. (November 9, 2023) – Long Beach is at a transition point in its economy, experts said at the Accelerate Long Beach Economic Forum on Thursday, Nov. 2, and entrepreneurial startups will be key to making that transition successfully.
The forum was put on by the Long Beach Economic Partnership and Sunstone Management, Inc., was the presenting sponsor. Sunstone’s CEO and managing partner John Keisler provided the keynote address after Dr. Robert Kleinhenz of the Cal State Long Beach Office of Economic Research presented his economic status report and forecast.
Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson opened the forum talking about how the city’s last major economic transition took place in the early 1990s, when the Navy closed the Naval Shipyard and the military left the city. This time, the major transition will be away from an economy based on oil production.
“The challenge is to grow the economy in other sectors,” Richardson said. “We have a rich history in aerospace and aviation. Now we have the fastest growing space sector in the country… And that’s just one sector.”
Bo Martinez, who followed John Keisler as the city’s director of the Economic Development Department, said, “None of this is going to happen without PPP (Public-Private Partnership). We’re fortunate to have the partners we do, including Sunstone… Small business is big business in Long Beach.”
Keisler built on those comments in his speech.
“I was blessed to have a career in public service,” he said. “I saw how economic development can lift a community… Our startups, our tech startups, can help modernize the industries we rely on.
“Long Beach is at a great place at the right time. It costs a lot to live here because we invest a lot. We invest a lot on education, on infrastructure… Long Beach’s secret (to success) is our public-private partnership with government.”
Keisler also talked about how the Long Beach Accelerator provides technological assistance to entrepreneurs in its program, and how the Launch Beach: 100 Startups coalition will continue to support and promote businesses. The key, he said, will be access to capital for the business founders.
About 200 people attended the half-day forum. Randal Hernandez, Long Beach Economic Partnership’s immediate past chair, closed the forum with a promise that there would be more forums and workshops to move the economic development efforts forward. For more, go to lbep.org.
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Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital sponsor firm located in Southern California that invests in diverse early-stage technology entrepreneurs who seek to build great companies. We believe in the aspirational power of the American economy to attract and inspire investors and entrepreneurs from throughout the world. We deliver new and exciting opportunities for economic growth through the creation of innovative public-private partnerships, and our unique experience across government, education, and private sectors. Identified by Financial Times as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row. In the second quarter of 2023, PitchBook ranked Sunstone the seventh most active early-stage venture capital firm in the country, and 18th overall.
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