By Kathy Chouteau
The East Bay Economic Development Alliance (East Bay EDA) hosted its third “Meet the Innovators” event Wed., July 19 at CoBiz Richmond, during which it spotlighted regional trailblazers and entrepreneurs with a deep history of innovation.
This year’s event showcased organizations that have made a “significant impact on the community,” per East Bay EDA, with special emphasis on those providing “access to training, job opportunities and supportive services to under-resourced populations, including youth, justice-impacted individuals, and the unhoused.”
On the heels of entertainment by the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, warm greetings and opening remarks were made by Caroline Love of MCE Clean Energy and District 1 Supervisor John M. Gioia. Sup. Gioia spoke about the importance of labor and business organizations and the “importance of working together to address regional challenges through collaborative regional solutions,” per East Bay EDA.
A handful of panelists were also at CoBiz, including Kimberly Aceves-Iñiguez, co-founder and executive director of the RYSE Center; Wesley Alexander, CEO of CoBiz Richmond, Inc.; Kathy Chao Rothberg, CEO of Lao Family Community Development and former San Pablo mayor; and Fred Lucero, program manager, Richmond BUILD. Ken Maxey, director of Government Affairs, Comcast/NBCUniversal stepped in as the event moderator.
Richmond’s own Aceves-Iñiguez was reportedly passionate in sharing her experience working with local young people for twenty years via RYSE Center. “She emphasized the unwavering innovation and resilience displayed by the young people she works with,” said East Bay EDA, noting the organization “creates safe spaces grounded in social justice, empowering youth with the tools to love, learn, educate, heal and transform lives and communities.”
With more than 150 members, East Bay EDA said it serves as the regional voice and networking resource for strengthening the economy, building the workforce and enhancing the quality of life in the East Bay.