Los Angeles is full of entrepreneurs working to develop the next generation of game-changing products. But too often, they lack the information and resources to connect with manufacturers and bring their great ideas to life.
A new initiative by Mayor Eric Garcetti aims to close that gap, by providing entrepreneurs and manufacturers across L.A. with industry support, networking opportunities, and education programs that will reach more than 1,000 entrepreneurs and manufacturers over the next 18 months. MAKE IT IN LA is a growing coalition of organizations that offers guidance from manufacturing experts. Its goal is to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to turn creative ideas into thriving businesses that power L.A.’s economy and create good-paying jobs.
“Sometimes, the next big idea is just one nudge away from entering the marketplace, redefining an industry, and changing millions of lives,” said Mayor Garcetti. “L.A. is full of passionate innovators who are ready to shape our future. MAKE IT IN LA will empower manufacturers and entrepreneurs, and help channel our city’s creative energy into a sector that is the backbone of our economy.”
The initiative launches this week with a series of special events — each focusing on a different industry within the manufacturing sector. The event series, MAKE IT IN LA Week, runs from June 21 to June 23 and is part of the White House’s National Week of Making. In the coming months, MAKE IT IN LA will launch online resources including a regional event calendar, a guide to government incentives, and a podcast called the Art of Manufacturing profiling manufacturing entrepreneurs. These will lay the groundwork for more educational programming starting in fall 2016, including round-table conversations that bring business leaders together with government officials to discuss unique industry challenges and opportunities; technical assistance and training; and showcase events that enable manufacturing entrepreneurs to connect with customers, suppliers, and capital.
MAKE IT IN LA was born out of founder Krisztina ‘Z’ Holly’s experience with Mayor Garcetti’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) program. Launched in 2014, the program employs two distinguished business leaders each year to help shape City policy and develop initiatives to help entrepreneurs across L.A.
While serving as entrepreneur-in-residence, Holly surveyed more than 1,600 L.A. County businesses to get a better sense of the local entrepreneurial manufacturing ecosystem. Her study, made possible by Dun & Bradstreet and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, uncovered several opportunities to strengthen the local manufacturing community in L.A. Now, with generous contributions from GE Ventures and other partners, Holly is pursuing those opportunities through MAKE IT IN LA.
“The manufacturing ecosystem is so big and complex in L.A. that, as part of my term in City Hall as entrepreneur-in-residence, we decided to conduct a comprehensive study, which was the first of its kind in L.A.,” said Holly. “We discovered many opportunities to serve the untapped potential of manufacturing in L.A. With the MAKE IT IN LA initiative, we aim to help build a community of makers and manufacturing that rivals any industry in the country.”
"GE Ventures is proud to be a founding partner of this important initiative," said Karen Kerr, Senior Managing Director of Advanced Manufacturing at GE Ventures. "MAKE IT IN LA will help manufacturers like GE tap into the vast network of entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and resources that Los Angeles has to offer."
Additional founding partners of MAKE IT IN LA include Ernst & Young, the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI), and DLA Piper, with additional support from Maker City LA @ The Reef and others. Coalition members include LACI, L.A. Prep, Food Centricity, Localism, Make in LA, Starburst Accelerator, and The MiA Project.
More information about MAKE IT IN LA can be found at www.makeitinla.org.