Thank you to all of our partners, sponsors, and event hosts —and of course everyone who attended—for making our virtual Bay Area Manufacturing Week one of our most successful ever!
Organized by SFMade and the Bay Area Urban Manufacturing Initiative, the week featured 16 panel events, virtual tours, and conversations with local manufacturers, elected officials, and policymakers who are paving the way for a bright future for local manufacturing in the region. Here are some of highlights:
- Congressman Ro Khanna opened Bay Area Urban Manufacturing Week and kicked off our first panel conversation, “Why Manufacturing Matters,” with a passionate salute to manufacturing in the Bay Area and why industry, and the jobs it creates, is critical for the region’s future. The panel of elected officials spoke at length about their enthusiasm for the industry and what actions they are taking at local, state, and national levels to improve conditions for local manufacturers and their employees.
- Our conversation about “Driving Capital to Manufacturing” featured Elmer Moore Jr. from Scale Up Milwaukee, who spoke movingly about the structural inequities that exist in the capital ecosystem and how opportunities to access grants, loans, and equity financing are limited in many communities. Moore shared ideas about how organizations like SFMade can help small manufacturers navigate the banking industry. Business owners need to hear the unvarnished truth about the prospects of obtaining financing, and this workshop provided an honest perspective about the challenges as well as the opportunities.
- The City of Berkeley’s roundtable conversation about “Making Things, Making Jobs” provided a chance for manufacturers to speak directly to Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Berkeley Councilmember Rashi Kesarwani about the advantages of locating a manufacturing business in Berkeley, while also addressing some of the real challenges that must be addressed to make it easier to start and grow a manufacturing business in the city.
- In addition to the workshops and panel discussions, cities throughout the Bay Area hosted virtual tours for high school students to introduce them to the possibility of careers in manufacturing. The City of Fremont’s virtual tours were so well executed and inspirational that it felt like participants were actually present with the manufactures in their facilities. And the City of Concord sparked imaginations with virtual manufacturing experiences for high school students from Mount Diablo Unified School District, followed by a lively, virtual chat that answered questions and further ignited the students’ interest.
- We want to give a special shout-out to Barbara Morrison of TMC Financing. Barbara, who participated on the “Driving Capital to Manufacturing” panel, spoke about the SBA’s 504 loan program, which makes building ownership accessible to small manufacturing businesses. Barbara explained how owning a building can give a company stability and a foundation for long-term success. She also spoke about the need for more information about loans and financing opportunities for local manufacturers, and she introduced TMC’s new microloan program and described the many ways her company has been involved in supporting small businesses during the pandemic
Thanks again to everyone who made Bay Area Manufacturing Week 2020 a huge success. Please visit the Bay Area Manufacturing Imitative website and follow them and SFMade on social media for future events and resources for local manufacturers.