Just months after the City of Long Beach signed onto a partnership with the Tustin-based MAPLE Business Council, an organization dedicated to promoting economic exchange between the United States and Canada, the newly formed alliance is bearing its first fruit.
A city delegation is visiting Vancouver to attend a two-day, tech-focused conference, tomorrow and Wednesday, February 26 and 27, in an effort to attract Canadian tech companies and other businesses to Long Beach. According to Sergio Ramirez, deputy director of economic and property development for the City of Long Beach, staff will give a 90-minute presentation detailing the current status of technology innovation in Long Beach and the opportunities presented by increased real estate development in the city.
“It’s a tech conference, so the aim will be to attract technology companies to Long Beach,” Ramirez said, adding that the tech industry is just one of the many business sectors the city is planning to tap into through this new partnership.
Ramirez and his team are also hoping to entice Canadian businesses to send their leadership to the Regional Economic Forum at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), on April 18. Those who attend will be taken on a tour of available downtown real estate.
“We have incredible growth in the city, but we still have very high vacancy rates in office space. So we want to be able to attract technology and innovative companies to Long Beach to help create a very healthy environment that’s well-rounded in downtown, and in the city as a whole,” Ramirez said.
The delegation visiting Vancouver consists of Ramirez, representatives from the Long Beach real estate industry, CSULB professor of economics Wade Martin, 1st District Councilmember Lena Gonzalez and her chief of staff, Tyler Curley, Port of Long Beach Business & Economic Development Specialist Joel Perler and Mark Guillen, public affairs manager of the technology company Crown Castle.
“We’re very lucky to have these great leaders and business leaders that stepped up and have said: we believe in Long Beach,” Ramirez said. Delegates are paying out-of-pocket for their travel and accommodations, while city staff’s traveling costs are covered by the $5,000 travel budget the city council approved as part of the partnership agreement with MAPLE.
Ramirez expressed appreciation for the support the city has received from MAPLE in preparation of the partnership’s inaugural trip, which includes a reception at the U.S. Consul General’s residence and a breakfast reception with U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft, in addition to presentations and group meetings scheduled throughout the conference.
“We haven’t even arrived, and we can feel the warm reception of the business community in Canada [already],” Ramirez said.