California’s advantage

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Amid the wreckage of California’s economy and our diminishing competitiveness, one California character trait abides: innovation and the prospect of cashing in on it.

According to a survey by the research firm VentureSource, fully 33 of the top 50 venture capital-backed firms (two-thirds), and 15 of the top 20, are located in California, a striking reminder that intellectual capital and innovation start right here. And since many of these firms are spinning off from research undertaken at our great universities, this drives home the importance of investing in a strong public university system for the future health of our economy.

The other take-away: only three of the 33 California firms are involved in what’s known as “clean tech.” In fact, more venture-backed firms were involved in health care than any other sector except technology. California has been a leader in health care innovation for decades, spinning off jobs and advancing medical treatments. But the equipment used to produce DNA sequencers, implantable devices for neurological disorders, or innovative orthopedic products (to name the technologies from just three of these top venture-backed firms) would not qualify for the proposed tax incentives aimed at the favored green sector.

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