Nearly 100 local business leaders gathered in Chico Thursday morning to hear all about one group's new approach to improve the local economy and create more jobs. The Chico Economic Planning Corporation has been helping local businesses grow for nearly 30 years, and is now looking to extend its reach on a regional level with a focus on innovation. Bob Linscheid, who has served as president and CEO of CEPCO since 1993 recently partnered with Jon Gregory of Grow California to re-purpose the group under the identity Innovate North State.
"(We) decided that innovative growth companies, emerging growth companies, was our ticket to improving the economy. So we formed this new Innovate North State concept, connecting the 530 to each other and to markets outside of the area," says Linscheid.
The group will focus on helping innovation based businesses from just north of Sacramento all the way to the Oregon border. The 5 major industries they hope to tackle include: food and agriculture, manufacturing and high-tech, information technology, cleantech and renewable energy, and health care. Co-Director Jon Gregory says the group will connect local businesses with each other, as well as with groups outside the area. "Connecting to compete" is the organization's motto, and that's exactly what they hope to do to put the north state on the map.
"Our goal is very clear. We want to make the north state the most economically competitive non-metro region in the country," says Gregory.
Innovate North State has several upcoming events that will be used to create a network between local companies and outside sources. The first one is an innovation challenge that will be held in the Sierra Nevada Big Room on June 21st.