- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
The tenth Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACE) will be held for the first time in Northern California in October. To promote partnerships, the exchange will bring economic and political leaders from across the Americas and beyond to visit Northern California's world-class innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems, and to experience the best California has to offer in food, wine and local products. The milestone “ACE 10” is sponsored by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, Central Valley AgPlus and other California partners.
From Oct. 21 to 27, approximately 50 high-level economic and political leaders from across the Americas, selected through a competitive application process, will participate in ACE 10, which will highlight innovation and entrepreneurial activity.
ACE 10 program themes include:
o Improving health: Bioscience, food safety, healthy food access and nutrition
o Feeding the world: Sustainable food systems & communities, food security, ag tech
o Maximizing resources: Resource management, water and energy, waste-to-energy uses
o Fostering resiliency: Environmental sciences, mobility, global leadership
o Innovation ecosystems: Innovation communities, supporting entrepreneurs, financing ventures
“The University of California is pleased to host the milestone ACE 10 in Northern California to highlight our world-class innovation and entrepreneurship that drives local and regional economic development,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president of agriculture and natural resources. “We look forward to building new and lasting partnerships across the Americas.”
The ACE 10 program will start in San Francisco at UCSF's renowned biotech research center and start-up incubator in Mission Bay, followed by a visit to NASA Ames Research Center. The tour includes stops in Santa Cruz, Monterey, Salinas, Fresno, and Davis, and will conclude in Sacramento. Site visits will focus on food and agriculture, water and energy technologies, life and environmental sciences and advances in manufacturing.
“It's a tremendous honor and important opportunity for Northern California to host the 10th Americas Competiveness Exchange,” said Valley Vision's chief executive Bill Mueller. “Hosting this global delegation gives California not just the chance to showcase our assets, but also provides an unmatched platform to build global economic and research alliances.”
Gabriel Youtsey, UC ANR chief innovation officer agrees. “Innovation and entrepreneurship are California's biggest ‘exports' to the world and we aim to set off the next wave of innovation in our state's distinct areas of strength: food, agriculture and life sciences.”
The agenda is designed to provide the delegates opportunities for interactive learning, sharing of best practices, networking and partnership development as they travel from the coast to the inland areas of the state. “During the tours, our visitors will discover opportunities and create new collaborations that will continue to flourish long after they return to their home countries,” Humiston said.
ACE toured the Arizona-Southern California corridor in 2016. The most recent exchange, ACE 8, was held in Florida in December 2017. ACE 9 will be held in Israel and Germany this June where the baton will be passed to Humiston to take lead on ACE 10.
Valley Vision—a civic leadership organization headquartered in Sacramento that is committed to building a prosperous and sustainable future—is a co-host for ACE 10, along with UC ANR. The Northern California leadership team also includes California State University, Fresno and California State University, Chico; the cities of Davis, Fresno, Sacramento, Salinas, San Francisco and Santa Cruz; Bay Area Metro and Monterey County. The successful bid to host ACE 10 is an outgrowth of the Central Valley AgPlus food and beverage manufacturing consortium.
The principal ACE convening institutions are the U.S. Department of Commerce, through the International Trade Administration (ITA) and the Economic Development Administration (EDA); the U.S. Department of State; the Government of Argentina;and the Organization of American States (OAS) as the Technical Secretariat for the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC). ACE is a core component of the Work Plan of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network.
Past examples of mutually beneficial partnerships developed by ACE exchanges include:
• Research centers and co-ops such as Organic Valley in Wisconsin and Escuela Superior Integral Lecheria (ESIL) of Villa María in Cordoba, Argentina, working on business and export development in the dairy industry;
• Young entrepreneurs from UNITEC Honduras interacting and collaborating with the entrepreneurship ecosystems led by UC San Diego;
• An industrial internship program between Canada and Mexico through Mitacs, a Canadian not-for-profit research and training organization, and Mexico's National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT).