Los Angeles–Cal State LA broke ground Friday on the Rongxiang Xu Bioscience Innovation Center, which will house the LA BioSpace incubator and serve as a hub for entrepreneurship and job creation on Los Angeles’ Eastside.
During the event, Cal State LA President William A. Covino announced that the University had just received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to support entrepreneurial enterprises at the LA BioSpace incubator.
The gift will fund LA BioStart Boot Camp, which will provide participants with the skills they need to compete in the industry. Cal State LA was one of only 35 universities in the U.S. to receive a 2016 award through the Regional Innovation Strategies program. LA BioStart will provide training to bioscience entrepreneurs on Cal State LA’s campus this year, to develop much-needed industry talent even before the Innovation Center opens in 2018.
“The bioscience industry holds tremendous promise for our region,” Covino told the crowd. “It is creating new technologies, new companies, and new employment opportunities.”
Covino was joined by Cal State LA Vice President Jose A. Gomez and industry leaders, as well as Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Congressman Ted Lieu, California State Treasurer John Chiang, Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez and former Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who helped secure the first major grant for the bioscience incubator. Also attending were the family of Dr. Rongxiang Xu, whose generosity will enable construction of the facility.
“LA BioSpace will give our students and faculty the chance to work with entrepreneurs to put Los Angeles at the forefront of the bioscience industry. This will create jobs and new opportunities for the communities we serve,” said Gomez, who chairs the LA BioSpace Advisory Board.
The LA BioSpace incubator will allow startup bioscience companies to work collaboratively with Cal State LA students and faculty to develop new technologies in a university setting. As these technologies become commercially viable, the startup firms will move out of the incubator and into the surrounding community to create jobs and stimulate the area economy.
LA BioSpace is part of an ambitious region-wide bioscience industry strategy developed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Substantial support for the incubator has come from the Board of Supervisors, the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and the National Rongxiang Xu Foundation.