The Los Angeles region has been a hub of innovation and commerce since its earliest days. But as recently as five years ago, the City − known for its bright lights and big screens -- was still very much in the shadows of Silicon Valley when it came to technology.
Recognizing the resources needed to support the growth of a more robust technology sector in the L.A. region, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce used its business, government and community leadership to develop a plan to help the growing technology economy. The Chamber, which has played a role in developing new industries and supporting innovators for more than 128 years, partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network to form a new technology center: Bixel Exchange.
Hosted at the Chamber, Bixel Exchange envisions a thriving and inclusive economy that enables Angelenos to pursue their ambitions and prosper. Offerings include initiatives and events that ignite creativity, empower entrepreneurs and cultivate talent to strengthen the tech ecosystem, and create a more prosperous L.A.
Today, the region boasts a vibrant and diverse tech sector with startups, companies, universities, think tanks, venture capitalists and incubators, all working to grow the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem.
So, how has the Chamber's technology center helped drive L.A.’s tech sector over the past three years?
Building entrepreneurs and businesses
Bixel Exchange serves entrepreneurs through its specialized Startup Development Program, and through collaboration with accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces, venture capitalists, angel investors and private equity firms, universities, research institutions, innovation labs and government. Through these partnerships with corporate and civic organizations throughout L.A., the center connects technology businesses with mentors and business advisors to get them the “I-wish-I’d-known” insights they need to grow.
Bixel Exchange focuses on advising ventures that are within the rapidly evolving segments of the tech ecosystem, including — but not limited to — e-commerce, adtech, cleantech, digital media, gaming, mobile and social media, among many others.
The Startup Development Program works with more than 200 startups each year, connecting them to mentors and resources to help them succeed.
Nurturing regional talent
The Tech Ed Partnerships program connects schools and colleges to local technology companies through career enrichment activities for youth and young adults. To accomplish this goal, Bixel Exchange serves a critical role, reaching out to industry leaders and developing volunteer opportunities that contextualize student learning experiences and nurture their tech career aspirations. These opportunities include company tours, hackathons, classroom visits, mentorships, internships and professional development for students and educators.
In March 2015, President Obama launched TechHire, a national initiative to develop city and regional strategies to train the workforce for high-paying jobs in the tech industry. Under Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's leadership, the Los Angeles High Impact Information Technology, Entertainment & Entrepreneurship, and Communications Hubs (LA HI-TECH) regional consortium was recognized as one of the first 20 programs working toward fulfilling the President's call to action.
Since launching Tech Ed Partnerships, Bixel Exchange has partnered with eight community colleges and 30 high schools through LA HI-TECH. To date, the program has served more than 1,350 students and educators, and engaged 40 companies and government agencies, including Snapchat, Riot Games, Dollar Shave Club, Rubicon Project, IBM, CGI, City of Los Angeles Information Technology Agency and many others.
Connecting tech leaders to civic innovation projects
Bixel Exchange has joined up tech leaders to civic innovation projects with the city of L.A. and connected tech community volunteers to opportunities to help solve some of region's most difficult challenges.
To learn more about Bixel Exchange, visit bixelexchange.com.