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Local Government Programs & Initiatives

The concept of an innovation ecosystem is built on knowledge creating and sharing across companies, knowledge institutions, governments (policy), business enterprises and industry boundaries. Innovation often stems from collaboration between government, universities, industry, and research. Government plays an important role in promoting innovation at various stages. While federal and state governments often create the policy and regulations that directly impact the innovation ecosystem on a macro level, local governments are able to have significant impacts through a variety of locally focused policies and collaboration between stakeholders.

Recent Sector Highlights

April is officially Innovation Month in Riverside County. The county organizes and collaborates with local stakeholders and organizations to plan a variety of events, centered on highlighting innovation throughout the region. These types of local government programs and initiatives are a great way to showcase innovative and entrepreneurial activities and events. 

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The City of Ontario in San Bernardino County has been implementing various “smart city” initiatives for the past couple of years. Generally, smart city initiatives refer to utilizing innovative technologies to develop, deploy, and promote sustainable development practices that address growing urbanization challenges. These projects make urban living more efficient and convenient through everything from smart traffic lights and data-driven energy efficiency schemes, to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and interactive kiosks that offer free broadband. Municipal broadband services like fiber and Wi-Fi are critical for the 21st century as part of a more extensive infrastructure portfolio.The City of Ontario has become a leader and innovator in smart city initiatives within the region. Investments in these types of projects helps to not only collaborate with local innovators, but to also mark the region as a place for new technological innovations.

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The Riverside Innovation District was conceptualized as the region’s home for high-tech high-paying jobs aimed at attracting greater investment and increasing the area’s quality of life. Similar to other areas nationwide, these tech-driven districts seek to capitalize on local strengths – in Riverside, these include higher education, a well-educated local workforce, cultural institutions, historic buildings, and shopping and entertainment. The Innovation District also provides technical training in green and clean air technology jobs, which are key growing sectors and also complement the California Air Resource Board’s cutting-edge research and testing laboratory within the City of Riverside. Recently, the City of Riverside was also selected to participate in the Bloomberg-Harvard City Leadership Initiative Innovation Track for 2022. During this one year track the city will create a plan to attract “Green” businesses. 

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