The 2019 Select LA Investment Summit was the 5th time domestic leaders and international businesses gathered to share and exchange insights about growing opportunities throughout the LA region. This year’s summit was a resounding success as more than 500 registered guests attended from 27 countries including large delegations from China and New Zealand. A lineup of more than 40 speakers covered a range of topics including the future of mega-events in Los Angeles in the next decade, including the 2028 olympics, in our Morning Plenary, Esports and the expanding entertainment frontier, AI and the new era of digital transformation, mobility, and much more. Chief Economic and Business Advisor to Governor Gavin Newsome Lenny Mendonca, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Honorable Maria Contreras-Sweet provided the luncheon and summit keynotes respectively.
International Investment and Trade Data Presented
In addition, the updated WTCLA report on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Southern California was presented to display the impact that foreign-owned enterprises are having in the LA region. The report tracks changes in firms wages and jobs by sector, county and nation as well as the potential impacts of new trade policies on southern California. For the first time, the analysis looked at sustainability indicators to measure how foreign companies compare with local establishments and found that companies from abroad are more highly concentrated in areas with greater job density.
WTCLA released a new FDI report specific to the City of LA. The report was created in concert with the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs and found that more than 990 firms are located in the City of Los Angeles that support nearly 48,000 jobs. The city’s top investors are the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, France, and Switzerland, respectively.
Lastly, another new report was released by LAEDC’s Institute for Applied Economics and supported by the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles and MAPLE Council titled Canada and Southern California: United through collaboration, defined by partnership, sustained by friendship. The report delves into the unique business and cultural ties between the country and region.
All reports can be accessed for free here
Select LA Award
The second annual Select LA Award was presented to Honda North America to celebrate the thousands of jobs that the company’s operations have created in LA County since 1990.
A plethora of notable government speakers provided opening remarks, including 1st District Supervisor Hilda Solis, 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger, and 2nd District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Senior Advisor for International Affairs and Trade at Go-Biz Bud Colligan also welcomed attendees.
Morning Plenary Session: Mega-Events
In the next 10 years LA will be the center of the sporting universe. From March Madness, the U.S. Open Championship and the Superbowl in the next four years alone, to the 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in the latter half of the next decade, Mega-events offer lucrative opportunities to international companies. These sporting events provide an abundance of future contracting options as these events require nearly a decade of preparation to be ready for the influx of athletes and tourists. This expert panel explored the potential areas for technological improvement in crowd management, security, access to public transportation and much more.
E-Sports and the New Entertainment Frontier
In the past few years Moguls from the traditional sports industry have spend tens of millions of dollars both to break into and expand the world of Esports. This begs the question, have their investments provided sufficient ROI? Los Angeles leads the world in gaming companies and is a hotbed for shakers, movers and investors in Esports. At last year’s summit our panelists discussed the opportunity Esports provides while this year, our speakers extended the discussion to trends in global markets, venue booking and venue preparation, business expansion, as well as value creation and monetization.
Building LA’s Future Transportation Network
With substantial innovation occurring around the globe, LA finds itself in the middle of a mobility renaissance. From local electric bus manufacturing from international companies to Tesla’s recent breakthrough in deliveries, LA is expecting this cultural shift to provide mobility solutions to the forefront of the economy. This panel shared how they are leveraging advanced transportation, data and new partnership models to improve accessibility across the region, with a glimpse at the future of the industry and the technology that will propel it.
2nd Annual Foreign Direct Investment of the Year Award
The second annual Foreign Direct Investment Award of the Year was presented during the luncheon session to Honda North America to celebrate the abundance of well-paying jobs the company’s operations have created and its commitment to LA County over nearly three decades. Marcos Frommer accepted the award on behalf of the company.
Lenny Mendonca provided the first luncheon presentation on the importance of maintaining healthy relationships with our partners around the world. Highlighting the benefits California receives from a free flow of ideas and culture, he reaffirmed the State’s commitment to international trade and investment into the LA region. He also reinforced Governor Newsom’s position to convene groups and relevant stakeholders to engage in discussions and policymaking on the subject.
Mayor Garcetti offered the summit’s keynote address for the 5th year, discussing the unique assets Los Angeles has to cater to international business, including its global access by way of LAX and the Port of Los Angles. He also highlighted the nexus between culture, technology and manufacturing that is a defining characteristic of the local economy’s competitiveness moving forward. The increased access to transportation pushing toward the Olympic Games as also presented as a future opportunity for businesses.
The Honorable Maria Contreras-Sweet capped off our Select LA Luncheon… She served as a member of President Obama’s Cabinet as the 24th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration where she oversaw the worlds largest seed fund and fund of funds in the world.
What’s Next for Digital Transformation?
As the relationship between machine and computer develops an increasing amount of technology is integrated into different facets of companies’ value chains. Cyber-physical systems are now able to make more decisions, increasing the efficiency of companies around the globe. California is at the center of this innovation and this expert panel discussed the future or AI and digital transformation. This panel discussed the unique mix of factors including strong university partners as well as the students they graduate, which combine to create and advantageous environment for new products and software systems to be developed.
A Greater Return on Investment
Last year Southern California tech companies set a record for funding at $6.4B in 2018. Los Angeles has established itself as a global tech influencer, and businesses looking to invest and firms looking to secure funding for a project can both look to Los Angeles. The panel including a candid discussion about the challenges women and minorities face in fundraising locally and writ large. It also discussed the strong presence of consumer goods companies that are currently receiving large volumes of investments.
The International Data Download
This session consisted of three presentations reviewing WTCLA’s annual Foreign Direct Investment report for Southern California, WTCLA’s inaugural Foreign Direct Investment into the City of LA as well as LAEDC’s Growing Together with Canada Report.
LA on the International Stage: Dialogue with the Consular Corps
Members from the largest group of consulates around the world gathered to discuss their experiences navigating the LA region and how they view Los Angeles from the outside with increasing challenges posed by new US trade policies. The discussion focused on how they think LA can enhance its national presence and continue to present itself as a lucrative location for FDI. USCMA among other bilateral trade policy discussions was seen as a potential path forward to normalize trade relations between the US and the world, however, the continuing changes in dialogues elevates the level of uncertainty, which can have negative business outcomes.
The Official Residence of Canada in Los Angeles hosted Select LA’s closing reception. The event continued to highlight the new report illuminating Southern California’s strong ties to Canada.