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Foreign and Domestic Investors See Opportunity in the Heart of OC

Monday, October 30, 2017

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By Bryan Starr

Sitting in the center of Orange County, Irvine was master planned to be an economic powerhouse. Its business centers are home to an impressive list of leading companies in technology, innovation, biotechnology, medical, and communications sectors—21st century businesses like Google, Oracle, Edwards Lifesciences, Amazon, Allergan, Blizzard, and Cylance, to name a few. Our startup ecosystem is also vibrant with $600 million in venture capital investment made in 2016 by new technology and life science companies.

The Greater Irvine Chamber’s economic development team is hard at work attracting new investment to the greater Irvine area as well. Just last month, our team secured Protempo, a New Zealand-based technology company, establishing their U.S. headquarters in Irvine. It will account for approximately $50 million in revenue.

Irvine’s innovative culture attracts companies from around the globe. In support, the Greater Irvine Chamber led its first Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) mission to the U.K. this year to encourage foreign life science companies to establish a presence or expand in Irvine and Orange County. As a result of that trip, the Chamber will host several organizations here Oct. 28 – 31. Raremark, One Nucleus, Association of British Healthcare Industries, and the Toronto Research Institute will attend the Medical Technology Innovation Forum as guests of OCTANe and will be treated to a tour of Edwards Lifesciences and UCI Applied Innovation hub, among other stops highlighting our thriving life science ecosystem.

There are 484 life science companies in Irvine, including R&D, medical equipment manufacturing, pharmaceutical, drug makers, medical device, healthcare, medical and diagnostic labs, scientific and technology instruments manufacturing, biotech, and medical software, making Irvine the third most popular city in California for this segment of the economy.

More than 60 percent of the IT and life science companies in Orange County are headquartered in the greater Irvine area. Orange County is the fifth most popular destination in California for IT, and, combined with Los Angeles, Orange County graduates more engineers than any other U.S. metro area.

Nearly 2,000 foreign-owned enterprises in Orange County provide more than 114,000 jobs for the region, providing workers with $7.1 billion in wages last year. And, Irvine accounts for a large portion of those figures.

Given these facts, it’s no small wonder Irvine was named among the best cities by the FDI Magazine’s American Cities of the Future Awards 2017 – 2018 in the following categories: 1. #2 small city — overall 2. Top 10 small cities — human capital and lifestyle 3. Top 10 small cities — economic potential

Of course, our efforts to attract domestic investment remain a major priority. As a part of the leadership team working to attract Amazon HQ2, the Chamber is hard at work on an effort that will solidify Irvine’s status as an economic powerhouse well into the future.

Needless to say, the Greater Irvine Chamber is not “your grandfather’s chamber.” We’re paving the way for this region’s economic future and moving at the speed of business.

To learn more about Irvine’s economic ecosystem, visit

See the article as it published in the Oct. 23, 2017 issue of the Orange County Business Journal:

Bryan Starr is the President and CEO of the Greater Irvine Chamber, Economic Development, and Destination Irvine

Category: Chamber News

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