Comstock's magazine 1218 - December 2018 - Page 93

SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT Even in the internet age, which helps to structure and a regulatory system condu- defy physical geographies, factors like cive to economic growth. By nurturing an resources and infrastructure drive indus- economic environment in which interrelat- tries to “cluster” in a well-defined geo- ed businesses are able to prop each oth- graphic space. These birds of a feather do er up — in its most simple sense, a farm more than socialize; they take advantage begetting a fruit stand begetting a cafe to of a network of opportunities associated service fruit stand patrons — institutions with their industry cluster. like UC Davis, regional governments and Tracy Shafizadeh is director of scientif- economic development organizations can ic communications for Evolve BioSystems, act as an anchor and help encourage inno- a Davis-based spin-out from the UC Da- vation and expand access to capital. vis Food for Health Institute that produc- This year, a study from the Brookings es a probiotic to resolve disruption of the Institute identified the six-county Sacra- gut microbiome in infants for long-term mento region — encompassing El Dorado, health. She sees a wealth of opportunities Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba for businesses like the one she works for in counties — as having a “notable traded the Capital Region. cluster opportunity at the intersection of “The Sacramento region really is this food, agriculture, and technology.” By con- burgeoning hotbed of the food, ag and tinuing to develop the network of resourc- health tech and biotech industry right es that sustain and encourage this cluster, now,” Shafizadeh says. Being in the Da- the report suggests, the entire region will vis area and being able to network and be able to accelerate its rate of growth and cross-pollinate, if you will, with that grow- energize industry. ing segment is incredibly important and Evolve BioSystems is one of a constel- very useful and helpful for us as a growing lation of startups and companies spanning company.” the region working at the crux of health, Since the company first incorporated agriculture, food production and technol- in 2012, Shafizadeh says the network of ogy. Based in Davis, its neighbors include resources surrounding its headquarters BioConsortia, Agrinos, Arcadia Bioscienc- The Bayer CoLaborator is a 3,000-square- foot incubator space (with wet labs) for agtech startups. has been indispensable to the company’s growth and success. Being adjacent to the UC Davis campus allows the company to work collaboratively with its founders and advisers, minutes away from important ac- ademic research shaping the future of the biotech field. Clusters can thrive through the ag- glomeration of complementary business- es and services in ways that an atomized business would struggle to accomplish alone. For clusters to grow organically, though, they require within reach a skilled labor force, access to finance and infra- December 2018 | 93