Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator
Los Angeles, California

(April 17, 2023)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Hi, everyone.  Good afternoon.  Have a seat.  I think there are chairs.  Yes.  (Laughs.)
Thank you, Evette, for that.  It has been my absolute joy to be here, and I could actually spend days here. 
Matt, as I told you, I am so excited about the work that you and this team are doing here. 
And as many of you know, I travel the country and I also travel the world.  And truly, the work that is happening at LACI is a model — a worldwide model around what happens when we invest in talent, when we invest in innovation, when we invest in people who have really great, smart ideas born out of an understanding and a belief that we can create things that have never been done before and it will forever change the world. 
You know, I think about innovation as being the pursuit of that, right?  The pursuit of what makes us more efficient, more accurate, faster — right? — more relevant to the needs of the people.  We don’t engage in innovation because we’re bored with things the way they’ve been.  It’s the pursuit of doing things better than we have done and seeing what is possible, unburdened by what has been.  And that’s the very work that’s happening right here. 
And congratulations to you, Matt, and the whole team for what you are doing.
I had the privilege of — of touring the facility and speaking with entrepreneurs like Evette.  And they’re solving problems.  They’re solving problems. 
What you’re doing in terms of the incubation without — with the eye to and intentionality of also ensuring that we’re also including people who historically have not been invested in by VCs, and looking at it through the lens of life experience and race and gender.  And what you’re doing then is really fueling innovation, understanding that the more people that are participating with the diversity of life experience and perspective, the more interesting and relevant and exciting the innovation will be.  All of that is happening right here. 
So I’ve met with entrepreneurs during this brief tour, and I’m coming back — I’m telling you, I’m coming back — who, through life experience, understand: Hey, we have plenty of members of our community who need to get where they need to go in terms of transportation but may not be able to afford a car, but they have needs.  They have life needs just like anyone.  And they also have an interest in investing in transportation in a way that it is going to produce clean energy, that it is not going to contribute in terms of carbon — right? — and pollution — what it is going to do to bring down greenhouse gas emissions. 
And so we have people here who have been benefited by the work of LACI who are doing creative things like piloting an approach that is about electric bicycles to inner-city communities to get it to parents, to get it to individuals. 
And guess what?  It’s like they say: You build it, and they will come.  You’re building it, and they’re right there. 
Stand up, young man.  Mr. Jones, wasn’t it?  Come with — the work you’re doing.  (Applause.)
It’s so exciting.  He showed me his bike.  He’s got an electric one.  He’s got a regular one.  Right?  Giving it to folks on a — at a rent-free lease for a month.  And then they’re going to check on the bikes after they’ve given them out in the community, and people are using them and logging hundreds of miles on the bike. 
You’re showing that when you build it — if you have some sense of what folks need and you build it and you invest in their aspirations for their lives, it’ll work in a way that is an approach that we haven’t seen before but is sorely needed. 
You know, this is the thing that I really am so excited about when we think about this new economy we’re all building — a clean energy economy. 
Because, yes, we have very clear goals: We want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  We want to save this precious planet of ours.  We want clean air.  We want clean water.  We want to invest in innovations that also will make the cost of living for families less expensive.  But it’s also about tapping into things that communities have long wanted, but these things have just not been available.  So we’re really doing a lot here.  We’re really doing a lot here. 
And I want to thank SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman for being here.  (Applause.)  She and I have travelled the country together and highlight the work of our small businesses and our entrepreneurs. 
You know, I think that when we think about the SBA, it’s about small businesses, and — but entrepreneurs are also small businesses.  I’ve started to use the two phrases together, because we don’t want to leave anyone out because they’re the same kind of people.  They actually are the same people.  So I want to thank you, Administrator Guzman.
I want to thank Supervisor Hilda Solis for being here and all the work you are doing.  (Applause.)
Matt was talking extensively about the partnerships.  It is about public-private partnership.  It’s about nonprofit.  It’s about the private sector.  It’s about government from local, state, and federal levels having the ability to see what’s possible, having the courage to — to invest in these — these new approaches.  And I want to thank you. 
And then I want to thank the leaders from labor who are here, in particular IBEW, for the work that you do — (applause) — in terms of skilling — upskilling and training. 
We’ve talked extensively about the fact that, you know, as I travel the country and as I travel the world, I meet with folks who are thinking about investing in a clean energy economy as manufacturers, as those who are doing the training and the apprenticeships. 
And one of the points that we discussed during our tour this afternoon is I think we, collectively, as a community, should also challenge ourselves when we’re thinking about the jobs that we are creating — because we’re creating a lot of jobs, right? — but think about the jobs in a way that I would challenge us to not just think of a title.  I would challenge us to not just think of a degree, but to devi- — define and advertise the job based on the skill that the job requires.  
Because for the private sector, for the employers who are feeling challenged in many places that “is the workforce there?” — the workforce will come if they’re really clear about the skill that they need to develop to do the job.  
And so, let’s think a little bit more about how we are defining the jobs based on the skill because that will also then speak to the educators to know what they should be teaching to meet the demand and the need.  And it will speak to the folks who already have the skills, who think this new economy isn’t about them.  
We were just talking, for example, about the work that is happening — where are you? — we — we were talking about the work that you’re doing to convert diesel trucks to clean energy.  There you are.  Stand and wave.  Let everybody see you.  (Applause). 
And transitioning, you know, this diesel truck that’s on its last wheels — (laughs) — I got jokes — (laughter) — and transitioning it to give it 10 more years of its lifespan, transitioning it to being an electric vehicle.
And, as we were discussing it, because he’s talking about not only doing the work of transitioning it but the folks who are going to actually do the actual work — right? — of changing its composition so that it can then be an electric vehicle, well, we would have all traditionally called that person a “mechanic.”  But now we’re calling the person who’s doing the EV stuff a “technician.”  It’s the same skill.
So, again, let’s think about this in that way that — you know, we got some fancy new titles, but we are talking about — we’re talking about folks who have the skills who have been doing the work for years and generations, and their skills transfer into this new economy.
It’s so exciting.  It’s so exciting.  (Applause.)
So, I want to talk specifically then about what you’re doing here at LACI. 
So, as I mentioned, it really is a worldwide model.  I just — many of you know — took a trip to the continent of Africa, and I met with some incubators there.  And the work that is happening here is a model, literally, for folks around the country who are investing in entrepreneurs, small businesses to do this work in the clean energy economy.
And this place then, for those who don’t know, is basically a one-stop shop.  They are doing everything from training up the folks to have the skills to work the jobs that are in the clean energy economy to investing in the entrepreneurs.  I think you — at least $50,000 of — of investment in what folks need in terms of entrepreneurs is in seed funding. 
The work that is happening here is also about access to capital — something I’ve worked on for years, even when I was in the Senate — what we need to do to expand access to capital for our entrepreneurs, our small businesses, our community-based brilliant people.  Because so often, when they go to what we would otherwise refer to as a “big bank,” the folks who are there don’t necessarily understand the talent, the skills, the capacity, or the need of individual communities.  
But there are a certain type of funders, like what’s happening at LACI, who do get it and then invest in it.  (Applause.)  And that’s what produces what we’re seeing here today.  
And then I just want to talk about — again, back to the point about the interconnection between the work that is happening here, local government, state and federal; the work that Administrative Guzman knows that we’ve been doing at the federal level; and the work that President Biden cares so deeply about: is ensuring that we boost where we need to be as a domestic economy in a way that invests in where it is all heading.  And that is about a clean energy economy.
We are very proud that we, through the Inflation Reduction Act, combined with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, have invested what we — and then actually some of the other things, including what we have done in terms of CHIPS and Science — the CHIPS and Science Act — we have calculated that we are investing in the area of $1 trillion dollars over the next 10 years.  (Applause.)
And just imagine what that means as the boost, as the leapfrog into where we need to be, because we’ve lost some time over the last few years. 
And then think about it also in terms of: That’s the — the federal government piece — and what that will do to spur private investment; and the synergy and what that will create; and the exponential growth of financial investment, which means an investment in human capacity; and the innovation to get us where we can be.
So we are all sitting in these positions at this very moment in time, and I think history is going to show this was a pivotal moment. 
And for us to all be here with the excitement that we have and the motivation and, dare I say, the ambition, I think, generations from now, they will look back at this moment and see that it truly was an inflection point.
So let us just continue to lead with the ambition, to promote and invest in the aspirations, and to do all of this in the best interest of the health, safety, and wellbeing of this beautiful planet.
I thank you all very much.  Have a good afternoon.  Thank you.  (Applause.)


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