Announced in late May by California Governor Gavin Newsom, a $3.6 million state award to BEAM Circular will support the BioEconomy, Agriculture, and Manufacturing (BEAM) Initiative. The award is one of eight across California announced on May 24, totaling $39 million, which will serve as economic development pilot projects funded through the state’s Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF).
BEAM Circular, incubated at Opportunity Stanislaus, is a new hub for the circular bioeconomy working to generate high quality jobs and advance environmental solutions by scaling innovations that transform waste streams from food and agricultural activities into valuable materials and products. Anchored in the North San Joaquin Valley, a tri-county region consisting of Merced, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus counties, BEAM Circular is building a portfolio of public-private projects that accelerate the bioeconomy through innovation, talent development, infrastructure, capital, and collaboration.
The award builds upon the momentum of a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation announced on May 11 for CBIO Collaborative, a partnership led by BEAM Circular, UC Merced, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to develop a regional innovation engine for the circular bioeconomy. The BEAM Initiative was catalyzed by the inclusive economic development planning efforts of Stanislaus 2030, which led to a $10 million commitment from Stanislaus County to advance regional leadership in bioindustrial manufacturing.
“Opportunity Stanislaus is thrilled to be incubating BEAM Circular because of the strong alignment between our work and theirs,” said David White, Chief Executive Officer of Opportunity Stanislaus. “This funding is a step toward our shared goal of creating high-quality, high-growth jobs in our region and shows that our area has made innovation a priority. There is a ton of support from businesses for projects like these that elevate our county while showcasing its commitment to collaboration and environment stewardship.”
The award to BEAM Circular will support a variety of pilot programs, including innovation vouchers for businesses looking to grow their operations in the region; technical assistance to support local participants in the bioindustrial manufacturing supply chain, such as feedstock suppliers and bioproduct consumers; a matching grant program to support commercialization activities; a bioindustrial manufacturing startup competition and business accelerator; a bioeconomy careers exposure project; and a community benefits program that will engage local community members and researchers in exploring opportunities for low-income and vulnerable communities in the circular bioeconomy.
“This award demonstrates California’s commitment to the circular bioeconomy as a key part of the path to a clean economy that supports all workers,” noted Karen Warner, Chief Executive Officer of BEAM Circular. “The North San Joaquin Valley is leading the way on innovative solutions that reduce waste, create a more resilient agricultural system, advance climate priorities, and generate greater access to prosperity for local residents.”