Innovation Awards


We recognize that the East Bay is a world-class leader when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship.


The East Bay Economic Development Alliance along with the San Francisco Business Times are continuing to celebrate and award those companies that most contribute to the East Bay's culture of innovation. Our awards ceremony highlights the competitive advantages of the East Bay and showcases outstanding companies who embrace innovation in their manufacturing, products, services, design and information. The East Bay’s assets attract innovative businesses to locate and grow successfully in this region.

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Advanced Manufacturing

Companies that have been manufacturing physical products in the East Bay for the previous year are eligible. The innovation should be on the HOW the product is made (vs. the design of the product itself). This innovation could be in the use of advanced manufacturing technologies or techniques, manufacturing process or business optimization, etc.

Catalyst of the Year

An individual, organization, or company that is currently transcending organizational boundaries to pull East Bay assets together in new ways and/or catalyze new thinking or processes.

Clean Tech

Products, services, and processes that harness renewable materials and energy sources, dramatically reduce the use of natural resources, and cut or eliminate emissions and wastes.


Private sector initiatives that pioneer innovative connections between the world of work and the world of learning to develop a more adaptable workforce.

Engineering & Design

The use of science, math, or artistry to solve problems or plan or present something in a new way.


Agriculture, viticulture, or food and/or beverage design, production, or distribution.

Information and/or Communication Technology

The development, implementation, and maintenance of new computer hardware and software systems or the organization and communication of information electronically in new ways.

Life Sciences

Companies in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies or devices, medical equipment, life systems technologies, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals. This category also includes healthcare: providers of diagnostic, preventive, remedial, and therapeutic services such as doctors, nurses, hospitals and other private, public, and non-profit organizations.



Our judging committees are composed of industry leaders, experts, and influencers in their respective fields. Each submittal is judged by these committees using both their own knowledge and information submitted on the iAwards nomination forms.


To qualify as a nominee:

  • Be a for-profit business or not-for-profit organization, with headquarters or operations in Alameda or Contra Costa Counties.

  • Have achieved an innovation in the East Bay that is being used for new and improved products, processes, services, systems or methods.


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About the nomination process

Q: How was my company/organization nominated?
A: The public nomination process is conducted each year in September. East Bay EDA relies on its member network and its partnership with the San Francisco Business Times to publicize the opportunity. If you are nominated, someone who knows about your innovative activity wants you to get recognition for it.

Q: What does it cost to participate?
A: Nothing. The purpose of this award is to highlight the East Bay’s competitive advantages that attract innovative businesses to locate and grow in the East Bay.

Q: Why do I have to answer questions about my work?
A: Your responses assist the independent panel of experts to gain a clear understanding of your company organization, its activities, and its impact on the region and the industry.

Q: Do I have to tell you about my revenue/earnings?
A: We understand that some information is proprietary. If you feel more comfortable providing a range, that will be helpful. Alternatively, you could say “above” or “below” an amount you feel comfortable disclosing. None of this information will be made public without your approval.

Q: What if I don’t have revenue/earnings?
A: No problem; just tell us how much (or what range) has been invested so far.

Q: What do I get from this nomination?
A: Qualified nominees will be listed in the San Francisco Business Times’ 2019 East Bay Innovation Awards supplement, published for distribution on March 29, 2019 and featured on East Bay EDA’s website for a year. 

About the judging process

Q: What happens next?
A: Independent panels of experts will evaluate each nomination in particular categories. They will select a winner and a finalist who will be notified in December and be recognized at a gala event in March.

Q: Who are the judges?
A: The panels we have assembled are known experts in their field who recognize the importance of celebrating the significant contributors to the East Bay’s unique culture of innovation.

Q: When do I learn if I win?
A: East Bay EDA will notify finalists in December. Winners will be announced at a gala evening event on March 28, 2019 at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

Q: What kinds of recognition will I get if I win?
A: Awardees and finalists will be profiled in a half page article in the San Francisco Business Times’ 2019 East Bay Innovation Awards supplement, published for distribution on March 28.  Awardees will also be featured in an online video that is accessible for one year and featured at East Bay EDA events.  At times, depending upon program focus, awardees and finalists have been interviewed by the media, introduced to foreign trade delegations or invited to participate on panels.

Q: Is there a cash prize?
A: No.  East Bay EDA is a non-profit organization which supports efforts to sustain a thriving regional environment.  East Bay EDA’s event sponsors provide gifts to the awardees with a cash value of over $500.

About East Bay EDA

Q: What is East Bay EDA?
A:  East Bay EDA is a high level, cross sector membership organization serving Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, with 28+ years of leadership and collaborative history.  East Bay EDA is recognized as an economic development organization (EDO) by the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development, and impacts regional growth through services to businesses and cities as well as through its research, advocacy, strategic connections and regional marketing.  East Bay EDA is the regional voice and networking resource for strengthening the economy, building the workforce and enhancing the quality of life in the East Bay.

Q: Why is East Bay EDA doing this?
A: The East Bay Innovation Awards draws attention to the assets of the East Bay that support innovation and business success.  The celebration also provides attention to outstanding innovative companies and organizations to increase their market, position them for investment and partnerships, and help them grow to create quality jobs.

Q: Who is supporting this effort?
A: East Bay appreciates the support of its members and sponsors of this event. You can learn more about our sponsors on our website.