THE BLOG

What Corporations, Investors and Obama Have in Common

08/19/2011 12:50 pm ET | Updated Oct 19, 2011

With the recent stock market roller coaster and the credit rating blues of yester-week, Obama and political, business and economic leaders from coast to coast have had plenty of things to say and fingers to point. When it comes to the economy, opposing sides of the aisle just can't seem to sync up on the right path forward. But one thing everyone can agree upon is jobs, and that we need 'em, and fast.

For years now President Obama has been optimistically hammering home that new "green jobs" in clean technology is the future, a message that's substantiated in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley more so than anywhere else in the country.

This region's success hasn't gone unnoticed by Washington. Earlier in August, the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness met in Silicon Valley with top business leaders in an attempt to gather insights into some of the recent financial successes the region has boasted. Silicon Valley -- unlike a lot of the country -- is hiring, with technology and clean tech sectors leading the way in new job creation. But can the region really help bolster employment opportunities outside the area or, at the very least, offer some solid advice to help the rest of the nation out of our slump? The answer could be yes -- in a roundabout way.

Venture capitalists and investors have enjoyed the fruit of the San Francisco region for years by supporting tech and sustainability breakthroughs -- and with each start-up investment that makes it big also supporting their kids' trust funds. The region does have something unique to offer, and now some of the world's top (out-of-state) corporations are catching on by hitching their wagons to lucrative bay area partnerships. These companies are realizing the win-win potential of such alliances: financial gain coupled with a side of thought leadership.

Just last week, Detroit-based automotive leader Ford Motor Company looked to San Jose-based SunPower Corporation to supply an industry-first solar charging option to its full line of upcoming electrified vehicles -- an alignment that is helping differentiate the company amid an increasingly competitive electric car market. With this announcement the automaker is helping create green jobs, while at the same time receiving some of that innovation glow that resides with bay area clean tech leadership.

Earlier this year, Vermont-based Seventh Generation, Inc. bolstered its green creds by rolling out a new line of eco-packaging through a partnership with Ecologic Brands, an Oakland-based start up with the latest sustainable packaging design ideas and products.

Examples like these are becoming more and more common, and its paying off for those forward-thinking companies who are looking west to accommodate evolving consumer demands.

Corporate America is taking note that they don't have to break the bank or drown in R&D costs to evolve as leaders in sustainability or technology -- they just need to find the right partners, and Northern California is a good place to start looking.