San Francisco mayor uses marketing to vie for bioscience money

The S.F. Mayor is calling a special conference to discuss stem cell research, and he’s timing it to coincide with the pre-election hoopla that will include Proposition 71. “Proposition 71 on the upcoming November ballot is the biggest attempt by a U.S. state to create a

massive medical research effort,”
according to this article in The Examiner. The proposition is asking for $3 billion in human embryonic stem cell research grants and wants to create a state medical research institute, the “California Institute for Regenerative Medicine” with a 29-person governing body of “independent citizens.”

The conference is an effort to put San Francisco in the front lines of the battle for the California bioscience honeypot of $7.8 billion in revenues. The San Francisco Bay Area, says the article, is “where biotechnology was born, venture capitalist money is abundant and The City’s scientific research campus, Mission Bay, lies waiting for new tenants.” The city is even giving new companies payroll tax breaks and easing permit and regulatory red tape.

This battle for favorite son, so to speak, is getting fiercer every week. City governments are getting ever more creative about how to come out ahead. Let’s look at what a bioscience company normally wants:

– easy access to resources (physical and human)

– large pools of suitably educated workers from which to hire, and re-hire, solid employees

– other companies for employees that don’t work out to go to for new learning

– other like-minded companies to network and potentially partner with

– affordable housing for employees of all levels

– superior quality of life for owners, executives and workers

So if all these things are equal (which seldom happens, of course), then it’s about who gets the most creative with incentives (who uses better marketing techniques). Based on all the wisdom of social networking, my guess is that for most business owners, the quality of life will rise to the top as the biggest decision factor (though clearly if everything else is right and owners are persuaded to move somewhere, the quality of life in that location could well improve dramatically just from that influx).

But the key is, if city marketing tricks are powerful enough, the decision could be swayed. This is how marketing makes the world go round.