Sunstone Management logoAn opportunity for municipal governments to get some extra help developing strategies for economic development based on tech startups and high-tech jobs is available now.

The second annual Sunstone Economic Development Challenge @ USC Price is signing up participating cities now. There is a prospective participant city orientation scheduled on Zoom from 1 to 2 p.m. PST Thursday, Aug. 17. To participate, reach out to Ryan Phong at for the Zoom details.

In this creative partnership, students at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy are partnered with economic development leaders in area municipalities. The student teams work with those leaders to explore how to support and grow early-stage technology startups and create jobs in various sectors in those cities.

That process starts in September, with the beginning of the new semester at USC. It culminates in April with presentations from the student teams, who are vying for cash prizes. Those presentations offer cities outlines for new economic development initiatives.

The Sunstone Community Fund, a donor-advised fund, sponsors the competition.

This government-education-private business partnership has been key for Sunstone Management since the beginning. Sunstone CEO John Keisler, a USC MPA graduate himself, has helped foster partnerships with the California State University and University of California systems. He said the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy was the perfect partner to bring municipal governments into the mix.

“The USC Price School is one of the oldest and strongest public sector training programs in the nation dedicated to shaping the future of local government leadership,” Keisler said. “Sunstone Management is proud to partner with universities like USC to identify innovative economic development strategies for cities through programs like the Sunstone Economic Development Challenge @ USC Price.”

The inaugural program resulted in proposals for Long Beach, Irvine, El Segundo, and Garden Grove. Phong said the program this year can include five cities. For details about the program, visit the Challenge website.

For more, contact Phong at soon.