Thursday, November 17 – Redding, CA – When 1st District State Senator Ted Gaines visited the Shasta Venture Hub recently, he found himself “very impressed with the sophistication and collaboration in the community.” He explained, “If you’re a new startup you can get help from angel investors, and you can access the necessary skills to start your business – all under the same roof and all at an affordable price.” He believes that the efforts of the Shasta Economic Development Corporation, in association with the Chamber to help startups flourish, could provide an “opportunity to see good-paying jobs in the Redding area, which has seen setbacks as logging has reduced over the decades.”

He also referred to Cloud Wise Academy, which is also located in the Shasta Venture Hub, as a “very innovative idea. It’s an opportunity to give skill sets to locals to transform their careers, and allow them access to a whole new world. They can start businesses with their new knowledge and skills, and hopefully hire even more people.”

An alternative to Silicon Valley

Senator Gaines represents the most rural district in California. Recently, rural areas have struggled with changes brought in part by the technology that has made globalization possible – the Internet. Yet Senator Gaines sees the Internet as the key to rural salvation as well. “A whole new world has opened up for people all over the nation, but especially for those in rural areas,” he says.  “These areas can now offer an alternative to Silicon Valley.”

“Silicon Valley is a tech hub,” the Senator continues. “It has all the ingredients for creating  new startup companies: The knowledge, the capital, and the geographic location. These are huge advantages. But the people who have been in Silicon Valley are starting to look at areas where they can actually afford to buy a house, where they can have a little slower lifestyle and less traffic, and where they can raise a family. That’s Redding.”

Senator Gaines is not just an elected official – he is also the owner of an independent insurance agency. He knows full well the steps business owners need to take to adapt to changes in technology. “We’ve seen that the Internet is now an interactive version of the Yellow Pages,” he explains. “If we want to communicate with individuals who are looking for insurance, we not only need to have a website, but we need to make that website friendly to customers. Last year we made our site mobile-friendly, and we did search engine optimization. The phone started ringing! It’s really amazing what you can do with the right tools.”

Business is not the enemy

As a staunch fiscal conservative, Senator Gaines maintains that it is the responsibility of business owners, not the government, to grow the economy in a community. “If I own a business in Redding, it is to my advantage to make sure we are creating jobs, making the economy as a whole grow, and bringing in an infusion of youth. That is the next generation that’s going to bolster the economy locally.”

The responsibility of elected officials, he holds, is to “get out of the way.” As a member of the state legislature and a business owner, he admits he has been frustrated by the legal red tape in California. “We put up barriers that make things a lot more difficult,” he remarks. “We’ve got small businesses who are now going to have to be looking at increasing this minimum wage every year until it gets up to 15 dollars an hour. Are they going to be robust enough that they can sustain that hit on their bottom line? You can also look at the amount of litigation that occurs in California. That is another expense, another cost, another barrier to entry for small businesses.”

“Not to mention the regulatory environment,” he adds. “Not to mention the very high taxes. I try to remain ever vigilant on the issue of keeping taxes as low as possible in the state of California.”

“Business is not the enemy,” Senator Gaines concludes. “Business is the driver of the economy. It’s what fills the coffers. It’s what fills the treasury so government services can be provided. We want a government that works side-by-side with business. Every day I fight for the rights of small businesses, and every day they’re being diminished. It’s been a real struggle.”

Pockets of optimism

Regardless of these obstacles, Senator Gaines is highly optimistic about some areas of the state. “There are pockets of optimism in rural California, because I think the local government ‘gets it.’ They can provide incentive packages, they can regulate in such a way that it’s easier for a start-up business to get going. They can provide micro-loans for new businesses. There’s a lot of opportunity in places like Redding. And we have a huge market here! While it’s difficult to do business in California, we have a huge market to sell to.”

Shasta County, in his estimation, also has unique advantages in its journey to become a powerful, competitive tech hub. “Shasta County is a beautiful area,” he says, “with the crystal-clear Sacramento River running through it. Great agriculture, attractive rural flavor. And it has the I-5 Corridor right here! The infrastructure is here to easily transport materials. It’s got an airport. A lot of successful folks from Silicon Valley have second homes in my district.”

Overall, Senator Gaines is looking forward to the future of areas like Shasta County. “We have to remain ever-vigilant about the cost of doing business in California. But there’s a lot of opportunity there for growth and opportunity for small technology startups that began as just an idea to flourish and transform the community. It’s really exciting.”

# # #

Cloud Wise Academy was founded in 2016 to teach high-demand technology skills. The Academy works closely with businesses in the area to make sure that the courses teach skills that companies are hiring for. Cloud Wise Academy is also related to Project Hometown, which helps Shasta County businesses sell their products online, and the Cornerstone Marketing Center, which helps businesses diagnose and resolve their web marketing conundrums.

Cloud Wise Academy
4300 Caterpillar Road
Redding, CA 96003
Joe Mckenna, CEO, Cloud Wise Academy
530.515.9851 [email protected]

Subscribe for Updates

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This