UrbanBloc, Porifera Winners at 2020 East Bay Innovation Awards

By SLNext
In Uncategorized
Oct 16th, 2020

This year’s East Bay Innovation Awards, presented by the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, looked a little different from past years. As with so many events this year, the gala went virtual, broadcasting a streaming experience with a live host, and live music from Tony! Toni! Tone! In addition to celebrating innovation and innovative businesses in the East Bay, the event also commemorated the 30th Anniversary of the East Bay Economic Development Alliance.

San Leandro has been consistently well-represented at the East Bay Innovation Awards over the past several year, and this year two woman-owned San Leandro businesses won in their categories.

UrbanBloc won in the Built Environment category, with CEO Martha Trela accepting the award on behalf of herself and co-founder Jerry Jameson and the whole UrbanBloc team. UrbanBloc began manufacturing at the Gate in San Leandro in 2014, transforming used shipping containers into vibrant spaces for eating, shopping, working, or playing. In 2016, UrbanBloc expanded to its current, dedicated space at 2350 Alvarado Street. UrbanBloc’s unique vision has been embraced in the Bay Area, most notably by the San Francisco Giants, whose pop-up village, the Yard at Mission Rock, has attracted much press, and positive response from the public. The company has completed several projects in the area, which can be viewed HERE. UrbanBloc has been an active member of the San Leandro business community for many years, hosting students for East Bay Manufacturing Day, and serving on the Board of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce.

Porifera won the Sustainability category, with CEO Olgica Bakajin accepting the award on behalf of the Porifera team.  In the East Bay for 11 years, Porifera has called San Leandro home since 2017. Porifera manufactures proprietary forward osmosis membranes and provides process solutions to a variety of industries. Porifera’s innovative Forward Osmosis solutions enable industries to efficiently extract water and retain only the most valuable components of their products. This unique technology facilitates the reduction of water waste, improvements to water reuse, and more efficient processing solutions to create better products using less energy. The company serves more than 100 customers in over 23 countries. Porifera’s products are applicable in the food/beverage, manufacturing, oil/gas, resource recovery, municipal water reuse, and agriculture industries. The inventive process can be used to reclaim wastewater as well as concentrate solids for re-purposing.

You can learn more about these businesses from the recent San Francisco Business Times insert about the awards (https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/paid-content/east-bay-innovation-awards/2020), as well as the City of San Leandro insert from last summer (https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/partners/transforming-into-a-next-gen-city).

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