Life Science Washington is the family potluck you want to be at. How PNW startups can dig in.

Author: Kelly Johnson, Public Relations Specialist

We’ve seen immense growth in Washington State’s life sciences industry over the last decade—generating over $30.1 billion in total economic activity and employing over 40,000 individuals across more than 1,100 life science organizations.

This steady growth was evident as ever at this year’s Life Science Washington’s (LSW) East West Summit, where Washington’s life science leaders put their A+ collaboration skills on display to share everything from pioneering clinical research programs and innovative life-saving medical devices, to manufacturing processes that make all of these components a reality.

The Summit is an annual conference for leaders in the space to foster and strengthen life science organizations, healthcare providers, and public institutions throughout Washington State. The Summit aims to elevate the visibility of life sciences research, discovery, entrepreneurship, and innovation throughout the state and foster cross-state collaboration through information sharing and networking opportunities. 

With so many critical participating players, the life sciences industry, like any other industry, operates most effectively and productively when its founders, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, startups and companies work in partnerships. 

Here are a few key takeaways from the Summit, all sharing the common theme that Washington’s life sciences industry is one that is collaborative, inclusive, and led by incredible cheerleaders of future life science entrepreneurs and leaders. That sense of togetherness and cooperation nurtures a family-like atmosphere that permeates everything from the opening keynote to break-room chats over bottomless coffee.

Don’t hesitate: Washington State has an abundance of free life sciences resources. 

Because business development support and collaboration is imperative to the success of startups, multiple Summit speakers plugged, emphasized, and strongly encouraged founders, entrepreneurs and companies to take advantage of their free resources. To name a few: 

  • The Spokane Public Library offers free access to tools like The Bloomberg Terminal, offering real-time data, market news, in-depth research and analytics, and PitchBook, a leading resource for comprehensive data, research and insights spanning the global capital markets.
  • UW CoMotion partners with entrepreneurs on their innovation journey, providing (often free) tools, connections, and acumen to transform ideas into economic and societal impact, such as innovation trainings, funding and mentorship, licensing support, wet lab space, etc.
  • Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) serves as a source of funding for the life and health sciences research industry in Spokane County. Their initiatives have helped create over 500 jobs and $100 million in total economic activities.

Life Sciences careers aren’t just for scientists. 

Historically, the process of connecting the right humans to the right career path has been complicated, and often a competitive one at that. But conveners such as Life Science Washington are showing up to say that focusing on sustainability and accessibility will not only transform the life science workforce, but the way of the future when it comes to generating family sustaining wage jobs. 

The emerging manufacturing market for life sciences:

The theme of this year’s LSW East West Summit was the expansion of life sciences manufacturing and innovation happening across the state. Because of this, many conversations focused on biomanufacturing as a promising career path for anyone from a HS graduate to PhD – offering opportunities for growth, from production to lifelong careers. Additionally, many manufacturing companies encourage employee acceleration by offering benefits such as paying for continuing education.

Life Sciences in Washington are basically one big family. 

The local life sciences community’s doors are open and there is a seat at the table. They’re prioritizing inclusivity and equity in the life science industry by offering manufacturing job training for a diversity of people groups, livable careers for those without a degree, and DEI training for leaders and their teams.

*A brief anecdote: An audience member asked a panelist if her workforce development ideas could be offered as job training for folks in prison, and every panel member nodded their heads with a resounding ‘yes’ (even jotting the idea in their notebooks while still on stage).

Washington’s life sciences scene exudes a tangible vibe of togetherness – a transparent, common desire for the industry to champion one another. This is evident in the superfluous amount of resources available and the genuine care leaders in the industry dedicate to their work, their teams and those they serve.

For more information on available life sciences resources in Washington State, check out Life Science Washington’s website and upcoming events calendar. 

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