ESHIP Long Beach engages grassroots and entrepreneur leaders in efforts to grow connectivity, collective impact, and community alignment in support of the City of Long Beach Economic Development Blueprint, as well as its goals for economic inclusion and entrepreneurship. The ESHIP Long Beach initiative is being supported by the City of Long Beach.

We’d love to get you plugged into the exciting work and collaborations emerging in your local ESHIP Community! Sign-up to receive info about upcoming opportunities and stay in-the-know with monthly updates.

Meet ESHIP Long Beach Community Liaison

Laura Merryfield

Laura works in Long Beach, California to grow the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and to build best practices across all ESHIP communities. Most recently, they completed a master’s degree in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, with research and fieldwork spanning equity in disaster response, cross-sectoral partnership effectiveness, and civic innovation.

Laura has deep roots in Long Beach, having grown up in the city and its schools and spent years in the nonprofit sector. They worked on community organizing campaigns around health equity, education justice, and immigrant rights with both Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach (now Long Beach Forward) and the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition.

Laura is especially proud of their work with the community-based Long Beach Language Access Coalition to advocate for and partner in the implementation of the city’s Language Access Policy, allowing Long Beach residents and community members from all backgrounds to have greater voice in local governance. Laura holds a BA in development studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Meet ESHIP Long Beach Government Liaison

Blair Cohn

Blair works in Long Beach to grow the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and serves as the primary liaison to the City of Long Beach staff. He also serves as a project manager to support the local ESHIP Council membership and projects that emerge from their work.

Born and raised in Long Beach, Blair attended Cubberley, Marshall, and Millikan schools. He studied business/marketing at USC and began his extensive event planning experience booking shows for local bands out of his dorm room. In 2001, Blair co-founded International City Racing, which organizes the annual Long Beach Marathon. 

Currently, Blair is the executive director of the Bixby Knolls Business Association, which has helped to revitalize the business corridors and neighborhoods.

Blair is a co-chair of the Council of Business Association; is on the Economic Development Commission and EDC Loan Committee; sits on the board for the Grand Prix Foundation, Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute, and Long
Beach Economic Partners; was a member of Mayor Garcia’s Transition Team; and was a two-time mentor with Operation Jump Start.

This Kauffman Foundation initiative is led by a collaborative council of individuals who represent different stakeholders from across the community. Forward Cities is managing the implementation of this effort as a grantee of the Kauffman Foundation.

For more information contact:

Laura Merryfield
ESHIP Long Beach Community Liaison
[email protected]

Blair Cohn
ESHIP Long Beach Government Liaison
[email protected]

Eric Renz-Whitmore
Director of ESHIP Communities
[email protected]