By Opportunity Zone Magazine Staff

More than 1,000 professionals from around the United States attended the Opportunity Zone Expo in January in downtown Los Angeles to learn and network about Opportunity Zones.

It was standing-room only for many of the expo’s panelist tracks that explored investment and capital raising strategies. The expo hosted 50 panelists from around the United States who spoke on a series of topics that included identifying Opportunity Zones, choosing the best investment, exit strategies, the basics of Qualified Opportunity Funds, capitalizing on opportunities and maximizing public/private cooperation.

The expo was also proud to host 20 sponsors whose booths filled the Exhibitor Hall and provided information on projects, capital raising and partnerships.

During the expo, Ma announced that the Golden State is looking to conform aspects of its tax code with Opportunity Zone legislation in an effort to boost local economies and spur investment.

“We want you to stay here,” Ma told the sold-out expo crowd. “California is open for business.”

Rothfus, the former Pennsylvania congressman, called the Opportunity Zone laws, which were created as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, “what organic, bottom-up economic initiatives are.”

He called on investors to “look for those opportunities where you can make a difference.”

“We’re coaxing capital into these [Opportunity Zone] communities with powerful incentives,” Rothfus added. “If done right, this is going to create returns for the investors in 10 years. They’re incentivized to be there for the long haul.”

Rothfus called the zones “an opportunity to create hope and real change. It’s an opportunity to get more Americans back in the game. Too many people have been marginalized, sidelined in our society.”

He added that there will be the question of whether Opportunity Zones are “some giveaway” or something “truly transformative.”

“It’s up to you how that story is written,” Rothfus concluded. “I’m overwhelmed by what I’m seeing here. The people who came out for this, the folks who organized this, understand what this is. It’s an opportunity to get our fellow citizens back in the game while making sure capital continues to grow. That’s how we’re going to pull ourselves out of this.”

Expo attendees said they were impressed with the Opportunity Zone Expo.

Timothy Trifilo, a partner in CohnReznick’s tax practice, said he came away with a lot of business cards and met many new contacts within the Opportunity Zone community.

“I found the conference to be very impressive in terms of the quality of speakers and panels, the networking that went on, and the venue,” he said.

“Amazing job,” added Lance Growth, chief executive officer and co-founder of Growth 1031. “Everyone there left with a better understanding of the area. I personally gained a lot of perspective to share with my clients. A very large group of San Diego professionals attended, and everyone raved about the connections they made and the great time they had.”

Michael Hines, a regional director with First Foundation Bank, complimented expo founder Ali Jahangiri and his team for a “top-class conference.”

“The content, panelists and sponsors were all amazing,” Hines said.

Disclaimer: Opportunity Zone Expo events and conferences are open to the public and may include persons residing in the U.S. or foreign countries who may be interested in investment opportunities. Attendees, exhibitors and speakers at our events and conferences should consult with their own legal counsel regarding compliance with securities laws for any ongoing or planned securities offerings. Opportunity Zone Expo provides no legal advice concerning compliance with securities laws by attendees, exhibitors and speakers at its conferences, or content on its web sites.