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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Big Picture San Diego Blog

June 13, 2014

San Diego’s story is one of innovation and collaboration. Not only is San Diego home to the world’s smartest company and the premier telecommunications giant, but it is also at the forefront of diverse industries ranging from cybersecurity to genomics, sports and active lifestyle and cleantech. The region’s startup community is thriving and it is full of talented people solving some of the world’s toughest problems.

But don’t just take it from us. According to Bruce Katz of the Brooking’s Institution, San Diego embodies the metropolitan revolution. Katz, Mark Cafferty of San Diego Regional EDC and San Diego-based Genomics Pioneer J. Craig Venter are shown in a video below talking about how San Diego can be a model of growth for global regions.

 

 

As the world’s population pivots to cities, metropolitans have become with large-scale innovation, quality jobs and global economic opportunities. The top 100 U.S. metro areas occupy 12 percent of the nation’s landmass, yet they generate 68 percent of jobs, 75 percent of national GDP, and are home to 65 percent of the population. Part of San Diego’s success lies in its ability to work together to move the innovation ecosystem forward.

“We have to collaborate to compete,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC. “We have companies - that many would perceive as competitors - working together to secure San Diego’s cyber infrastructure. We have public/private collaborations working to increase the region’s global footprint. We have everyone from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies talking to one another about elevating the region on a global scale.”

The fact that San Diego is number one or two in biotechnology has created a huge industry here,” said Genomics Pioneer Craig Venter. “The universities provide a huge talent pool and so we found hiring new highly-trained people very easy.”

San Diego’s participation in the series is part of a deliberate approach to better tell the region’s dynamic story and cement its global identity.

As Bruce Katz says, “You don’t attract investment from around the world unless you’re really good at what you do….and that’s the San Diego story.”

We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

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May 29, 2014

On May 28, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the first 12 communities that have been selected to participate in the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP). Joining forces with many partners across the region, San Diego is included in the Southern California Designation, which was led by a team out of the University of Southern California Center for Economic Development.

The IMCP program is an initiative designed to revolutionize the way federal agencies leverage economic development funds by encouraging communities to develop comprehensive economic development strategies that will strengthen their competitive edge for attracting global manufacturing and supply chain investments.

“The 12 Manufacturing Communities announced today represent a diverse group of communities with the most comprehensive economic development plans to attract business investment that will increase their competitiveness,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “IMCP is a critical part of our ‘Open for Business Agenda’ to strengthen the American manufacturing sector and attract more investment to the United States. Innovative programs like IMCP encourage American communities to work together to craft  strong, clear, strategic plans to attract manufacturing investment and jobs to transform themselves into globally competitive commercial hubs.”

So what exactly does this mean for San Diego and the Southern California region? As home to the world’s largest concentration of military personnel and with more than 80 percent of the state’s aerospace workers, the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership of Southern California Manufacturing Community (AMP SoCal) will concentrate on further transforming the aerospace and defense industry. Home to companies including Northrop Grumman, the Southern California region is positioned to be in the vanguard of  future avionics and aerospace industries.

Of course, you can’t become a leader in aerospace and defense without the workforce to get you there. Part of the strategy will involve a significant workforce training component that will partner with local colleges and universities to streamline certificate programs. The strategy also focuses on building a supplier network, research and innovation, infrastructure and site development. The strategy will also focus on creating an export acceleration workshop, which dovetails nicely into the Global San Diego Export plan, which was released in conjunction with the Brookings Institution this year.

On the local front, the partnership involves the City of San Diego, CONNECT, UC San Diego, Cleantech San Diego, San Diego East County Economic Development Council, San Diego Workforce Partnership and San Diego Regional EDC.

Following the success of last year’s MFG Day, on Oct. 3, many of the partners listed above will team up with local companies as they open their doors to the public to showcase an industry that supports nearly 90,000 local jobs. Stay tuned for more details.

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May 20, 2014
San Diego Digital Ambassadors Everybody recognizes San Diego’s enviable weather, but one of our greatest competitive strengths lies in the people who call this place home. San Diego is full of really smart people solving hard problems, making cool things and changing lives. This is the story we need to tell.
 
So, we've gone straight to the source. The videos below are part of our broader workforce talent attraction and retention efforts. They are not branded to EDC. We encourage you to share the videos on social media using the hashtag #GoSanDiego and stay tuned for information about a new talent attraction website, vimeo channel and our digital ambassadors program.

Tweet Worthy:

  • "We were in Vegas, but we saw a huge opportunity here...so we moved our company to DT SD"
  • Why SD? "We wanted to be around companies we could collaborate with & bounce ideas off of"

In search of opportunity and quality of life, Brandisty co-founders Alex Rolek and Michael Sacca decided to move their company from Las Vegas to San Diego. What they found in San Diego is an attainable quality of life and a growing startup community that fosters collaboration. 

Meet Michael Sacca, Brandisty from GoSanDiego on Vimeo

Check out Brandisty: brandisty.com

 

Tweet Worthy:

  • "I can only see that SD's tech community is going to get bigger and better"
While at UC San Diego, David Fischer became fascinated with home brewing after exposure to the growing San Diego craft beer movement.  Back then, he had an equally fascinating internship as a developer at Qualcomm. After successfully progressing at Qualcomm, he took a job at Amazon in Irvine and commuted via train. Fast forward a few years: David learned of a job opportunity here in San Diego combining two things he loves: programming and craft beer. This is David’s story at TapHunter, one of San Diego’s many growing startups.
 

Meet David Fischer, TapHunter from GoSanDiego on Vimeo.

Check out TapHunter and download the app: TapHunter.com

 

 

 

May 16, 2014

This post is part of an ongoing monthly blog series dedicated to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) monthly employment release.

2014_04_Unemployment

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the April 2014 period. The big headline in this month’s report is that San Diego County's unemployment rate has dropped nearly a full percentage point, down to 6.0 percent from 6.9 percent in March 2014 and 7.2 percent in April 2013. While this number appears encouraging, it is also noteworthy that the labor force lost 25,000 workers. This is the single largest month-to-month drop in the labor force on record (since 2000), and the lowest the labor force has been since October 2011. Meanwhile, the economy added 2,900 nonfarm jobs from March to April, which makes this month's report particularly perplexing. 

There are several possible explanations for this drastic decline in the labor force. First and most commonly, many long-term unemployed have simply given up looking for work or found work outside of the San Diego region. This most likely explains the 16,000 unemployed who exited the labor force. There may also have been less people who decided to enter the labor force, possibly out of lack of confidence in employment opportunities or lack of relevant skills. However, we also saw 9,000 employed persons leave the labor force, presumably because of a combination of retirements, seasonal exits and moves to other regions. It is not uncommon to see the labor force seasonally decline from March to April, just not to this magnitude. 

2014_04_LF

It appears contradictory that despite this massive labor force decline, the economy actually added jobs. It is worth noting that from February to March, the economy added 12,400 jobs while the labor force lost 11,200 workers. This is likely due to a discrepancy in the surveying, since labor force numbers come from household surveys and job numbers come from surveys of businesses. It is also possible that those who were employed found second jobs. The result is likely a mix of all of these factors, which leaves us with an unusual report for April.

As noted, the economy added 2,900 jobs total from March to April 2014. The private sector outperformed by adding 3,400 jobs in the month, with government job decline accounting for the 500 less jobs. Service providing industries added most of the jobs, while we saw job losses from the goods producing industries like construction and manufacturing.

2014_04_Total

The job picture looks even more promising when compared to last year. From April 2013 to April 2014, the economy added 29,000 jobs, a 2.2 percent increase. The private sector added 26,600 jobs over the year and we saw positive growth in the manufacturing and construction industries, which added 1,100 and 4,300 jobs, respectively. The 4,300 construction jobs added constitutes a 7.2 percent increase over the year. We also saw growth in our important traded economies, with leisure and hospitality adding 4,300 jobs and professional, scientific and technical services adding 6,200 jobs.

We will likely need to wait until future job reports to determine if this unusual report is an anomaly or an indication of larger trends. Historically, we have seen the labor force continue to decline or remain relatively flat from April to May, but with the recent major change in labor force amidst job creation, we may see people coming back to the labor force in the coming months.

Our Economic Indicators Dashboard will show how this compares to other US metros and the US total rate when that information is released in the coming weeks.

April 22, 2014

This is the inaugural post of an ongoing monthly blog series dedicated to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) monthly employment release.

2014_03_Total

The California Employment Development Department (EDD)released statewide county employment data on Friday for the March 2014 period. The biggest news coming out of this month’s report is that San Diego County has finally exceeded its historical seasonally unadjusted employment peak set in December 2007. EDD reported that the region now has 1,335,200 non-farm jobs as of March 2014, exceeding the previous peak of 1,333,400 jobs. Economists expected employment to rebound above its pre-recession peak sometime in 2014, and it is encouraging to exceed that mark as early as March.

Private employment, which was reported at 1,100,300 jobs, has yet to exceed its peak of 1,110,100 set in August 2007. However, March 2014 private employment was the second highest ever recorded. The region added 30,100 private industry jobs from March 2013 to March 2014, with 10,600 of those jobs being added from February to March 2014.

2014_03_MFG_CONST

San Diego’s construction and manufacturing industries continue to pick up steam as the economy rebounds from the recession. The construction industry added 2,000 jobs from February to March 2014, and added 5,800 jobs from March 2013 to March 2014. While manufacturing growth was more modest, the industry added 500 jobs from February to March and added 1,200 jobs from the previous year.

Professional and business services added 6,500 jobs from March 2013 to March 2014, the most of any industry in the region. Professional and business services includes much of the innovation economy activity, along with critical service providers like legal services, architecture services and enterprise management. It is also the largest industry in San Diego, employing more than 228,000 as of March 2014. San Diego’s leisure and hospitality industry, otherwise known as tourism, added 6,100 jobs from March 2013 to March 2014, with 3,400 of those jobs added from February to March 2014. Both of these industries had already exceeded their pre-recession peaks in 2013.

2014_03_Unemployment

The county’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 percent in March 2014, down from 7.0 percent in February 2014 and 7.8 percent in March 2013. California’s statewide unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in March 2014, well above San Diego’s posted rate. Our Economic Indicators Dashboard will show how this compares to other US metros and the US total rate when that information is released in the coming weeks.

April 21, 2014

When MIT set out to the name the world’s smartest company in February, they didn’t look to count the number of patents or PHds or even stock gains; instead, they asked themselves whether a company had made strides which have helped redefine its field. The answer was not a company located in Silicon Valley or Seoul or London. The answer was – and still is – right here in San Diego. That company is Illumina.

Founded in 1998, Illumina has not only helped build the genomics field, but also has redefined it. In a time when medicine and medical research are becoming increasingly expensive, Illumina has made personalized medicine more attainable. They have made it feasible to sequence genomes for under $1,000 a patient.

Last week, more than 15 EDC stakeholders got to experience this innovation first hand when they toured Illumina’s UTC headquarters. With its wide array of platforms, Illumina is sought out by researchers and healthcare professionals as well as ancestry companies, such as Ancestry.com and 23 & Me to provide valuable genetic information. Each day, Illumina and its 3,000 global employees- 1,500 in San Diego - work to improve lives around the world by unlocking the power of the genome.

On the tour of Illumina’s campus, guides walked participants through R&D space, on-site manufacturing facilities and a suite of amenities available to Illumina’s employees, including a state-of-the-art fitness center, coffee shops, an amphitheater and the cafeteria, which employees admit is the most effective and efficient meeting space on campus. Collaboration is at Illumina’s core and all of these spaces provide opportunities for employees to exchange information and generate new ideas, developing the next ideas that will fuel Illumina’s growth as a global brand.

As MIT notes when talking about their rankings, “It might sound difficult to define what makes a smart company, but you know one when you see it.” Thanks in part to Illumina, San Diego is showing the rest of the world what smart really means.


April 15, 2014

Jacobs School Research EXPO UCSD

Capital can be a pain point for many entrepreneurs. Despite the odds, many San Diego companies have found funding. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree report, San Diego companies were involved in 23 venture capital deals and received more than $145 million in funding in Q4 of 2013. However, for a variety of reasons, overall venture capital invested in San Diego still took a dip between 2012 and 2013.

A group of alumni of the University of California, San Diego may help change that. They have created a venture capital fund—the Triton Technology Fund—that is specifically focused on commercializing innovations by UC San Diego faculty, students and alumni. (Read the Xconomy story here.)

The Triton Technology Fund will invest in companies affiliated with UC San Diego faculty, students and alumni with innovations in the software, communications, electronics, materials, medical devices and instruments sectors. The goal is to leverage breakthroughs in these areas to provide solutions for business-to-business enterprises.

“Commercializing university research requires external expertise and investment. The Triton Technology Fund is going to accelerate the success of our innovators by injecting crucial resources into our entrepreneurism and commercialization initiatives here at the Jacobs School of Engineering and across all of UC San Diego and its alumni networks,” said Albert P. Pisano, Dean of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering in a statement announcing the fund.

The university is a breeding ground for ideas and innovation. To date, UC San Diego faculty and alumni have been credited with forming more than 500 startup companies. Some of these innovations can be seen in action this Thursday when the Jacobs School of Engineering hosts its annual Research Expo event. UC San Diego engineering graduate students will present their latest research at the 200-strong poster session at Research Expo on Thursday April 17 from 2:00 to 4:30 pm on the UC San Diego campus. (You can scan poster titles or search by industry application area online.)

The Jacobs School of Engineering’s Research Expo, now in its 33rd year, also includes ten-minute faculty tech talks covering regenerative medicine, big data, video processing for medical applications, robotics education, wearable sensors, and aerospace safety. Registration is available onsite.

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April 11, 2014
Every quarter, San Diego Regional EDC analyzes key economic metrics that are important to understanding the regional economy and San Diego’s standing relative to other major metropolitan areas in the U.S. This issue covers data from the October 2013 to January 2014 quarter. 
 
In this issue, EDC presents updates on trends in employment, real estate and venture capital, with a special spotlight on the cybersecurity industry in San Diego. The spotlight revealed details of a recent San Diego industry study on the subject, including employment trends and company reactions. 
 
Industry Highlights
 
  • San Diego County’s January 2014 unemployment rate was down 1.6 percentage points from January 2013. 
  • The San Diego region added 25,900 jobs from January 2013 to January 2014. 
  • San Diego had the third lowest foreclosure rate among recorded major U.S. metropolitan areas in January 2014. 
  • Led by the manufacturing industry, industrial tenants absorbed 2.3 million square feet in 2013. 
  • San Diego firms were involved in 23 venture capital deals in Q4 2013 and received more than $145 million in venture capital funding. 
 
Download the complete snapshot
 
 
Brought to you by: Chase Logo
 

Visit our Research Dashboard

April 10, 2014

Brookings Panel in Seattle

 

San Diego is one of only six cities selected to participate in a new pilot program to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the region as part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the renowned Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.

San Diego joined Columbus, Minneapolis, Portland, San Antonio and Seattle in Seattle today to participate in the first working session, where leadership will collaborate with other regions to address the region’s foreign direct investment plan. San Diego’s team is made up of representatives from the City of San Diego, UC San Diego, JPMorgan Chase, Biocom, Qualcomm, GO-Biz and San Diego Regional EDC.

Foreign direct investment has long supported regional economies, not only by infusing capital, but also by investing in workers, strengthening global connections and sharing best business practices. As the world’s largest economy with a stable investment environment, the United States has been a top destination for foreign direct investment and San Diego is looking to ensure it pulls in a significant portion of this FDI.

In San Diego, many small and medium-sized enterprises have pushed their attention towards the issue of capital. As venture capitalists around the U.S. become more selective about companies they invest in, we must look for alternative solutions. FDI is one answer. Although FDI sounds like an elusive term, this means more capital flow to the region as well as more international attention paid to San Diego which has a strong economic payoff.   

Sean Barr, vice president of economic development at EDC, sat on panel today moderated by Amy Liu, senior fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, which discussed establishing a region’s global identity. According to Brookings, “the most globally fluent metro areas demonstrate a combination of an appealing identity, high standards and reputation, and global relevance in specific markets.”

San Diego has many strengths, and one of our admitted struggles is that it’s difficult to form a distinct global identity when we have so many industries of which to be proud. We are home to a thriving biotech sector where companies like Illumina - dubbed the “World’s Smartest Company” - are based. We have a strong defense sector that is second to none. From our telecom industry to our sports innovation and algae biofuels cluster, the region is an innovation hub. One thing that Sean stressed during the panel is that although San Diego loves its sun, we need to be comfortable shedding our strict tourism message and moving beyond “sun and Shamu.” Working with the Brookings Institute to increase San Diego’s share of FDI is one way to do this.

As part of the pilot, San Diego will develop a foreign direct investment market assessment and plan, along with an implementation plan and a policy memo. This work, added to the region’s existing export plan, forms the second core component of a global engagement strategy that will strengthen the region's global economic connections and competitiveness.

San Diego is the only city in California selected for this pilot program and is one of only two cities in the program for which Brookings will be developing and publishing the complete FDI plan.

Here’s what some people are saying about the announcement:

  • City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said: “San Diego’s strong ties to international markets, high-growth industries and culture of innovation mean we have the necessary ingredients to attract foreign direct investment to the region. I am honored Brookings selected San Diego for this pilot program and I look forward to working with the core team  to show that San Diego is open for business.”
     
  • Councilman Mark Kersey, fifth district, City of San Diego said: “San Diego is becoming start-up central and small-medium enterprises will benefit from a regional strategy for attracting foreign direct investment. I’d like to see more companies born global, attracting international investment and competing in worldwide markets.”
     
  • William Bold, senior vice president of government affairs of Qualcomm said:  “The highly educated work force, technology clusters, and location of San Diego already make it a thriving hub of the globalized economy. The Global Cities Initiative will only strengthen San Diego’s attractiveness to foreign investors looking for a solid innovation and high-technology track record. We’re delighted to help with an effort to share with the rest of the world the trade, talent and financial potential to be found here.”
     
  • Brennon Crist, JPMorgan Chase market manager for Middle Market/Commercial Banking in San Diego said: “We’re delighted that  San Diego will be a part of this new pilot – it’s exactly the kind of innovative planning that will ensure our community’s long-term economic success. We have a history of helping businesses connect to global markets and the Global Cities Initiative’s foreign direct investment work brings another level of depth to our region’s efforts to further create jobs, attract capital and grow our economy.”
     
  • Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of metro trade and investment said: “For this pilot, we selected metro areas that are committed to attracting and leveraging foreign direct investment as part of a comprehensive global trade and investment strategy. The six metro areas selected for this round will be strong role models for other regions and represent a growing group of leaders who understand the need to embrace the global market to remain competitive in the 21st century economy.”
     
  •  Joe Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom said: “The region’s global mindset is apparent when you look at the thriving life sciences industry. Companies have long looked to San Diego for its world-class talent pool and abundant research opportunities. San Diego’s new collaboration with Brookings not only means that the region has opportunities to create more jobs, but also that we will be looked at as a role model for other areas looking to embrace the global economy.”

 

 

April 8, 2014
 
San Diego is not Silicon Valley...and that's a good thing. Yes, the weather here is nicer, but that's not the only reason people come here. They come for access to resources, lower cost of living compared to other startup hubs, and of course, talent. Like many other tech founders, Stephan Goss, CEO of Zeeto Media and Jeff Brice, CEO of TrustEgg believe this so much, that they decided to locate their companies here. 
 
There is always room for improvement, but as San Diego's startup community continues to grow, so does the momentum we see to better the region. Take a look at the piece they wrote below for The Daily Transcript.
 
 

Why we chose San Diego over Silicon Valley (appeared in The Daily Transcript on April 7) by StephanGoss and Jeff Brice
It is conventional wisdom that if you want to launch a startup, Silicon Valley is the place to be. The funding, talent and resources are available in spades there. So people have flocked there hoping to become the next Facebook or Google, and some have succeeded.
 
We made a different choice. For us, San Diego was a smarter choice to launch our two businesses, Zeeto Media, an online media company, and TrustEgg, a simple venue to start online trust accounts for kids. The weather was certainly a seductive draw. It’s hard to ignore the climate and laid-back lifestyle of this Southern California city, but that is not why we are here. 
 
Read more in the Daily Transcript....

#GoSanDiego