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Economic Development 101

January 22, 2018

More than 230 regional bids later, Seattle-based tech giant Amazon released the top 20 cities that will proceed in the battle for its second North American headquarters (HQ2). San Diego/Chula Vista did not make the cut.
 
In response, EDC president and CEO Mark Cafferty released the following statement:
 
“While disappointed San Diego/Chula Vista did not advance, we are not at all surprised. We knew that this would be a long-shot based on geography and incentive options, but we also know that as a region, San Diego can most definitely compete with others in terms of talent, entrepreneurship, innovation and quality of life.
 
We are proud of the fact that Amazon is already expanding in San Diego and will employ up to 500 developers and engineers in its UTC office. And we are proud of the partnership and collaborative spirit of the more than 20 organizations and municipalities that contributed to our regional proposal. We know that other positive things will come from this process and we continue to view 2018 with great excitement, optimism and focus.”
 
This and more from U.S. News, Business Insider, and Xconomy.
January 2, 2018

"Businesses need to act together to attract talent" was originally published in The Business Journals, authored by EDC president and CEO Mark Cafferty.

With U.S. unemployment hitting a 17-year low late last year, competition for talent has become increasingly fierce for businesses across the country. 
 
Part of a company's challenge in attracting talent, however, is working with the broader business community in its city, region or state to ensure that it is not only a place where people want to work, but also a place where people want to live.
 
While focusing internally to find and hire employees, companies must also work with each other — even with their competitors — and public or municipal entities to help foster a favorable quality of life and career mobility that will attract talented workers.
 
Companies must communicate with clear, consistent messaging in a united front to evoke authenticity and a sense of community that is appealing to today’s top talent. 
 
Improving perceptions to attract top talent 
Some cities and states have an abundance of career opportunities available but lack the public perception that these jobs exist. Often this divide boils down to a lack of available resources for businesses to tout their local economy.
 
Talent attraction has become about telling a region’s story, not just selling a company’s individual offerings. 
 
An influx of high-paying jobs in a region — especially at publicly-facing brands —must be met with the skilled talent required to fill them. Here in San Diego, the region has a high share of the nation’s life sciences and tech jobs, but research recently revealed many senior-level HR managers are struggling to find talent because of the perception of available opportunities in the area.
 
To address this issue, EDC has launched a campaign to communicate the region’s unique position in the global market, its lifestyle offerings and its community of people looking to change the world. 
 
The campaign — San Diego: Life. Changing. — serves to tell authentic stories of San Diegans who have discovered the region as not only as a great place to live, but also a place with ample career opportunity, most especially at impact-driven companies and organizations. Through a related work-live-play website, SDlifechanging.org, individuals curious about the region have access to information on its top industries and growing companies, lifestyle amenities and more....
 
Read the full byline online here.

 

December 22, 2017

Economic development is about more than just ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings. It involves long-term, strategic support of companies large and small, often over the course of several years.

And while everything can't be packaged into neat headlines, we wanted to take you behind the scenes for a look at the work that goes on along the way.

Click the link below for an interactive look at EDC's 2017 in review. Thank you and happy holidays to those who make this work possible: our partners, investors and friends.

Here's to 2018, and a prosperous San Diego economy in the new year.

December 12, 2017


 


Propel San Diego is a federal grant - awarded to the city of San Diego - to boost the San Diego region's defense resiliency. The timeline below describes how we worked with and through partners, on the Propel San Diego initative.

  • 2012 - OPERATION SAN DIEGO COALESCES
     Amid discussions around the potential impact of sequestration, EDC and the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC) co-create the Operation San Diego initiative. Operation San Diego is a strategic plan to support the region's military and defense footprint – a key driver of the regional economy.
  • SEPTEMBER 2014 - EDC EXPLORES COLLABORATION WITH OEA
    Home to the largest concentration of military assets in the world, San Diego was a prime candidate for funding from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), which had already been funding similar programs in other defense-heavy clusters across the country. The Office of Economic Adjustment urged San Diego to apply for the program, which would help boost San Diego’s defense resiliency.  
  • JANUARY 2015 - RESEARCH PROVES ELIGIBILITY FOR OEA FUNDING
    As a way to prove eligibility for the grant, EDC conducts an analysis of defense-related workforce trends. The research concludes that many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are dependent on military and defense funding. An OEA grant would help develop programming to diversify revenue streams. Now, EDC and SDMAC  must get the right regional partners onboard. 
  • AUGUST 2015 - CITY OF SAN DIEGO SPEARHEADS GRANT PROPOSAL 
    Recognizing the need to diversify our economy, the City of San Diego agreed to spearhead the grant proposal and act as the fiscal agent.
  • JULY 2016 - SAN DIEGO WINS $1.6M GRANT
    After a lengthy application, the City of San Diego, EDC and additional regional partners receive notification of a $1.6 million grant award for Phase I of the OEA project. Phase I of the project includes a defense industry survey and research report, overhaul of the SDMAC website and the creation of a regional asset map.
  • SEPTEMBER 2016 - PROPEL SAN DIEGO DEVELOPED AS ENTITY 
    The partners in charge of executing the OEA grant officially name the initiative Propel San Diego, and develop a logo and other supporting materials.
  • JANUARY 2017 - PROPEL SD RESEARCH IDENTIFIES DEFENSE ECOSYSTEM
    Research finds that small businesses often derive a large portion of their revenue from defense-related contracts, meaning downward adjustments in military spending at the federal level can have catastrophic impacts on the longevity of military-reliant small businesses. 
  • SEPTEMBER 2017 - PROPEL SD AWARDED $1.7M FOR PHASE II OF OEA GRANT
    Due to the success of the Phase I OEA work, Propel San Diego was granted $1.7 million to execute Phase II, which will begin in 2018. As part of the Propel San Diego deliverable, EDC and World Trade Center San Diego will run a MetroConnect defense cohort for defense-reliant companies looking to export and diversify their sales portfolio.
     

And we're just getting started. In 2018, we'll release our defense visualization tool. Stay tuned for updates from Propel SD.

In addition to San Diego Regional EDC, Propel SD partners include: 

 

 

December 8, 2017

"Congressional action needed to replace San Diego’s aging airport terminal" was originally published in the San Diego Union-Tribune, authored by Mark Cafferty and Joe Terzi.

When you think about the region’s economic prosperity — today and tomorrow — all roads lead to San Diego International Airport. Tourism, business, global trade, the innovation economy, even the defense sector all depend on it.
 
Last year, our airport served almost 21 million passengers. Terminal 2, expanded several years ago, is a welcoming stage for San Diego. Yet Terminal 1 — now 50 years old and used by Southwest, Frontier and Alaska Airlines — not so much.
 
That is why the Airport Authority is refining the Airport Development Plan, which includes replacing Terminal 1. But there is a catch — paying for it. Right now, congressional action to lift the cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) is being debated — again — and it is essential for our airport and for our region.
 
The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority is the airport owner and operator, and it has been busy making a stream of improvements over the past decade. These include the expansion of Terminal 2, a central receiving and distribution center, new general aviation facility, new rental car center using a new on-airport roadway to access the terminals, a parking structure and new international arrivals facility under construction, and much more....
 
Read the full op-ed online here.
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December 1, 2017

The California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) is an income tax credit program available to businesses expanding in or relocating to California. Created in 2014 by the California legislature and overseen by Governor Jerry Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), Cal Competes offers variable amounts of tax credits to companies based on commitments to hire full time employees over a span of five years. In 2017, 293 California companies were awarded more than $210 million in tax credits.

Since the CCTC program inception, more than 110 San Diego companies have received $61.1 million in tax credits tied to the creation of more than 8,433 jobs. San Diego consistently ranks among the top three metros in the state for tax credit distribution, with 2017 as no exception. This year, 37 San Diego companies were awarded nearly $24 million (11.35 percent of total) in tax credits in exchange for the creation of 2,000 new jobs, $200 million capital investments and $500 million in wages paid over the next five years. San Diego received the third highest percentage of credits in the state, behind only Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Credit recipients span the region from Oceanside down to Chula Vista, representing businesses large and small across a variety of industries including biotech, software development, manufacturing, defense and more. Of all 37 San Diego companies in 2017, medical device manufacturer NuVasive was awarded the largest credit of $3 million for its commitment to create 245 new jobs over the next five years. Additional recipients in 2017 include Ballast Point spin out Cutwater Spirits ($2M credit for 64 jobs); game developer Psyonix ($1.2M credit for 69 jobs) and LED manufacturer Hyperikon ($975K credit for 75 jobs).

During the CCTC application process, companies are classified as either large or small. Throughout the 2017 rounds, San Diego small companies performed particularly well compared to other metros. Of all credits distributed in the small business category in 2017, 21.2 percent came to San Diego firms – the second highest of all California metros. San Diego small businesses received nearly $8 million in credits, with plans to create 400 jobs in the region over the next five years.

San Diego’s large companies performed admirably as well, receiving $16 million – or 9.2 percent – of the total credits awarded in the large business category, coming in third for highest percent of credits within the category.

The next application round will look to award $100 million in credits and will open January 2, 2018 and close January 22, 2018. Just before the round opens, GO-Biz host a free workshop hosted on Friday, December 8. Businesses interested in applying can register to attend any of the workshops and receive customized technical assistance from GO-Biz staff.

For additional questions about how to complete a competitive application, please feel free to contact Jesse Gipe at jg@sandiegobusiness.org.

November 17, 2017

In 2016, executives from San Diego life sciences giants Illumina, Human Longevity, Inc., Thermo Fisher Scientific, ResMed and Dexcom approached EDC with a pressing need for a specific type of talent: bioinformatics professionals. Known among peers by their technical title, bioinformaticians develop and apply software tools to understand biological data sets. In San Diego, leaders in genomics and connected health are gathering incomprehensible amounts of data with the power to unlock the human genome, make personalized care a reality and enhance the way we live on a massive scale. Individuals skilled in bioinformatics, data science and computational biology are instrumental in deciphering such data sets – a task with stunning implications across pharma, biotech, healthcare, genomics and much more.

Even with impressive programs at UC San Diego and SDSU, the demand for bioinformatics professionals is simply too high for local universities to fill. As such, EDC launched the Life Sciences Trek to San Diego with the help of our economic development committee, to showcase local opportunities for Masters and PhD’s from across the country. The goal of the program: attract talent who can translate data into actionable results for application in healthcare and medicine. During the trek, the group would visit seven San Diego life sciences staples, presenting a range of career opportunities.

On November 9-10, we were joined by 27 students from across the U.S., representing UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, University of Michigan, Stanford, Arizona State, UC Riverside, University of Northern Carolina, University of Pittsburgh and Georgia Institute of Technology. Through company tours, presentations and a networking reception, students gained access to influential researchers and executives across many of San Diego's research institutions and fast growing companies including ResMed, Illumina, the Salk Institute, Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Human Longevity, Inc. From drug discovery to connected devices, genetic sequencing to direct patient care, the breadth of opportunities for bioinformaticians became apparent within San Diego’s diverse life sciences ecosystem.

Though a pilot program for EDC, the Life Sciences Trek to San Diego was largely a success. Providing an employer perspective, ResMed Lead Talent Acquisition Partner Amy Hernandez considered the trek a “fantastic employment branding opportunity” and a “great community event that highlighted San Diego as an attractive employment marketplace to a ripe generation of future leaders.” Additionally, the students were impressed. For one student, the trek displayed “tremendous opportunities to do biomedical research that directly impacts patient lives.” For another, the trek was a “fantastic opportunity and unique experience to get an inside look into companies and a career in Life sciences and in bioinformatics specifically,” saying “it was perfect timing in my last year of my PhD program.”

Looking ahead to 2018, EDC will continue to address the occupational demand for bioinformatics and other life sciences professionals in San Diego. EDC will play host second trek in 2018, and will emphasize the need for data science professionals as a part of the U.S. Chamber’s Talent Pipeline Management program, which takes an employer-focused approach to meeting talent needs.

EDC didn’t need to write talking points, as San Diego spoke for itself. The people we met, spaces we visited and stories we heard over the two days embodied the region’s life-changing identity. Surpassing expectation, the trek has left an undeniable impression on all who participated – students and locals alike.

See more at #SDLifeSciencesTrek.


 

September 29, 2017

Last week, members of the EDC team joined 20 board members, investors and partners on a trip to Louisville, Kentucky. The purpose was to learn about that city’s emphasis on inclusion and compassion as focal points for their branding and economic development efforts. We met passionate people—both in the private and public sectors—who are working hard to create a community that is uniquely Louisville.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer set the tone when he welcomed our group Wednesday evening and stayed to talk with us about Louisville’s past, its present challenges and the city’s goals around lifelong learning, health and compassion. Louisville’s challenges are significant, but they do not shy away from talking about them openly. And there is a genuine continuity to how people raise, speak about and confront these issues.

Research and workforce representatives presented hard-hitting data on the region’s existing economic disparities, as well as ambitions to add 55,000 degrees over a ten year span. The city’s economic development team and business leaders explained how the region has to work harder than most to attract and retain talent, and showcase their region as a place that is ripe for investment and growth—despite having 30,000 current job openings and being among the most affordable of large metros.

Many of the challenges that they face today stem from events that happened generations ago. But they embrace their past with the belief that they can’t chart where they are going if they ignore where they have been. Addressing a history of racial segregation, poverty and stagnant population growth are as much a part of their economic development discussion and focus as attraction, retention and expansion. The authenticity that was threaded throughout our visit culminated in an honest dialogue among our delegation.

San Diego’s Story

Back home, San Diego has experienced solid economic growth, led by its innovation industries, which have added jobs three times faster the overall economy1. However, this prosperity has not been shared by all San Diegans. A recent study found that there are more than one million people in our region with incomes too low to afford basic costs of living—the numbers are even more appalling for our black and Latino populations.

In San Diego Latinos represent one-third of the population, and are projected to be the majority by 20302. Yet only 17 percent have completed a bachelor’s degree program or higher3. Meanwhile our region has a deficit of 4,500 STEM graduates4. But talent shortages exist in every metro area—our population is our talent pool.

And while we have large employers in our region that are the vanguard of innovation, 59 percent of our workforce is employed by smaller firms that often pay below average wages5. Layer on the fact that San Diego has the second highest median home price and is the fourth most expensive metro to live in6, and you quickly see the risks to our competitiveness as a region.

We spent the past six months working with key partners to develop our story and better understand our own regional challenges. And in the coming weeks we will reassemble our delegation, as well as business and community leaders, to build an economic development agenda that benefits more people, companies and communities: an agenda that grows our own talent, bolsters small- and medium-sized firm growth, and addresses the cost of living pressures on talent attraction and retention.

There is a lot of work to be done, and it will require great collaboration and coordination. Our mission at EDC is to maximize the region’s economic prosperity and global competitiveness. To live up to that mission our economic development strategies must promote and account for growth and inclusion.

Click here for an EDC-produced research profile on the Louisville and San Diego economies.

Footnotes

1.      U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2006-2015.

2.      American Community Survey, 2016; SANDAG population projections.

3.      American Community Survey, 2016.

4.      EMSI, 2017.2.

5.      Firms with fewer than 100 people; CA EDD Business Statistics, 2015.

6.      Among 50 most populous metros; National Association of Realtors, 2017; C2ER, 2017; EMSI, 2017.3.

September 29, 2017

By now, just about everyone has heard the news about Amazon and its pursuit to develop a second headquarters operation (HQ2), somewhere in North America. The announcement came out through Tech Crunch and The Wall Street Journal last month and spread like wild fire through economic development communities and elected offices across the nation. Suffice it to say that Amazon has created one of the most competitive business attraction processes in history. Cities, counties, even states, are bending over backwards to make their areas fit the profile that Amazon is seeking: a metro or suburban region with more than 1 million people, the ability to attract and retain tech talent and other amenities like direct flights to key markets.

With the input of EDOs and partners across the county and state, San Diego Regional EDC is coordinating a regional response to Amazon’s HQ2 proposal.

On paper, the region checks all the boxes that Amazon lists in its RFP. In addition, the region has a handful of quality sites that meet the requirements of their build out: ability to deliver 500,000 ft2 by 2019 and up to 8 million ft2 in subsequent phases. San Diego also has a top-tier tech workforce (Amazon has stated they could hire up to 50,000 people) and quality of life that is unparalleled throughout most of the world. But when you look beneath the surface, San Diego also needs to realize that Amazon is commanding what will inevitably be record-setting incentive packages, an area where the State of California has scarcely been competitive, and for good reason. Incentives rarely yield impacts that exceed the costs. Further, when trying to find the location for a truly Life. Changing. company, incentives usually are nothing more than marginalia. Talent, quality of life and the prospect of being able to succeed are ultimately the more important factors. Nonetheless, the process that Amazon has put forth will command hundreds of millions, if not billions in incentives – amounts that can change minds.

Second, San Diego can’t change its geography. There has been debate throughout this process whether being in the same time zone as Seattle (Amazon's current HQ) would be a blessing or a curse. While there are “experts” on both sides of the argument, we ultimately don’t know what Amazon is looking for: West Coast ease of access to Seattle, East Coast access to financial and political centers and new talent pools, or somewhere in between. Only time will tell.

In summary, we don’t know where Amazon will ultimately end up. As an EDO, EDC is excited about the opportunity to bring our region together and present our best opportunities. It’s a good test to see just what we can do when the right opportunity comes along. In conjunction with partners from around the county and state, EDC will submit a response to Amazon’s RFP ahead of its October 19 deadline. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

September 28, 2017

From Uber to GE to Qualcomm, companies in the tech world are racing to develop autonomous vehicles.  But you don’t have to go to Silicon Valley to find a company developing solutions for the first autonomous truck. TuSimple, a Bejing-based startup with R&D facilities in San Diego, is one reason. The company is developing technology for fully autonomous commercial trucks – a new frontier in the tech world.

In June, the company completed its first 200 mile test ride between San Diego and Yuma, Arizona, piloting its technology on a sedan. Soon, it hopes to move the technology into trucks, and with high profile investors like NVIDIA, they have a good shot.

When the startup was trying to get their product into testing phase, EDC stepped into help. Both SANDAG and the City of Chula Vista are part of an autonomous vehicle proving ground – one of ten in the country approved by Department of Transportation. EDC connected TuSimple with project leads at both entities to explore testing options right in their backyard.

Bringing a new technology to market is often met with regulatory challenges. EDC has connected TuSimple to the Department of Motor Vehicles to help navigate the regulatory framework to allow for autonomous testing of trucks in California.

The highway of the future will look very different. TuSimple is just one San Diego company driving that change.