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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Economic Development 101

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.

July 14, 2017

In early 2017, the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program selected San Diego, along with Indianapolis and Nashville, to participate in a six-month intensive learning lab focused on inclusive economic development. During the lab, EDC worked alongside the City of San Diego, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, and UC San Diego extension, to develop a deeper understanding of specific barriers to economic inclusion impacting a variety of populations across the region. The outcome of the learning lab is a data-driven narrative that will inform EDC’s strategy as we work towards an economic development agenda that benefits more people, companies and communities.

San Diego is flourishing economically, with an innovation economy and a culture of collaboration that is driving growth and transformation. According to a Brookings analysis of 50 US metros, San Diego ranks 6th in upward mobility, meaning there is a greater likelihood that an individual born into San Diego’s lowest income quartile will end up in the highest income quartile. This fact, backed by the accomplishments of a range of programmatic models and initiatives by partner organizations – Accion, Connect, CDC, Junior Achievement, to name only a few – proves the success this region has demonstrated in terms of connecting communities to the drivers of our economy.

With an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, the region is approaching full employment, meaning companies have incentives to offer pay raises and compete for talent. However, a 2016 study by San Diego-based Center for Policy Initiatives found there are one million individuals in San Diego that are living below self-sufficiency standards. This means that one third of our population cannot afford a no-frills cost of living without public or private assistance.

A nationwide battle for talent, a soaring cost of living at home, and a growing number of San Diegans unable to make ends meet are combining to form an unequivocal threat to our regional competitiveness. We cannot afford to ignore the large parts of our region that are disconnected from the engine of growth.

EDC, with a mandate to mobilize the business community around a broad economic development strategy, has committed to mainstreaming access and opportunity for all San Diegans into that overarching strategy. Over the duration of the 6 month learning lab, EDC interviewed over 25 companies, agencies, and organizations who are engaged in innovative and impactful best practices that guide families, individuals and companies on a path towards greater economic prosperity. We hosted Brookings research teams, and worked with public, private and nonprofit partners to convene dozens of roundtables and tours across the region. And we built a data-driven narrative that outlines the costs to our competitiveness of the growing number of San Diegans without access to opportunity, networks, and skills. .

For us the work is just beginning. As the learning lab comes to a close, we begin to look at the next phase: strategy. We will continue to lean on our growing network of partners and stakeholders over the coming months as we work with and through them to craft a plan that works to make our economy more inclusive, more competitive, and more resilient. Stay tuned.

June 29, 2017

The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit program available to businesses expanding or relocating to California. Created in 2014 by the California legislature and overseen by Governor Jerry Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development, the California Competes Tax Credit is divided into three separate rounds for each fiscal year. In FY 15-17, more than 270 companies were awarded more than $204 million in tax credits.
 
In all three rounds this year combined, 30 San Diego companies earned more than $20 million in income tax credits – claiming 10 percent of the total tax credits awarded in FY 16-17. In return, these San Diego companies have committed to $242 million of investments and 1,408 new jobs totaling more than $340 million in wages by 2021.
 
In the third and final round that took place this June, San Diego companies were awarded about $3 million in tax credits, making up five percent of the total $59 million awarded across the state. For each round of the program, businesses are categorized as either small or large, with credit amounts distributed to both groups. During the June round, San Diego small businesses made up 1.79 percent of the total tax credits – totaling $1.05 million – while large companies made up 3.73 percent of the total, or $1.9 million.
 
The Cal Competes program will open its first round of the FY 17-18 on July 24, in which $75 million of this year’s $250 million is up for grabs. If your business is considering relocating to, or expanding in, California, we encourage you to leverage the program as tool to reduce your tax liability. The EDC team stands by to assist with applications, as we have with many other San Diego companies.
 
Attend an upcoming workshop in Vista or Oceanside to learn how your business can apply for a tax credit, or contact Jesse Gipe for more information.
 
June 26, 2017

This op-ed was originally published by San Diego Union-Tribune, and authored by Matt Cole, Magda Marquet and Michelle Sterling.
 
This is a time of profound disruption in the global economic system: The rules of global commerce are shifting rapidly, the pace of innovation and competition is generating winners and losers, and political volatility around the world is creating an uncertain environment for businesses large and small.
 
Now, more than ever, it is time for cities to step up and lead. And to lead, they must be seen.
 
For San Diego companies, global connectivity matters. Whether it’s biotech or manufacturing, most businesses have customers outside of San Diego, which allows them to add jobs here at home. In 2015, San Diego exported more than $17 billion in goods overseas, as well as billions more in services like software, cybersecurity, engineering and research. Small- and medium-sized businesses produce 92 percent of those goods. According to the Brookings Institution, companies that are global pay higher wages, are less likely to go out of business and increase productivity of the domestic market.
 
Our competitive advantage here in San Diego is that we develop and produce life-saving and life-changing technologies better than almost anywhere else in the world.
 
Four years ago, Althea was a midsize life sciences company with great talent and a compelling business proposition. A personal relationship, and chance meeting at a trade show, began a relationship with Japanese multinational Ajinomoto that has drawn millions of dollars of investment into the region, and enabled Althea to become a global player in the development and manufacturing of biologics and innovative pharmaceuticals.
 
For Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), a business unit of Cubic Corp., providing public transportation solutions is one example of where public-private partnerships can be applied. From Chicago to Sydney, Vancouver and London, Cubic-powered technology and services move 38 million people seamlessly on a daily basis. This form of service requires collaborative working relationships between metro governments, transportation authorities and the private sector. And more often than not, these relationships need to be built over time by political and civic leadership to be effective.
 
Most San Diegans know the name Qualcomm but are less familiar with the transformative impact that the company has had in the world through its innovation in wireless technologies that power the global economy. What started in 1985 as a startup co-founded by a UC San Diego professor has grown into a company that has invented the technologies that make smartphones indispensable in our lives. With each technology Qualcomm invents and with each employee it hires, people from Brazil to China are learning how San Diego is changing the world.
 
The 600 largest cities in the world account for 60 percent of the global economy, and that economy is increasingly crowded, confusing and contested. Metros need strong leadership, unified voices and targeted strategies to compete. This is why mayors around the world are uniting to take on big issues like climate change, trade and poverty. It is why the mayors of every major U.S. city are on the road like never before, opening doors for the expansion of their regional economies. It is why we, as the Global Competitiveness Council — the voice of the global business community here in the San Diego region — called on Mayor Kevin Faulconer to be on the road to help out.
 
The mayor responded to this call by the business community, and is traveling to Mexico City, Vancouver and London in 2017 to create civic and academic partnerships, to facilitate deals that create jobs for San Diegans, and, most importantly, to create a framework for engagement with our most important markets. Our hope is that companies of all sizes seize the opportunities the mayor is creating.
 
We know what an innovative, collaborative and life-changing place San Diego is; but now more than ever, we need our leadership telling that story here at home and around the world. Our economy depends on it.
 
Cole is president of Cubic Transportation Systems. Marquet is co-founder of Ajinomoto Althea and AltheaDX. Sterling is executive vice president of human resources at Qualcomm.
 
Mayors of every major U.S. city are on the road like never before, opening doors for the expansion of their regional economies.