Today, San Diego Regional EDC and its employer-led Inclusive Growth Steering Committee officially endorsed a regional goal to create 50,000 new quality jobs within small businesses by 2030. Driven by EDC’s latest study release, Equipping Small Businesses to Compete, the regional goal and accompanying set of employer recommendations aim to help small businesses in San Diego to compete.
“If you care about the future of San Diego—economic competitiveness and mobility—then you need to pay attention to small businesses,” said Janice Brown, board chair, San Diego Regional EDC. “From large employers to elected officials, it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure that small businesses have the tools to succeed.”
In its new study, EDC found that while small businesses—those with fewer than 100 employees—employ the majority of San Diego’s workforce, only 26 percent of jobs in small businesses are quality jobs—those that pay enough for economic security (paying wages of at least $40,529 per year or $19.49 per hour).
Additional key findings include:
- Due to financial challenges, small businesses pay 14 percent lower average wages.
- Only 36 percent of all businesses are minority-owned, and about the same proportion are woman-owned.
- Opportunity industries, such as construction and transportation, offer a greater number of quality jobs than many innovation industries, including precision health and cybersecurity. Additionally, many opportunity industry jobs can be accessed without a bachelor’s degree.
Citing these key findings, it’s important for the region to invest in diverse founders, support existing small businesses, and focus on job growth within opportunity industries. San Diego will be able to drive a greater economic impact and broaden access to quality jobs, especially for people residing in communities with lower rates of educational attainment.
“When small businesses succeed, it leads to more quality jobs, better local economies, and healthier communities,” said Jane Finley, senior vice president and area manager, Kaiser Permanente. “We support this goal and invest in programs like Inner City Capital Connections because Kaiser Permanente believes that investing in small businesses and creating more quality jobs leads to improved health and well-being for every San Diego resident.”
EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee is led by large employers, who understand the crucial role that small businesses play in the regional economy.
In order to meet its goal by 2030, the Inclusive Growth Steering Committee is committed to collaborating with other regional employers through the following actions:
- Transparency – connect with and better understand existing local service providers to strengthen their capacity and resiliency.
- Engagement – commit to mentoring and/or building strategic partnerships with small businesses in high-growth, high-wage industries, particularly from underrepresented groups (women, minority, veteran, disabled, low-moderate income).
- Investment – invest directly in small business support programs, such as supplier diversification and growth acceleration initiatives.
For more information about these actionable recommendations or a complete list of employers committed to this effort, visit smallbiz.inclusivesd.org.
EDC’S INCLUSIVE GROWTH INITIATIVE
In 2018, EDC launched a data-driven initiative focused on promoting inclusive growth as an economic imperative, emphasizing that San Diego employers must take active measures to promote inclusion, or the region will no longer be able to compete with other regions. Together with its Inclusive Growth Steering Committee, EDC aims to set regional targets and release actionable recommendations for three main goals: build a strong local talent pool; equip small businesses to compete; and address the affordability crisis.
Additionally, San Diego recently won a $3 million grant from JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities program to further propel the inclusive growth initiative and its goals.