EDC’s Top 20 of 2020

The end of the year is about reflection – of the months past and of the work accomplished. But like most, 2020 has made it challenging for EDC to celebrate the bright spots and successes. This year was unlike anything anyone could have predicted. Our communities grappled with unimaginable loss brought on by COVID-19, a social and racial justice reckoning, an ever-contentious political landscape, and so much more. And yet, here we are – turning the page into the New Year, with many of the same problems of 2020, but with greater resilience, forward thinking, and commitment to inclusion.

With and through our nearly 200 investors, EDC directly helped nearly 500 San Diego businesses through crisis and recovery. This is our top 20 of 2020.

Regional resources and relief

  1. EDC helped 476 companies access COVID-19 relief.
    At the onset of the pandemic, EDC developed a COVID-19 webpage for regional businesses seeking relief, resources, and reopening assistance; and continued on to support nearly 500 local businesses throughout the crisis.
  1. Advancing San Diego launched its internship program virtually.
    EDC’s talent development program, Advancing San Diego, placed 70 student interns at 33 regional small companies and recognized 19 Preferred Provider programs giving top-quality training to emerging local talent. And we’re doing it again next year.
  1. IPP helped San Diego advance the emerging drone industry through historic flights.
    Through San Diego’s Integration Pilot Program (IPP), Chula Vista Police Department became the first public agency to receive a Close Proximity, Low Altitude Waiver; and a UC San Diego Health partnership made San Diego one of the first regions to complete a medical specimen delivery by drone.
  1. EDC partnered with CMTC to assist 47 manufacturers.
    In addition to a formalized CMTC partnership to support small business, EDC launched its manufacturing resource page and hosted Virtual Manufacturing Day 2020 to discuss global supply chain risks.

International aspirations, domestic resiliency

  1. World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego launched MetroConnect V virtually.
    This all-star cohort of 15 small and medium-sized businesses participating in WTC San Diego’s entirely remote international sales accelerator is connecting with an international network of partners and exploring opportunities that ultimately build domestic economic resiliency. Over the years, the MetroConnect program has generated an $85 million net increase in exports.
  1. WTC San Diego launched its in-house Export Specialty Center.
    Through a new partnership with the San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center, WTC San Diego will double down its focus on small business export advising and training that serves to increase the number of export-ready firms in the region.
  1. WTC San Diego analyzed key FDI trends in the San Diego region.
    In early 2020, WTC San Diego identified foreign direct investment types and trends in San Diego in preparation for the launch of a new regional trade and investment strategy.
  1. WTC San Diego worked with San Diego Tourism Authority and San Diego International Airport to look toward recovery.
    Together with key partners, WTC San Diego helped spearhead a COVID-19 economic recovery strategy focused on flight retention and expansion.
  1. For more on World Trade Center San Diego, read its 2020 annual report.

Leading with data and research

  1. EDC’s Research Bureau conducted two new economic impact studies on key industry clusters.
    EDC’s Research Bureau released “Measuring the Future: AI and San Diego’s Economy” underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton, and “San Diego’s Creative Economy” in partnership with the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.
  1. EDC’s Research Bureau tracked the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and workers.
    In partnership with key regional organizations, EDC assessed ongoing data and identified lasting impacts on our region’s most vulnerable: low-wage workers, small businesses, and marginalized business owners.
  1. EDC’s Research Bureau launched its interactive Industry Profiles.
    Back and better than ever, these new Industry Profiles take a deep dive into the industries that make San Diego the innovation hub that it is, with data on employment, businesses, wages, and more.
  1. EDC’s Research Bureau debuted a new Economic Snapshot and Economic Pulse.
    Economic data changes quickly, so EDC empowered its audience to explore the data for themselves. Check out the new Economic Snapshot and Economic Pulse.

Telling San Diego’s story

  1. EDC launched the framework for San Diego’s economic recovery.
    Too often, in a rush to restore economic normalcy for some, entire segments of our communities have been left further behind in economic recoveries. To begin a more resilient recovery for all, EDC launched a webpage that tracks impacts of COVID-19 on an interactive data dashboard and outlines our region’s growing economic imperative for inclusive growth.
  1. Innovate78 launched a new website.
    To spotlight North County San Diego as an innovation hub unto itself, Innovate78 launched a new website with interactive economic dashboards, regional investment information, and resources for startups. The launch immediately increased website traffic by 25 percent.
  1. San Diego: Life. Changing. launched its Still Hiring list.
    In partnership with Startup San Diego and CONNECT w/ SDVG, EDC talent campaign San Diego: Life. Changing. developed a live table connecting job seekers to hiring companies. Since its launch, the page has garnered more than 15,000 page views and 110 entries.
  1. EDC and Innovate78 helped local companies tell their stories.
    In addition to free consulting and programmatic support, we secured placements in news outlets highlighting Welfie, The Broken Token, Wynn’s Ice Cream, Fuse Integration, and more.

Staying connected, no matter where

  1. EDC hosted a Future of Growth Forum discussing inclusive growth.
    In February, EDC gathered community leaders to learn how members of the Brookings Network for Economic Inclusion are addressing economic inclusion in cities across the country. Stay tuned for more in 2021…
  1. San Diego: Life. Changing. launched a virtual series to highlight San Diego companies.
    San Diego: Life. Changing. hosted four virtual panels highlighting San Diego science, genomics, senior health, and job opportunities during COVID-19, with more than 500 total attendees.
  1. Advancing San Diego hosted its inaugural virtual Career Fair and Exploration Day.
    During Advancing San Diego’s day-long virtual event, featuring speakers from Qualcomm and Sony, San Diego students submitted 240+ applications to 20 regional companies.
  1. New EDC board chair doubled down on commitment to getting San Diego’s economic recovery right.
    EDC continued to drive an inclusive growth and recovery strategy as outgoing Board Chair Janice Brown passed the gavel to Julian Parra, who wrote in the San Diego Union-Tribune that San Diego’s economic recovery must be inclusive.


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