In many ways, 2021 felt like a whirlwind. With the remarkable wins powered by San Diego’s innovation and resilience coupled with the lingering impacts of the pandemic, it can be surprising how much has changed while so much felt the same. This year, EDC welcomed new team members, investors, and board members, adding momentum to the goals we set for 2030 that together create a platform for inclusive economic growth. The need to develop more quality jobs within our small businesses, more skilled workers, and more thriving households across San Diego is more imperative than ever before. As this year comes to an end, we’re taking stock of EDC’s most impactful work in 2021—made possible with and through all of you.
High growth industries create quality jobs and enable economic mobility across our binational region. The 2030 inclusive growth goals require the region to create 50,000 quality small business jobs by 2030. In 2021, EDC jobs programs contributed to this goal by assisting companies of all sizes with expansion and retention, and by facilitating sustainable connections to customers and markets.
- EDC completed more than 210 business expansion, attraction, and retention projects and supported more than 280 companies and organizations across our slate of free business services. We also launched a Life Sciences Task Force to establish a “one stop shop” framework for Life Sciences industry expansion support.
- World Trade Center San Diego completed its fifth cohort of the MetroConnect export accelerator program and crowned the program’s newest Grand Prize winner. The team also helped 35 companies go global through the Export SBDC and debuted a regional trade and investment strategy for 2025 with a set of five priorities to drive recovery and resilience. Want more wins? Read WTCSD’s annual report.
- EDC’s Research Bureau launched the Anchor Collaborative, which set shared procurement goals for the region’s largest anchors and employers, and quantified the impact of increased local spending on quality job creation. See how a one percent shift in procurement could mean thousands of jobs for San Diegans.
Skilled talent fuels the growth of the innovation economy. To keep up with anticipated growth, the 2030 inclusive growth goals require the region to create 20,000 degreed and credentialed workers per year by 2030. In 2021, EDC talent programs showcased the region’s opportunities, aligned education with industry needs, and increased diversity in high demand occupations.
- With a focus on talent shortages and skills needed, as well as the changing demands of the region’s workforce, EDC’s Research Bureau published regular research publications including the Economic Snapshot and Data Bites; a five-part San Diego’s Changing Business Landscape series; and two Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning economic impact reports on key clusters Cybersecurity and Transportation. Read the full AI-ML series.
- San Diego: Life. Changing. communicated opportunities for skilled talent in San Diego—especially to strategic competitive markets—by enhancing recruiting tools and profiling 160+ exciting opportunities in STEM fields. This year, San Diego: Life. Changing. begun pivoting its focus to primarily spotlight scientific breakthroughs and career opportunities at San Diego’s Life Sciences employers. The ‘Just Say No To Winter‘ campaign is currently targeting Life Sciences markets in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
- Together with a group of industry leaders, Advancing San Diego (ASD) designated Preferred Providers in Manufacturing, Cybersecurity, and Healthcare, and released talent demand reports for the local Healthcare and Life Sciences industries. To help students build meaningful careers in local, high-demand jobs, ASD hosted its virtual Career Exploration Day and welcomed its Business and Manufacturing cohorts, pairing 48 student interns with 25 small companies.
A competitive region is an affordable and accessible one. The 2030 inclusive growth goals require the region to create 75,000 newly thriving households. In 2021, EDC contributed to this goal by providing objective analysis of emerging trends, emphasizing the need for an inclusive economic recovery from the pandemic, and facilitating public private partnerships that increase regional sustainability, affordability, and competitiveness.
- EDC hosted two Right Recovery Town Halls that highlighted employer-driven, market-based strategies for creating a more resilient economy, one of which explored how the transition to employee ownership enables businesses to retain a dedicated workforce and ensure wealth-building that will lead to more thriving households across the region.
- Together with local tech company GoSite, EDC launched the San Diego Business Hub, a public-private partnership offering subsidized digital tools for small, diverse businesses. The cohort of 100 service-based businesses will receive a full suite of GoSite’s digital tools at no cost for one year.