EDC’s Top 10 in 2023

Smart economic development is inclusive economic development. That’s why for more than six years, EDC’s programs and priorities have been rooted in growing the region’s quality jobs, skilled talent, and thriving households critical to San Diego’s competitiveness. Day-by-day and year-by-year, together with and through 150 investors and partners, EDC chips away and tracks against the region’s Inclusive Growth goals. See how we did it in 2023:

  • Supported 117 companies across the region.

    High growth industries create quality jobs and enable economic mobility. In 2023, EDC’s core economic development work provided 117 companies with economic incentive and export consulting, permitting and regulatory support, marketing/visibility, and more services at no cost, supporting 19,490 total jobs. Key wins include supporting American Lithium Energy in securing $13.2 million in grants to expand operations and triple its workforce, and spotlighting ways the County of San Diego, one of the largest institutional buyers in the region, can award more contracts to local and small businesses.



  • Grew local exports and wrapped MetroConnect VI.

    Globally connected businesses are more resilient. In 2023, through the MetroConnect program and Export SBDC, WTCSD supported 22 small and medium-sized businesses in accessing foreign markets. Notably, this included 15 MetroConnect companies that collectively generated more than $3.1 million in new exports in 2023, a 60 percent increase from the beginning of the program. These commitments earned WTCSD recognition by the U.S. President for Export Service.



  • Led trade mission to South Korea.

    San Diego deserves a spot on the global stage. To make our mark, WTCSD led a trade mission to South Korea together with Mayor Todd Gloria, SANDAG and County Board of Supervisors Chair Nora Vargas, and 30 regional delegates from the private, academic, and public sectors. The trip celebrated the partnership of Dexcom and Korean tech giant Kakao, among others, and serves to drive foreign investment and job growth back at home.

  •  Published progress to 2030 Inclusive Growth goals.

    Measure what matters. In 2023, EDC released its Inclusive Growth Progress Report. With updated data and bold objectives set around increasing the number of quality jobs, skilled talent, and thriving households critical to the region’s competitiveness, the report measures San Diego’s growth and recovery, and spotlights the greatest threats to prosperity. See this and more at progress.inclusiveSD.org.

  • Launched digital tools to inform regional decision making.

    Affordability is the region’s greatest threat to economic competitiveness. In 2023, EDC launched the San Diego Investment Map, an interactive tool embedded with a range of geographic, employment, development, and transit data, as well as regional analysis. Partners are leveraging insights from the map to inform development and investment decisions such as locating optimal headquarters or office space, identifying priority areas for housing development, or prioritizing on-site childcare.

  • Published economic intelligence on San Diego’s key industries.

    Economic development must be data-driven. In 2023, EDC’s Research Bureau launched several reports on the region’s key industries quantifying:

    • The economic impact of San Diego’s RNA cluster together with 1STRAND. RNA therapeutics innovation is a key part of the region’s life sciences ecosystem and supports more than 11,000 jobs sitting at the intersection of R&D, manufacturing, trade, and healthcare.
    • The economic impact of cybersecurity in San Diego together with the Cyber Center of Excellence. Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing $4 billion cluster with more than 1,000 local firms working to help thwart cyber risk across San Diego and beyond.
    • The proliferation of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI-ML) in Smart Cities together with underwriter Booz Allen Hamilton. Although AI-ML integration with Smart Cities is still in the early stages, if done right these technologies could enable cities to be both more efficient and more inclusive.



  • Strengthened relationships between employers and training programs.

    A competitive innovation economy relies on skilled talent. In 2023, EDC’s Talent Initiatives team quantified the region’s workforce needs, and spotlighted opportunities for employers to lean into talent pipeline development. Wins include:

    • Computer and Engineering Talent Demand reports spotlighting local demand for tech professionals. To build this pipeline and better connect employers with top regional talent, EDC hosted ‘Reaching Tomorrow’s Talent,’ where employers met and vetted computing and engineering curricula of local universities and training programs and celebrated a new roster of Verified Programs.
    • San Diego being brought to the forefront of the Navy’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) program, which addresses major gaps in the talent pipelines and supply chains of critical defense industrial base companies. This culminated in an IBAS-hosted event in San Diego where EDC’s Talent Initiatives team presented findings from a Talent Flow Analysis. Ultimately, these efforts have led to several opportunities to pursue funding to build the skilled trades talent pipeline in San Diego.



  • Hosted Seattle Leadership Trip.

    Sometimes it takes stepping outside of our region to get the best look at who we are and who we want to be. In 2023, EDC hosted a Leadership Trip to Seattle where more than 30 delegates learned about what makes the Pacific Northwest region so successful and what challenges have stymied it most. Major takeaways included bringing federally recognized apprentice program Apprenti to San Diego employers to strengthen our region’s talent pipeline.

  • Told San Diego’s innovation story to attract talent.

    Talent growth requires multiple approaches. In 2023, EDC’s talent attraction brand San Diego: Life. Changing. (SDLC) profiled more than 320 local job opportunities in STEM fields. The Lead was sent to 900 local student subscribers and 3,000+ mid-level STEM professionals across the U.S. SDLC also deployed paid, geotargeted social media campaigns during BIO International, Comic-Con, and the winter months in life sciences hubs Boston, New York, and Chicago.

  • Celebrated San Diego with investors and regional partners.

    Togetherness is our strength. In 2023, more than 800 San Diego leaders joined EDC at Petco Park for our Annual Dinner where we honored Taylor Guitars and Garry Ridge for their life-changing contributions to our region. We then wrapped up summer by celebrating San Diego innovation with more than 400 guests at our 2023 Summer Bash, hosted together with Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. and keynoted by Vuori founder Joe Kudla.

And see San Diego’s top headlines from 2023 in:

Good News of the Year

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EDC’s Top 10 in 2022

The year has come and gone in a flash, but as always, we must take a moment to acknowledge all we accomplished with and through EDC’s 200 investors. On the heels of the pandemic and a return to ‘normal’ that will never feel quite normal again, EDC’s Top 10 in 2022 included a new board chair, team and board members, and increased commitments to the Inclusive Growth goals we set for 2030. See it all in our year in review below:

  1. Supported 165 companies across the region.
    With a suite of services from talent pipeline development to site selection, permitting, and export consulting, EDC’s core economic development work supported 9,906 jobs in 2022. Key wins include Element Biosciences’ expansion and creation of 280 local jobs, Rady Children’s Hospital hiring six former interns following involvement in the Advancing San Diego program, and support of ASML’s application for $14 million in Cal Competes incentives to generate more than 600 quality jobs, among others.
  1. Welcomed Jennie Brooks as board chair.
    A longtime board member and a senior leader at a major consulting and technology employer in San Diego, Jennie Brooks took the gavel in June for her two year term as Chair. She is flanked by four officers: Vice Chair, Rob Douglas, President & COO, ResMed; Vice Chair of Inclusive Growth, Lisette Islas, EVP & Chief Impact Officer, MAAC; Treasurer, Tom Seidler, SVP Community & Military Affairs, San Diego Padres; and Secretary, Barbara Wight, CFO, Taylor Guitars.
  1. Rallied commitments to Inclusive Growth.
    City, County, and private sector leaders pledged their public commitments to the region’s Inclusive Growth goals, increasing the number of skilled talent, quality jobs, and thriving households critical to San Diego’s competitiveness and resilience. As part of the forum, EDC shared the region’s progress against the 2030 goals in a new report.
  1. Led talent strategies to develop and attract talent.
    To build a diverse regional workforce and meet industry demand, EDC continued to lead its Advancing San Diego (ASD) and San Diego: Life. Changing. (SDLC) talent programs. Specifically, ASD recognized five training programs for their work in preparing San Diegans for entry-level lab technician roles and placed 45 interns at 23 companies where they worked nearly 7,150 hours. EDC also played a major role in the Southern Border’s successful proposal for $18 million from the state of CA over the next four years to develop and strengthen career pathways. Further, SDLC developed new tools to assist employers in telling San Diego’s innovation story, including a brand anthem on the region’s Life Sciences cluster, a company spotlight on Element Biosciences, and accompanying ad campaigns.
  1. Welcomed new cohort to MetroConnect VI.
    EDC’s international affiliate World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) welcomed a sixth cohort to its export accelerator program MetroConnect. Underwritten by JPMorgan Chase and Procopio, WTCSD awarded 15 local, small and mid-sized businesses with financial and consultative resources to help them go global. Cohort companies include Nano PharmaSolutions, Trabus Technologies, and more.
  1. Supported international exports for small businesses.
    Small businesses are the backbone of the regional economy, made stronger by their access to global markets. In support, WTCSD’s Export SBDC directly helped nearly 40 local and international firms with expansion in San Diego, in addition to supplying 452 hours of counseling and hosting 13 workshops.
  1. Led Mayoral trade mission to the Netherlands.
    Together with San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and 30 business and civic leaders, WTCSD led its first trade mission since 2019. For three whirlwind days across the Netherlands, the delegation explored best practices in urban mobility, infrastructure development and circularity, engineering for City solutions, and more. Key programs were hosted at Qualcomm’s AI Research Lab, ASML’s Veldhoven headquarters, the Port of Rotterdam, Leiden Bio Science Park, and many more.


  1. Informed regional stakeholders using data.
    EDC’s Research Bureau launched several reports and analyses to inform regional decision makers including:

    • Diagnosing the Future: AI and San Diego’s Life Sciences Cluster,” which quantified the economic impact of the region’s Life Sciences cluster and explored the proliferation of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies being used to diagnose disease and develop drugs, among other lifesaving products and solutions.
    • The Downtown Demographics Study on behalf of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, which provided new data on the residential and workforce populations of the city’s urban core, identified areas for growth, opportunities for investment and advocacy, as well as a benchmark for the impacts of COVID-19.
    • Other ongoing economic analyses including the Quarterly Economic Snapshot.
  1. Celebrated coming together again.
    With two years of events missed and the words ‘COVID’ and ‘pandemic’ now common nomenclature, EDC was excited to come together again with investors and partners to celebrate the resilience of our community and those making the most significant impacts during the pandemic. EDC welcomed more than 800 attendees at our Annual Dinner at Petco Park, and more than 400 guests at our Summer Bash, among other events. EDC also welcomed new co-chairs for several committees including Dr. Sunny Cooke of MiraCosta College and Kevin Pegels of Illumina to EDC’s Economic Development Committee; Laura Garrett of TaylorMade Golf and Karen Reinhardt of ASML to the HR Forum; and Kim Becker of the San Diego Regional Airport Authority and Rob Douglas of ResMed to the Global Competitiveness Council.
  1. Re-located and re-branded.
    Arguably the most fun of all: This year marked the start of a new chapter in a new home for EDC. As part of our move into UC San Diego’s Park & Market in downtown, EDC debuted a fresh new brand that integrates the vibrancy of our region.

Together with EDC’s nearly 200 investors and you, 2023 will present yet another opportunity to grow talent, quality jobs, and thriving households across the San Diego region. We’re looking forward to it.

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