4 resources for San Diego small businesses – May 21, 2020

With so many relief and recovery programs launching every day, it can be difficult to figure out which ones your business should prioritize. In addition to financial resources for San Diego businesses and residents that we’ve compiled here, here are four recovery resources you should know about. 

1. Connect with your customers online via GoSite

Local digital software suite provider GoSite is helping small businesses connect with their customers online with a free website and payment method. Click here to learn more.

2. Reopening guides for San Diego’s restaurants, retailers, & small businesses

San Diego Regional EDC convened a broad coalition to develop step-by-step guides to help local businesses reopen. These guides have been tested in focus groups, and align with local, state and national guidance. EDC recognizes that in order to get to a point where reopening guides such as these are useful, other issues, like childcare, must be addressed first. Download your guide here.

3. SDGE late payment fee waivers

SDG&E will waive late payment fees for business customers whose finances have been hit hard. The company also urges customers who are struggling to pay their utility bill due to financial hardships stemming from the coronavirus to call its Customer Contact Center at 1-800-411-7343 to make payment arrangements. Click here to learn more.

4. Rady School business recovery coalition

The Rady School of Management at the University of California San Diego will help businesses in the San Diego region navigate the unprecedented challenges faced by COVID-19. Drawing on expertise from the UC San Diego community, Rady will provide immediate pro bono assistance to businesses, including PPP loan forgiveness application templates, risk evaluation, and other guidance. Apply here.

For more COVID-19 recovery resources and information, please visit this page.

Regardless of how this all plays out, EDC is here to help. You can use the button below to request our assistance with finding information, applying to relief programs, and more.

Request EDC assistance

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Mark Cafferty: Recovery through an inclusive lens

This column originally ran in the San Diego Business Journal on May 17, 2020:

I hope this message continues to find you and your families healthy and safe. Our team at EDC continues to work from home and we are focusing all of our time and energy on helping local small businesses get connected to the resources and services they need during these confusing and challenging times.

Over the last several weeks, I had the opportunity to serve on the RECOVER economic recovery advisory group formed by County Supervisor Greg Cox and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. The group was brought together to form a regional plan for reopening businesses and setting up appropriate communication channels with the business community. The group was comprised of several chambers of commerce, business and trade associations, economic development organizations, and education and labor groups. The hope going forward is that our collective reach will continue to provide our local government officials with quick and accurate feedback from a broad section of our business community as we navigate the various stages of economic recovery.  The guidelines that the group developed are posted here and can also be found on the City and County’s websites.

In a closing memo that I wrote to Mayor Faulconer and Supervisor Cox, I urged the City and the County—and all advisory group members—to continue to host and maintain similar discussions for regional businesses focused on childcare and the reopening of schools.

Clearly, a large segment of our workforce will not be able to return to employment with any level of normalcy while their children are still home with no prospect of school, summer school/camps, and childcare. Our partners at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Workforce Partnership have already been focused heavily on childcare over the last few years. They are continuing the difficult job of working with childcare providers and businesses to ensure that we are not having these conversations or planning in vacuums.

Our team at EDC and more than 30 community partners have spent the last two years trying to create inclusive economic development strategies to ensure that more of our community members can thrive within our local economy. One of our three pillars has been addressing the growing educational achievement gap. We have been working to ensure that businesses are more engaged with this issue. Now more than ever, we feel that getting business and education leaders together to think through how we effectively reopen our schools and support each other through the difficult months ahead is one of the most critical issues we face. Our team at EDC will do everything we possibly can to continue to facilitate these discussions, push for solutions and set up communication systems to help maintain ongoing progress and success to ensure that we phase back into work-based and school-based activities in a coordinated fashion.

And finally, the impacts of this horrific healthcare and economic crisis have not hit our community (or our nation) evenly. African American, Asian, and Latino communities have been disproportionately impacted by the virus, and they have also been disproportionately impacted by the layoffs, business closures, school closures, and economic challenges our advisory group focused on. The locally-owned hospitality, retail, and restaurants have clearly been hit the hardest. Small and minority-owned businesses are in the most need of financial support and will continue to need our attention, our resources, and our services as we work our way through recovery. I urged the Mayor, City Council, and County Board of Supervisors—regardless of political party affiliation and the various segments of our community that they represent—to be visibly united in ensuring that our economic recovery remains focused on the individuals, businesses, communities, and sectors of our economy that have been hardest hit.

I closed my memo by indicating that San Diego Regional EDC remains fully committed to ensuring that all of our resources, energy, and programs are focused on the unique challenges and opportunities of the economic recovery that lie ahead of us. I want to restate that commitment to all of you as well. We have to get this right.

A Record-Setting Jobs Report

Incoming data confirmed what most of us already knew: The U.S. economy lost a record number of jobs in April. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the economy shed 20.5 million payroll jobs, lifting the unemployment rate to 14.7%, a rate unseen since the Great Depression. Job losses were spread across every industry, but cuts were especially severe in leisure & hospitality, which gave up some 7.7 million positions.

The BLS data are roughly consistent with payroll processor ADP’s employment report that shows 20.2 million job losses at private companies last month. Similar to the BLS, ADP reported that cuts were heavily concentrated in leisure & hospitality. ADP also measured employment changes across different firm sizes, and showed that companies employing fewer than 50 workers let go of 6 million workers in April.

What The U.S. Numbers Could Mean Locally

The crater in small business employment across the U.S. last month could portend an especially bad jobs report locally. Businesses with fewer than 50 workers employ 45% of San Diegans, compared with just 29% nationally. Job losses on the scale of the national figure would imply roughly 120,000 fewer payrolls at San Diego small businesses in April alone, roughly the same number of jobs lost across businesses of all sizes between December 2007 and January 2010 during the last recession.

Cutting the data across industries is equally disarming. Accommodation & food service companies employ about one in every 10 local workers. Both the BLS and ADP reports show that hospitality businesses essentially halved their staffs last month; a similar contraction in San Diego would translate to about 85,000 to 90,000 lost jobs. However, San Diego hospitality employment has historically been more sensitive to downturns than nationally, meaning as many as 120,000, or nearly two in three, hospitality workers may have potentially been put out of work.

Retail employment is also touchier to fluctuations in the local economy than it is nationally. San Diego retailers may have eliminated more than 25,000 payrolls based on the 2.1 million jobs cut across the U.S. last month.

The damage doesn’t end with hospitality and retail, although losses in other industries are not nearly on the same scale. The BLS reported 980,000 public sector job cuts, and local government, which employs public school teachers, accounted for 801,000 of those. Another industry with a large local footprint—professional and technical services—gave up 520,700 positions nationally. Together, an additional loss of around 15,000 local payrolls from these two sectors could be reasonably estimated based on historical relationships between local and national employment changes.

All in, San Diego is looking at a potential loss of about 230,000 jobs in April if history serves. This would be nearly double the losses suffered during the 2008-2009 crisis and could potentially bring the unemployment rate up to a range as high as 18% to 20%. The official April jobs numbers for San Diego will be reported on Friday, May 22.

Several points bear mentioning: First, the above discussion is only meant to provide a sense of scale around local job market impacts if similar dynamics seen in the national employment report were to play out here. Second, no sector or cluster is immune to downturns. So, while government and professional services haven’t yet experienced losses on the scale of accommodation & food services, there’s always a chance that the effects of COVID-19 could ripple out into these industries. Finally, while it may be encouraging that higher-paying professional and government positions haven’t given as much ground as lower-paying ones, the disproportionate pain experienced by the most vulnerable workers should give us pause.

The coming recovery presents an opportunity to establish career development programs designed to connect lower-paid workers with jobs in industries that are struggling to attract talent. EDC’s Advancing San Diego program – which is currently recruiting local educational providers that develop skilled engineering talent – is helping San Diego inch closer to its goal of producing 20k additional skilled workers per year.  Programs like this are a win-win situation that promises a brighter future for thousands of San Diegans and a more resilient economy that could better weather future downturns.

COVID-19 RECOVERY RESOURCES

As a partner of the local San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center, EDC is working directly with small businesses  – free of charge – to counsel them on accessing COVID-19 recovery resources.

Request EDC assistance

For general COVID-19 recovery resources and information, please view this page.

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3 resources for San Diego businesses  – May 7, 2020

Our team has compiled COVID-19 resources to provide guidance and support for San Diego businesses and residents. Here are three financing programs you should know about. 

1. Main St. Matters Grant

Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest is offering grants to businesses that have not received any other emergency funding. Businesses must be in good standing with BBB, upholding their standards for trust, and be located in the Pacific Southwest Region. Watch this short video for more information.

2. Women’s Empowerment Loan Fund (WELF)

San Diego Grantmakers and the International Rescue Committee have created a loan that provides low cost financing to women-owned businesses in San Diego. In addition to the loans, which will range from $5,000 – $25,000, the program includes resources such as expert coaching and assistance from the International Rescue Committee.

3. Salesforce Care Small Business Grants

Salesforce and Ureeka are offering $10,000 grants to 300 small businesses. Businesses must be for-profit companies, have between 2 and 50 employees, have been in business for 2 full years, have an annual revenue of between $250K and $2 million, and have experience challenges as a result of COVID-19.

For more COVID-19 recovery resources and information, please visit this page.

Regardless of how this all plays out, EDC is here to help. You can use the button below to request our assistance with finding information, applying to relief programs, and more.

Request EDC assistance

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3 resources for San Diego businesses – April 30, 2020

Our team has compiled COVID-19 resources to provide guidance and support for San Diego businesses and residents. Here are three programs providing small businesses relief in the form of loans and grants. 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Part of the recently passed stimulus package, the $349 billion U.S. Small Business Administration program will provide partially forgivable, low-interest loans to businesses with 500 employees or fewer. Loans can be used to offset operating costs including payroll, retirement benefits, mortgage/rent, and utilities. If used for allowable costs only, and if the company maintains the same number of employees, 8 weeks of operating costs can be forgiven. Companies are encouraged to apply through their existing SBA Lender. Please reference this guide and checklist for more information.

Loan Program for Unincorporated Areas

The County of San Diego is developing a loan program for small businesses in unincorporated areas that have suffered financially as a result of COVID-19. The program will give $5 million in loans and will be overseen by the San Diego Foundation. Applications for the loan are not yet open, please check back for updates.

LISC and US Bank Foundation Business Improvement Grants

San Diego is one of five cities nationwide to benefit from a $500,000 donation from U.S. Bank to our local LISC. The money is to be distributed to small businesses in underserved communities facing financial pressure due to COVID-19 in the form of $5,000 grants.

For more COVID-19 recovery resources and information, please visit this page.

Regardless of how this all plays out, EDC is here to help. You can use the button below to request our assistance with finding information, applying to relief programs, and more.

Request EDC assistance

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Mark Cafferty, Jerry Sanders: Recovery and Resiliency (Not Reopening)

Originally published on April 19 in the San Diego Business Journal, this excerpt is from the latest of EDC President and CEO Mark Cafferty’s weekly columns:

As we all settle in to the unfamiliar business and personal routines that have filled our days over the last several weeks, there is a lot of talk about “reopening” the economy. At the Chamber & EDC, our time is still being spent in daylong conversations with businesses—large and small—who are still in survival mode, trying to get money in the bank from various federal programs to help them keep their doors open, keep their team members employed, and bridge a gap from now until whenever some level of normalcy returns to their lives. If economic recovery was as simple as reopening something, we all would have (re)opened it by now.

The level of thoughtfulness, informed critical thinking, and step-by-step collaboration with public health officials that will need to go into the decision-making processes in front of us will be like nothing we have ever been a part of. Reopening businesses and generating near-term and long-term economic redevelopment strategies will be difficult and complex, and the level of urgency surrounding all of this could not be higher.

However, the unprecedented collaboration that is currently going into communicating with our political and healthcare leaders, sharing data and information across business groups and associations, and providing direct services to thousands of impacted businesses will position us well to generate the plans, steps, processes and communications strategies that will guide our businesses and economy into long-term recovery. This work and these relationships must ensure that as we work our way through this recovery, we create an economy that is more resilient and that works for more of our residents.

In the weeks ahead, we will share information on new task forces and working groups that will help in this ongoing and fluid process. Much of that work will be based on the information we have gathered from our ongoing business surveys with our partners, which we have shared with you below.

COVID-19 Impact Survey

Revenue impacts continue, but most firms favor temporary shutdowns over permanent closures.

In order to assess immediate economic impacts and understand the evolving business sentiment surrounding COVID-19, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Regional EDC, in partnership with San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center, Downtown San Diego Partnership and National City Chamber of Commerce, developed a survey.

Three trends stood out based on what employers told us during the first four weeks of surveying. These findings are based on responses from 692 companies across the San Diego region.

Temporary Shutdowns Increasing

Only about 1% of survey respondents have permanently closed their business, but 42% have temporarily shut down operations. This is encouraging, since the number of local business closures could have a direct bearing on the pace of recovery once the COVID crisis subsides. Businesses that have permanently closed their doors are in a range of industries, including biotech and pharmaceuticals, cleantech, food and beverage, manufacturing, professional services, and retail.

Expect Revenue Impacts to Continue

The industries in San Diego most vulnerable to the effects of policies aimed at containing the spread of the virus include arts and entertainment, food and beverage, retail, and tourism. Compared to when the survey began in mid-March, more firms in these industries increasingly expect revenue impacts to occur over the next 1-3 months, rather than immediately. The perception by business owners that the economic and financial pain of the crisis could last longer than initially expected will likely be reflected as an effective moratorium on business investment and hiring in the near term.

Financial Assistance and Access to Capital

Compared to earlier survey results, more businesses are expressing interest in financing and capital to cope with the massive revenue shortfalls associated with COVID-19.

For an interactive visualization of survey responses, please visit: https://www.sandiegobusiness.org/research/covid-19-survey-results/

‘Still Hiring’ list connects local job seekers to new opportunities

Over the past few weeks, it’s fair to say that our world (and community) have been turned upside down. Given the current circumstances, we know there are many San Diego job seekers on the market. And while things are changing rapidly, we are still getting calls from companies that are hiring and VCs that are still looking to invest.

The solution:

Over the last week, EDC’s San Diego: Life. Changing. program partnered with Startup San Diego and Connect to help our local job seekers connect with all of the San Diego tech and life sciences companies that are still hiring.

The result: a growing, “live” list of more than 25 companies that are still looking for innovative San Diegans to fill open positions. The list is updated almost daily with new companies and to ensure the most current news, company representatives themselves submit hiring information. With open opportunities at tech giants like Qualcomm, life sciences teams like BD, and even nonprofits and startups, we’re hopeful our community will quickly find exciting new positions working on homegrown innovations.

Click here or scroll down to see the live list of San Diego companies that are hiring. And if your company is still hiring, we encourage your team to use this form to provide our San Diego community with additional details. It takes under a minute to pay it forward – and help someone in our community find their next opportunity.

We’re in this together, San Diego. #SDtogether

Hiring in San Diego:

 

 

Mark Cafferty: How EDC is helping local companies connect and pivot

Originally published on April 12 in the San Diego Business Journal, this excerpt is from the latest of EDC President and CEO Mark Cafferty’s weekly columns:

Our team has responded to more than 360 companies in the last three weeks, and we have been actively working to connect them to the right services and resources and to help them better understand the various programs that are being expanded, created and updated on a daily basis. As a comparison, in a typical year, the EDC team works on about 150-180 business projects. As you can see, we have doubled that number in just a few weeks and are only working with a fraction of the businesses in need of support at this time.

While recent events have forced us to think and work differently, I truly believe that when the programs we are delivering to the community are important and valuable, we need to find more creative ways to keep them going. One program that exemplifies this kind of pivot for EDC is Advancing San Diego. Thanks to a grant from JP Morgan Chase, EDC and regional partners have launched a program that drives economic inclusion by addressing talent shortages. We had always thought that a critical part of this program would be creating a series of new paid STEM internships within our small businesses. So our team has flipped the traditional workforce development model on its head: employers tell us the skills they need, we identify the educational programs – Preferred Providers – that do the best job providing the identified skills, and then we use Advancing San Diego funds to create pathways for San Diegans into quality jobs in the companies that need them most. And the companies that need talent the most right now are our small businesses.

Read the full column on San Diego Business Journal’s website.

San Diego Regional EDC: Message from Mark Cafferty – April 5

Originally published on April 5 in the San Diego Business Journal, this is the latest of EDC President and CEO Mark Cafferty’s weekly columns:

Once again, I hope this message finds all of you healthy and safe. With each passing day, our team at San Diego Regional EDC is adjusting and repurposing our work to address the new normals (short-term and long-term) that our businesses are trying to deal with. While we are all facing significant challenges, it has been both amazing and inspiring to see how local companies have mobilized, adapted and pivoted to play critical roles in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and response.

As some of you know, I have been asked to write a weekly column to provide resources and information to the business community as things continue to move and change around us. As an important supporter and investor in our work, I wanted to make sure you had a preview of this information. You will begin to get updates from me every Thursday and see a similar version of these updates in the San Diego Business Journal the following Monday.

Stepping Up and Doubling-Down

In the City of San Diego, Mayor Faulconer has urged companies to pivot and expand their operations to support the COVID-19 response efforts. Other city leaders, from Chula Vista to San Marcos, have followed suit.

From their unique local, national and global perspectives, here are just a few of the ways in which San Diego companies are stepping up and pivoting operations to respond:

• ResMed – ResMed is best known for creating medical technology to address sleep apnea and other breathing/respiratory illnesses. The company also produces and manufactures respirators and ventilators for hospital and home use. ResMed is now looking to pivot some of its production capacity away from sleep apnea devices to the much-needed ventilators, which will triple the number of ventilators that the company produces.

• Cutwater Spirits – Cutwater Spirits, which was originally started by the team at Ballast Point, has already begun retooling operations to make badly-needed hand sanitizer. Other local distilleries, including Misadventure Vodka and Seven Caves, are also retooling to help provide this essential resource for medical facilities and homes.

• Orucase – Orucase, a San Diego manufacturer of cycling travel bags and accessories, has started adapting its production lines to manufacture face masks. The company has the capacity to make 500,000 a week and plans to begin shipping immediately. Additionally, Orucase is in the process of securing materials to make medical-grade masks for healthcare workers.

• Cubic – Cubic is leveraging technology through its Cubic Mission Solutions division to create a prototype ventilator. The San Diego-based company is partnering with the University of Alabama’s Nursing program to test and refine this ventilator.

• Flexsystems – El Cajon-based manufacturer Flexsystems has also changed its operations to focus on manufacturing fabric masks and splash guards.

As I mentioned in last week’s column, we are continuing to see many local life sciences companies explore and uncover potential solutions, vaccines and cures. In addition to Thermo Fisher Scientific and others, this past week has brought announcements of other local companies that are stepping up in a big way–many of them are startups and small businesses themselves. San Diego-based startup Cue Health has won a $13 million federal contract to speed up the development of testing. LunaDNA, a local startup that allows individuals to share and control their health and genomic data, is already thinking long term. The company is collecting real-world information by asking individuals to anonymously report how they are either living with or living in the times of COVID-19. This information will help scientists and researchers better understand long-term health impacts, and potentially, even lead to a cure.

A San Diego Marketplace

While many companies are stepping up to help, there are several healthcare organizations on the front lines of this effort that still desperately need resources and supplies. To that end, EDC is supporting the efforts of our partners at Biocom (San Diego and California’s largest biotech and life sciences industry association) to create an online marketplace for critical items. If your company is producing something in the COVID-19 supply chain and is looking for a buyer, or if you are looking to pivot operations and needs crucial materials to do so, this new online marketplace can be accessed at www.biocom.org/coronavirus/partnering-opportunities/

How Business Are Really Doing

Along with our partners at San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce & San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center, we have deployed a survey to assess immediate economic impacts and understand the evolving business sentiment. We plan to keep this open for the foreseeable future and chart how responses change over time.

The first two weeks of data we analyzed is from 642 employers, representing 87,824 jobs. More than 86 percent of businesses that have responded expect to see revenue losses, and not surprisingly, our small businesses are expecting higher losses than the larger business respondents.

We have seen that many businesses have already had to lay off workers and most survey respondents sighted access to financing/capital as one of their most pressing business concerns.

In the weeks ahead, EDC and our partners will continue to share a weekly analysis of what we are learning and seeing through the business survey and designing new strategies and programs to address the changing and evolving business needs.

For up-to-date analysis and interactive dashboard of the data, please visit www.sandiegobusiness.org/research/covid-19-survey-results/

If you have not yet taken the survey, you can find it here: www.sandiegobusiness.org/blog/we-need-your-help-understanding-the-impact-of-covid-19-in-san-diego/

We will also continuously update our resource guide online (www.sandiegobusiness.org/coronavirus/) to provide the most timely information on where businesses can access reliable resources and support at this time.

The weeks and months ahead are going to continue to be challenging, uncharted, and in many cases, heartbreaking. Be patient with and supportive of your business partners, colleagues, contractors and associates. We are all in this together and we are all trying to figure things out together. Our team will continue to share with you everything that we believe can be valuable and helpful during these times and we will work hard to pass along everything new that we are analyzing and learning along the way.

Communication, connectedness, collaboration and generosity are hallmarks of our business community. They aren’t just pleasant words and aspirations. They are the core values that make us resilient and strong. None of that changes during times of social distancing and crisis.

Stay healthy, stay safe, (stay home), and stay strong.

San Diego companies combat COVID-19 in creative ways

This piece is shared from San Diego: Life. Changing.’s blog:

Amidst uncertain times, we’re grateful for the San Diego life sciences companies responding to COVID-19 in the biggest ways–developing tests, innovating vaccines, and more. But many San Diego companies are stepping up to help in less conventional ways. Here are five:

1. Seven Caves Distillery

Seven Caves Distillery, located off Miramar Road, is one of several local distilleries using its facility to manufacture hand sanitizer and get it in the hands of the people who need it most – restaurant and health care workers. In partnership with Bill Rogers of Liberty Call Distilling, owner Geoff Longenecker has helped source ethanol from fellow distilleries – enough to make more than 200 gallons of sanitizer.

2. Orucase

A bicycle accessory manufacturer…helping the COVID-19 effort? It’s true: Clairemont Mesa-based Orucase, which makes sturdy travel cases for cyclists, has modified its manufacturing line to make face masks for medical workers on the front line. The company aims to manufacture 500,000 per week, and can ship immediately.

3. Dr. Bronner’s

Vista-based Dr. Bronner’s recently announced it is allotting a reserve of 2% of all hand sanitizer production to donate to at-risk communities and the organizations that serve them. The company has already shipped donations organizations serving unhoused and low-income populations in San Diego, New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Additionally, Dr. Bronner’s donated boxes of soap and hand sanitizer to Vista’s Public Safety team to help keep them healthy while they keep our region safe.  See more on Dr. Bronner’s here.

4. Nanome

Nanome, a VR startup in Miramar, has been using its immersive technology to help scientists around the world model potential therapies for COVID-19 in virtual reality. Recently, the company’s drug discovery specialist and a biomedical modeler for Australia’s national science agency CSIRO used this tech to investigate the way the virus uses its spike protein to attach to human cells. By using Nanome’s technology, the scientists were able to run simulations and manually interrogate key parts of the model. While scientists recently solved the structure of COVID-19, there are gaps in the knowledge that Nanome believes its technology could help fill.

5. Highland Valley Vineyards

Escondido’s family-owned Highland Valley Vineyards has committed to donating 20% of its proceeds to the San Diego Food Bank through at least mid-May. With this effort, the winery hopes to help the Food Bank support the increased need for food assistance brought on by COVID-19 related employment losses. Individuals interested in supporting a local family business and a great cause can purchase carry-out bottles on Saturday and Sundays, from noon to six, or via the online storefront featuring all of the wines and shipping to 38 states. Learn more at Innovate78.

These are just a few of the many San Diego companies stepping up to help in creative ways. Know a great company that deserves recognition? Tag @SDlifechanging on Twitter or Instagram to let us know.

For more COVID-19 resources, visit our COVID-19 page.

 

San Diego Business Journal: Message from EDC President and CEO Mark Cafferty

Originally published on March 29 in the San Diego Business Journal, this is the first of EDC President and CEO Mark Cafferty’s weekly columns:

As I write this, I can only hope for everyone reading that your families and loved ones are both healthy and safe. The impact of COVID-19 in all corners of our community has been devastating and has changed our lives in numerous ways.

Things have certainly changed for our team at San Diego Regional EDC over the last few weeks, so I write today to share our unique perspectives.

As an economic development organization, EDC plays a unique role in serving the business community. We recognize that so much of this is uncharted territory for all of us. But as always, it is important to step back and look at what we know and focus on where we are needed most.

Our regional collaboration is an asset recognized around the world and I am certain it is going to be a key reason why San Diego emerges from this global health crisis stronger than ever. There is no doubt we will be facing challenging weeks and months ahead. Accurate and timely communication will be critical to our business community.

In that vein, our team has spent the last two weeks making outreach calls to our nearly 200 investors–the companies that underwrite our work. These companies range from regional giants such as Qualcomm, Sempra and Illumina, to shipbuilders like NASSCO, to hospitals/healthcare providers like Scripps, Sharp and Kaiser Permanente who are on the front lines of this crisis, to small and family owned business like Brown Law Group, Ace Parking and Jerome’s Furniture. Some of them are busier than ever and some are struggling in unprecedented ways. Yet one resounding thing we have heard from all of them is that they want to know how they can help fellow San Diegans. Some of them have made donations to the San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund and others have offered their manufacturing floors to produce critical resources.

Resources for the Business Community

While our team is still trying to get our hands around everything that is happening right now, and we certainly don’t have all the answers, EDC has quickly pivoted to provide companies with a comprehensive list of resources that we feel can best meet their needs right now. And while these continue to change and expand by the day, I wanted to take a moment to point a few out:

City of San Diego – Economic Relief Package

Businesses in the City of San Diego may be eligible for the Economic Relief Package, which provides approximately $4 million in reduced fees. It includes a Small Business Relief Fund, where businesses can apply for grants and/or low-interest loans, as well as an extension of business permits and business tax-deferral options. I know some other cities in the region are working on their own relief packages as well.

Small Business Administration–Economic Injury Disaster Loan

The San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center can provide no-cost guidance through a company’s recovery process. Businesses can apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, which may provide up to $2 million of financial assistance. SBA also has immediate $25,000 bridge loans available (less paperwork) for small businesses with an existing relationship with the SBA. To apply for these programs, visit SDIBDC’s website and click “request counseling.”

South County EDC – South County Restaurant Loan

South County Economic Development Council is offering $5,000 no-interest loans to eating establishments in South County. Apply here.

San Diego Workforce Partnership – Layoff Transition Services

For businesses in the tough spot of dealing with layoffs or furloughs, San Diego Workforce Partnership has unemployment insurance information, tax assistance, a work-sharing program to avoid layoffs, financial planning, remote career services and more. If you are pivoting operations to address COVID-19 solutions, San Diego Workforce Partnership may also be able to provide funds to train workers. Fill out this form to get started.

Advancing San Diego

Thanks to a $3 million grant from JP Morgan Chase & Co, EDC and regional partners have launched Advancing San Diego–a program that drives economic inclusion by addressing talent shortages. Advancing San Diego is offering fully paid software engineering internships for companies with fewer than 100 employees. Over the past week, we have pivoted this program to provide remote internships. Companies can apply to host a fully funded intern here.

According to the Brookings Institution, 73 percent of San Diego’s economic growth is going to come from small businesses. However, we know that businesses of all sizes are struggling to adapt, and are searching for programs that provide support at all levels.

We have refocused our efforts on finding resources to assist businesses through this significant economic change and are working even more closely with our partners at San Diego Workforce Partnership and the United Way of San Diego County who will continue to provide resources and support to impacted workers.

Understanding the Regional Impact

At EDC, we frequently say “everything we do begins and ends with research.” We know we cannot grow and help our economy if we do not have the means to measure and track our efforts. And right now, accurate data and information is more important than ever.

To that end, San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Regional EDC are working together to assess the impacts of COVID-19 on San Diego’s economy.

We are asking businesses to fill out a short survey so we can better understand how we can help in the days, weeks and months ahead.

The survey has been open nearly a week, and the responses have been eye-opening. Yes, companies are struggling and there have been layoffs, but amidst all the struggle, there have been some bright spots. I will share some of this data and anecdotes with you in the coming weeks.

Good News Ahead

With a research institution named after the inventor of the Polio vaccine and numerous contributions in fighting global health crises such as Ebola and HIV, San Diego has developed a reputation for bringing life-changing treatments to the world.

Right now researchers in San Diego are working 24/7 to find a vaccine and/or cure. We have local companies like Arcturus Therapeutics and Inovio Pharmaceuticals that are focusing on developing life saving vaccines, and others like Mesa Biotech, Epitope Diagnostics and Thermo Fisher Scientific that are developing and distributing test kits to healthcare workers around the globe. These workers have been showing up every day, ready to serve our residents and forge ahead, and I know I stand with the entire business community in expressing my unwavering gratitude to them all.

Back in 2011, as San Diego was climbing out of the recession, our board members were going around the table discussing all the positive things happening in our region. Our current chair – Janice Brown – suggested at that time that we compile all of the highlights into a newsletter, and from there, our publication known as “Good News of the Week” was born. With the rare exception of holidays, we have not missed a week since. Although it will take on a different and appropriate tone with regards to all that is happening now, you can expect to see Good News from EDC in the weeks ahead.

Our local outlets, including the Business Journal, are important work to keep us informed.  We need to be reminded of the numerous wins in our community now more than ever. We need to support them.

Moving Forward

When I started at EDC a little more than 8 years ago, our board challenged our team to reframe how San Diego thinks about economic development…and we have. We have built a team that believes in our mission and lives our core values of collaboration, integrity, accountability and inclusion. In the weeks ahead, as we all strive for some level of economic stability, we will be thinking again of how to reframe our value proposition and how we can best serve San Diego businesses now and in the future.

I know we are all going to get through this. Things will certainly get worse before they get better, but things will get better.

In the meantime, let’s all continue to do our best to stay in touch with each other and take care of each other. I remind myself daily that it is who we are during these moments that will shape who our children are in the future and who we will forever be in the eyes of those who count on us.

Stay safe, stay inside and stay strong.