San Diego’s Changing Business Landscape: The next normal is here

San Diego Regional EDC is excited to kick-off our Changing Business Landscape Series, which will be published bi-monthly in the San Diego Business Journal and on our blog.

Surveying the changing business landscape in San Diego

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every facet of life, including how businesses operate. The San Diego region began the year with near-record high unemployment and widespread small business closures. Meanwhile, large companies across the globe have extended remote work well into 2021 and are even abandoning their corporate campuses. Companies in every industry are rapidly re-evaluating how they do business and changing the way they interact with customers, manage supply chains, and where their employees are physically located. This has massive immediate and long-term implications for San Diego’s workforce and job composition, as well as regional land use decisions and infrastructure investment.

To identify evolving trends in local business needs and operations, ensuring their ability to grow and thrive in the region, EDC began surveying more than 200 employers in the region’s key industries in January. Given the uncertainty of this moment in history, EDC will continue to survey these companies on a rolling basis throughout 2021 to monitor and report out shifts in their priorities and strategies. These insights will help inform long-term economic development priorities around talent recruitment and retention, quality job creation, and infrastructure development. Businesses are surveyed on several topics, with varying emphases in each wave.

Here are three key findings:

  1. Everything is different, yet the future is bright. The pandemic has fundamentally altered how businesses operate across key industries. However, most companies are optimistic about their ability to pivot and emerge even stronger.
  1. Remote working is no longer a perk or competitive advantage—it’s the standard. Most companies view remote working as here to stay. This is viewed as both a benefit and as a threat to employee retention.
  1. Long commutes have been replaced by a blurring of work-life boundaries. Companies are struggling in maintaining employee morale and engagement. While many are seeing signs of employee burnout and isolation, few report significant concerns with retention.

San Diego’s innovation cluster rises to meet the challenge

One year into a global pandemic, San Diego’s most innovative companies and industries are well on their way to economic recovery. In fact, high-wage jobs—many of which are concentrated in aerospace, life science, and technology industries—have more than recovered from the pandemic-driven recession. This is welcome news as these are key drivers of economic growth in the region. In fact, every “innovation” job supports another two jobs elsewhere in the economy.

Even though growth has returned to the innovation cluster, the pandemic has disrupted the way these companies operate. The overwhelming majority (83 percent) of companies surveyed agree that the pandemic has fundamentally altered their industry. Yet, nearly as many (81 percent) feel that their industry has been able to adjust and remain healthy. Even more encouraging, 87 percent believe their industry will emerge even stronger once the pandemic has ended after adopting new ideas and implementing new strategies. However, those in the aerospace industry express somewhat lower levels of optimism, as the industry faces continued uncertainty around travel safety and demand.

Confidence is somewhat lower among smaller firms. Only 77 percent of those with fewer than 50 employees agree that their industry would emerge stronger and 10 percent strongly disagree. This likely reflects the disproportionate impact that the pandemic has had on small businesses, regardless of industry. While those in leisure and hospitality have certainly been the hardest hit, even small firms in professional and business services, including scientific and technical services, are currently experiencing lower revenues compared to before the pandemic.

Yet, the strongest signal for optimism comes from the direct response in combatting the novel coronavirus. San Diego companies have been among those leading the fight in everything from personal protective equipment and diagnostics to therapeutics and vaccine development. The life-changing and life-saving companies have pivoted and innovated yet again, drawing in record levels of venture capital investment. In the fourth quarter of 2020 alone, the region received nearly $2.7 billion in venture funding—with almost three-quarters going to life sciences and healthcare companies—which is more than three previous quarters combined, and $2 billion more than Q4 2019. The surge in investment and jobs recovery has the majority of innovation companies confident in the region’s ability to grow in prominence, or remain steadfast as a global leader in tech and life sciences.

The war for talent has no bounds

Talent has always been San Diego’s competitive advantage. People come from all over the world to get educated and build meaningful careers in everything from software engineering and autonomous vehicles to genomics sequencing and cybersecurity. San Diego’s innovation industries are among the highest-paying and fastest-growing in the region. Despite a global pandemic, many of these industries are accelerating hiring. The information sector, including telecommunications and information technology services, posted 20 percent more unique job ads in December 2020 than the year prior.

However, top talent remains hard to find. And while many of the jobs in these industries have shifted to either partially or fully remote, there are mixed feelings about whether it is a benefit or a detriment to talent recruitment and retention. Perceptions are tied to a company’s approach to attracting remote talent (see below). On one hand, a majority of respondents think that their ability to hire and retain skilled talent will not be impacted by the pandemic because of remote work capabilities. Many have expanded their recruitment beyond San Diego’s borders and are willing to accommodate working from outside the region to retain the very best talent. These San Diego-based companies that view the world as their pool for talent are embracing a global workforce that can get the job done from anywhere.

Yet, there is also a large minority of companies that view the pandemic as impacting the way they hire and retain talent. Again, the shift to remote work is cited as the top reason, with an even larger proportion (35 percent) identifying it as the cause for their pessimism. In fact, 45 percent of survey respondents rate hiring new employees during the pandemic as either “difficult” or “more difficult” than before, compared to 18 percent who view it as “easier” or “much easier.” Furthermore, nearly half of respondents cite talent recruitment as an area needing assistance and 20 percent identify it as an “urgent need.”

The pandemic has leveled the playing field for markets aiming to attract the best and brightest knowledge. San Diego’s competition with companies and regions across the country has increased. The region’s high cost of living is by far the biggest impediment to talent attraction, with 44 percent of respondents identifying high home prices as the most negative attribute of the San Diego market. This is due in large part to housing production not keeping pace with employment growth. As a result, San Diego has the second highest median home price among the 25 largest metros in the U.S., behind only San Francisco, and home prices jumped another 11 percent in 2020. Ensuring San Diego is an attractive and affordable place for talent and business is critical to maintaining its regional competitiveness.

Responding to workers’ needs is top of mind for companies

Transitioning to a remote work environment has been challenging. Business leaders are acutely aware of the need to balance conducting business as usual and responding to the changing needs of a newly remote workforce. Survey respondents report signs of ‘zoom fatigue,’ blurred work-life boundaries, and isolation among employees. While it has not yet significantly impacted retention, a full 60 percent of respondents rated “maintaining employee morale” as more challenging during the pandemic.

Furthermore, respondents expressed concerns about returning to an in-person work environment, recognizing that not all employees will want to return to the office immediately or full-time. This next phase of work will bring about a new set of challenges and a need for new policies, systems, and support for San Diego workers. Many questions remain around how much space will be needed and how it might need to be reconfigured to accommodate a flexible work environment that is also responsive to new health and safety requirements.

Survey respondents rated individualistic factors related to professional growth and work-life balance as the most important attributes to a competitive market for talent attraction and retention. This differs greatly from perceptions from just four years ago, when top universities and an entrepreneurial spirit were more top of mind. The desire to adapt and respond to the most pressing needs of its workforce, reinforces the notion that San Diego businesses value talent above all else.

Stay tuned for more on San Diego’s changing business landscape. EDC will be back every other month with more trends and insights. For more data and analysis visit: sandiegobusiness.org/research.

This research is made possible by:

Study release: North County’s manufacturing industry poised for recovery, growth

A marketing initiative of EDC and the five cities along the 78 Corridor, Innovate78 serves to spotlight the businesses and innovators that make our region competitive.

Today, Innovate78 released a new report, The Future of Manufacturing in North County, which finds the industry will continue to prove its resiliency and positive economic impact in the region—even amid trends in automation, globalization and COVID-19 ramifications. According to the study, manufacturing accounts for $18 billion annually (or seven percent) of the area’s economy, and while many of the 813 local manufacturing firms were impacted by coronavirus, 58 percent of survey respondents are looking to increase their space.  

The study analyzes trends in employment, which is concentrated in high-value goods like computer and electronic product manufacturing. This sub-industry specifically accounts for nearly one-third of all manufacturing jobs in North County, with 12,746 employees of the total 40,151 jobs reported in the study. This number is expected to grow nearly six percent in the next five years—continuing to position manufacturing as a key driver of North County’s economy.  

Flux Power, a company represented in the study that manufactures advanced lithium-ion battery for industrial and commercial equipment, increased both their staff and revenue in 2020 amid the pandemic. With more than 100 employees, the Vista-based company is now looking to increase both its production and nonproduction space within the region.  

“The need to be efficient, safe and environmentally-conscious is high, especially now, as businesses plan for post-COVID-19 recovery,” said Chuck Scheiwe, chief financial officer of Flux Power. “Manufacturing products that empower others to improve their day-to-day efficiencies will be critical in our industry and region’s future growth, and we’re proud to be part of it.”  

The study reports that during COVID-19, North County manufacturing companies were undoubtedly impacted by the pandemic, with 43 percent of respondents reporting a loss of revenue in 2020. Looking at net growth, however, there was a reported one percent increase in manufacturing jobs, with 186 manufacturing jobs lost and 956 gained as noted by respondents. Most job losses were in medical manufacturing, while most job gains were in machinery manufacturing.  

One company that reported job gains is Quik-Pak, an Escondido based computer and electronic manufacturing company. In addition to anticipating upscaling facilities in the future, during COVID-19 Quik-Pak hired staff and reported increased revenue.  

“The strength of the manufacturing industry in North County San Diego is one of the reasons we wanted to expand here,” said Rosie Medina, vice president sales and marketing of Quik-Pak. “The talent pool is rich, and there is space to grow. We appreciate that not every region has both of these critical components that are needed for our industry to thrive.”    

Automation, globalization and COVID-19 are obvious pressures affecting North County’s manufacturing industry. However, as Quik-Pak and Flux Power note, the need for innovation and talent remain strong. There are 9,804 manufacturing jobs with a higher-than-average risk of automation—that’s nearly 24 percent of all North County manufacturing jobs. Investment in upskilling and re-training will be needed to help move these workers into other quality jobs over time.  

From craft beer to surfboards, to life-changing medical devices and technology services, manufacturing has long been a pillar of the region’s economy, with impacts spanning beyond our community,” said Jordan Latchford, research manager of San Diego Regional EDC, the study author and managing entity of Innovate78. “This study confirms the manufacturing industry in North County is poised for a strong recovery, and will remain a significant economic driver for the San Diego region.”  

read the full report

LEARN MORE ABOUT SAN DIEGO’S MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY

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Release: EDC study finds one in four local firms engaged in AI

EDC study quantifies impact of artificial intelligence, machine learning

San Diego industries that are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) support an estimated 175,680 jobs and $33.3 billion in annual gross regional product, according to a study released today by San Diego Regional EDC. Underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton, “Measuring the Future: AI and San Diego’s Economy” is the first in a series of reports that will identify key industries and clusters where AI and machine learning (ML) have been implemented, and ultimately quantify the impacts of these technologies on San Diego’s regional economy.

The study—available at SanDiegoAI.org—includes a historic timeline, cluster map, and cross-references AI patent language with job postings to anticipate the future impacts of AI and ML on the job market.

AI and ML technologies have swiftly infiltrated most every facet of our lives as computing power and speed increase. Self-driving cars, algorithmic trading, customer experience bots and AI assistants like Siri and Alexa have become commonplace tools used by people at home and at work.

“The proliferation of AI and ML technologies promises to be a transformative force for businesses worldwide—and like in many innovative industries—San Diego is at the forefront. With this report, the EDC Research Bureau helps paint a picture of the impact of AI, proving its potential to grow jobs and even help narrow gender and racial wage gaps,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO, San Diego Regional EDC.

Contrary to popular belief and despite current economic conditions, three in five AI developers (62 percent) expect to see the number of employees specifically engaged in AI-related work grow over the next 12 months. This means locally based AI talent could help meet growing demand across the U.S. as employers try to hire workers in earnest that possess skills readily available from San Diego AI. Notably, job postings data in Sun Belt metros like San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Tampa and Miami show that employers are struggling to fill positions requiring facial and speech recognition skills—key specializations of AI developers in San Diego. Meanwhile, predictive and forecasting AI could help alleviate hiring difficulties among firms in major economic and financial centers, including New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. More than eight in 10 AI developers in San Diego specialize in machine or deep learning technologies, a fundamental building block for predictive AI.

Large local companies in San Diego like Booz Allen Hamilton, Northrop Grumman Corporation, ResMed and growing startups and small businesses like Lytx, Lockton, Traits AI and Semantic AI are helping to lead the charge in AI—enabling people and firms to operate more quickly and efficiently. Specifically, the use of AI or ML technologies largely supports four areas of firm activity: the development of new products and services, improved efficiency and productivity, reduced costs and an increase in business revenues.

“Booz Allen Hamilton is at the forefront of AI adoption, development and implementation, and we believe that San Diego’s companies can leverage this technology to meet their missions, attract talent and fuel economic activity,” said Joe Rohner, a Booz Allen director and leader in the firm’s analytics practice and AI services business. “We are energized that EDC’s report findings show local respondents see AI as truly helping the San Diego economy by creating more jobs—not eliminating them. People are essential to the ethical application of AI, and this technology will enable organizations and their workforce to increase productivity, quality and efficiency—in San Diego and globally.”

Despite AI’s productivity-boosting, job-creating power, a number of challenges remain. Top of mind for most local employers is the inability to source qualified talent. However, COVID-19 and the subsequent increase in remote work has expanded the talent pool for San Diego County’s AI and ML employers.

“Rapidly developing machine learning/artificial intelligence technology that enhances the work our men and women in uniform do every day is critical to the future of defense. Northrop Grumman is well positioned to continue to grow the local talent pipeline through our San Diego-based education programs so businesses in our community have the right skill sets available to support this important and rapidly evolving field,” said Alfredo Ramirez, Vice President of Northrop Grumman’s San Diego Autonomous Design Center of Excellence.

OTHER KEY FINDINGS

  • Average salary in AI/ML-concentrated industries is $127,960—3.9 percent above the national average for these industries and more than 70 percent above San Diego’s average worker salary.
  • For every 1,000 jobs gained in this cluster, another 1,400 jobs are created in other industries.
  • Survey proves AI adoption is creating job opportunities in the region:
    • 66 percent of firms agreed that the use of AI and ML has created new job opportunities
    • 54 percent of firms agree that AI and ML are increasing the need for more workers at their business
  • 31 percent of jobs in AI-concentrated fields require only a high school diploma and pay an average of $22.42 per hour
  • The boost to productivity and efficiency from AI and ML should lift wages in traditional or population-serving industries, which employ a larger share of women and non-white workers than other sectors, and could therefore potentially reduce gender and racial wage gaps as these technologies are adopted.

The report was produced by San Diego Regional EDC, underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton, and sponsored by Northrop Grumman Corporation, ResMed, Lytx and Lockton.

Read the full study at SanDiegoAI.org

For more research from EDC, click here.

EDC’s Virtual Manufacturing Day 2020 Round Up

Happy Manufacturing MONTH, San Diego!

We hope you were able to tune into our October 1 event featuring speakers from McKinsey & Co. discussing global supply chain risks and how supply chain professionals can ensure their businesses are resilient. Thank you to CMTC, Solar Turbines, and Walmart for sponsoring this event.

The following federally funded opportunities are available through CMTC to manufacturers in California. To learn more about how you can take advantage of these opportunities, contact San Diego regional manager, David Moates.

The following are resources from the event:

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Together with CMTC, EDC assists CA manufacturers impacted by COVID-19

CARES Act funding solidifies partnership with EDC, CMTC

EDC is pleased to announce a partnership with CMTC’s California’s Manufacturing Network to provide direct support to San Diego’s small and mid-size manufacturers negatively impacted by COVID-19.

“Through our partnership with CMTC, EDC is proactively supporting San Diego’s manufacturing industry. From defense and aerospace to craft beer and surfboards, regional manufacturers provide more than 108,000 jobs across more than 3,100 companies. Our team is making sure those impacted by COVID-19 access local and state resources to help them stabilize, and improve productivity and profitability when and where they can,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO, EDC.

With the pandemic dramatically redefining the landscape for California manufacturers, EDC will work with California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) and other members of the Network to help businesses survive, recover, and thrive as they navigate through the challenges brought on by the crisis.

EDC is providing resources and services at no cost to businesses such as: assistance with supply chain optimization, sourcing and logistics, talent recruitment and development, market diversification and exporting, and more. The goal is to meet with small- and mid-size manufacturers throughout the region to identify and understand their specific needs, challenges, and opportunities, and provide them with assistance for recovery and growth.

Funding from the CARES Act Stimulus Package 2020 is supporting this effort to reach manufacturing companies who are facing challenges in the current economic climate.

“Through our partnership with EDC, we’re reaching out to manufacturers in central and northern San Diego offering assistance to address their critical business challenges. Our partnership is focused on preserving the strong manufacturing base in the region during this unprecedented economic crisis,” said Jim Watson, president and CEO, CMTC.

EDC is offering a manufacturers a free webinar on October 1, kicking off National Manufacturing Month. Details and registration here.

Click here for more resources for manufacturers

About CMTC and California’s Manufacturing Network (CMN)

Established in 1992, CMTC is a private non-profit corporation that provides consulting services to small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) throughout the state of California. CMTC operates as part of a National Network through a cooperative agreement between the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the Department of Commerce for the State of California. In 2016, CMTC formed California’s Manufacturing Network (CMN) to expand capabilities and capacity to efficiently serve more manufacturers in California. This Network delivers services that address the regional challenges driven by a diverse manufacturing community. The Network is a collaboration of more than 25 partners focused on serving SMMs in rural and urban areas statewide. CMN has increased the number of SMMs served to more than 1,300 companies annually, which adds significant economic impact for manufacturers and the public good of the State of California.

This Outreach Program is funded by the CARES Act Stimulus Package 2020 – and is managed by CMTC – California’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center.  For more information visit cmtc.com

About the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Funding

COVID-19 recovery and resilience services funding is made possible by the NIST MEP National Emergency Assistance Program through funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Pub.L. 116–136).

Join us: Manufacturing Day 2020

Do you work for a manufacturer, or just want to know more about San Diego’s thriving manufacturing scene?

Click here to register for EDC’s October 1 virtual manufacturing event.

Plus, register to attend other regional manufacturing events:

Six things you didn’t know were #MadeInSD

Our region is home to a vibrant manufacturing cluster that spans many industries, including defense, aerospace, shipbuilding and repair, medical devices, craft brewing, and sports and active lifestyle. With a highly-skilled workforce, robust training programs, and close proximity to Mexico, San Diego is a hub for advanced manufacturing companies, with nearly 3,150 manufacturing companies currently supporting more than 108,000 jobs.

Here are six things you didn’t know were made by San Diego companies. And if you want to know more about San Diego’s thriving manufacturing scene, click here for key manufacturing resources, events, and data

1. Hard kombucha 

San Diego is a craft beer capital, certainly. But add an affinity for the outdoors, San Diego’s powerhouse brewing capabilities, and a sprinkle of regional innovation, and you’re eventually bound to get hard kombucha.

Local companies JuneShine and Boochcraft, which brew their beverages from organic, fresh ingredients, are heavyweights in the $12 million international hard kombucha industry. Even Forbes agrees.

Companies you should know: Boochcraft, JuneShine

2. Household supplies

You can keep your house clean and running thanks to San Diego manufacturers that believe its users should enjoy one product for dozens of use cases.

Vista-based Dr. Bronner’s boasts 18 different uses for its castile soaps, like doing laundry, scrubbing toilets, and controlling pests. And arguably everyone’s favorite household item, Scripps Ranch-based WD-40 has compiled more than 2,000 user-documented applications, including oiling, polishing, and removing residue.

Companies you should know: WD-40, Dr. Bronner’s

3. Medical devices

You probably know San Diego is a thriving hub for biotech in all forms – from research to medical device manufacturing. BD, Illumina, and Genentech are just a few of the local medical device companies that collectively employ more than 6,000 San Diegans.

And younger, smaller companies are showing no signs of slowing down either. From April through June 2020 alone, San Diego healthcare startups brought in $875 million in VC funding to help advance a variety of tests, treatments, and cures – largely focused on COVID-19.

Companies you should know: BD, Illumina, Genentech

4. Golf equipment

When it comes to popular success, North County’s golf equipment companies are on par with the rest of our region’s manufacturers. Callaway Golf and TaylorMade Golf, both based in Carlsbad, manufacture high-quality golf and athletic equipment used by casual and pro players alike.

Companies you should know: Callaway Golf, TaylorMade Golf

5. Guitars

Headquartered in El Cajon with a factory open for public tours, Taylor Guitars equips everyone from new players to Taylor Swift with beautiful, locally-made electric and acoustic instruments. Recently, the company has seen renewed public interest in its product. In June and July alone, the company received an enormous uptick in sales – to the tune of half its projected yearly orders.

Companies you should know: Taylor Guitars

6. Sunscreen

All this San Diego sun means we need healthy sun protection. Enter locally-made sunscreen. Coola, Sun Bum, and Amavara Skincare aren’t just solid sunscreen choices; they’re good for the earth too. These local manufacturers boast natural, environmentally-friendly, and cruelty free products – so you can care for yourself and the world around you.

Companies you should know: Coola, Sun Bum, Amavara Skincare

More on manufacturing:

Does your San Diego manufacturer need help finding resources, or just want to know more about San Diego’s thriving manufacturing scene? Click here to learn more, and get in touch with EDC for custom help

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Biocom portal helps companies pivot operations to address COVID-19 crisis

As the global health pandemic progresses, leaders at every level have called on companies to step and help produce desperately-needed PPEs, ventilators, and sanitizing products.

A call to pivot

Last week San Diego, Mayor Faulconer made a public call for San Diego companies to pivot operations.

“We have the capability right here in San Diego to make a meaningful difference. All businesses that have the capacity and capability to shift their operations toward making essentials like ventilators, face masks, and hand-sanitizer are being urged to do so.”

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, City of San Diego

EDC President & CEO Mark Cafferty mentioned a few of the companies that have pivoted operations or doubling down in last week’s San Diego Business Journal. From Oracuse, a bike bag manufacturer that’s making masks, to Cutwater Spirits making hand sanitizer, and Resmed tripling the production of ventilators, San Diego companies from every industry and every corner of the region are helping out.

Biocom creates a portal

In response to the Mayor’s call, Biocom partnered with EDC and CMTC to create a COVID-19 partnering site that allows companies to connect and partner on all aspects of the COVID-19 response. The partnering site connects companies with capacity to those with needs. It is divided into four categories: supplies (PPE, ventilators), testing (blood tests, swab tests, rapid high throughput testing), treatments (antivirals, repurposed existing treatments, comorbidity treatments), and vaccines (trials, breakthroughs).

Biocom launches partnering portal

 

The partnering portal is part of Biocom’s Coronavirus Resource Center, which also includes information on donations of PPE, San Diego life sciences companies making headlines in COVID-19 discoveries, and more.

 

“From Cubic to LunaDNA to distilleries like Cutwater Spirits, companies are stepping up and doubling down to ensure that our healthcare workers are protected and that we’re one step closer to finding a cure.”

Mark Cafferty, San Diego Regional EDC

If you are looking to pivot operations and need crucial aspects of the supply chain, please check out Biocom’s partnering portal. and spread the word to companies that may be able to help.

Need help navigating your businesses’ COVID-19 response? Please check out EDC’s coronavirus resource page below.

coronaviurs Resources

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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.