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Economic Development

Why San Diego?

NOTE: We are currently redesigning the Economic Development Department website. Some pages may look different than others while we implement this change. 


San Diego is the best place to launch a startup, according to a 2014 issue of Forbes magazine. The City of San Diego's strong economy, diverse population, great educational institutions, unsurpassed quality of life and world-renowned location make it the ideal place to do business. Because of its talented, highly educated workforce and mix of high-tech industry and recreational assets, a marketing consortium of high-tech industries has dubbed San Diego "Technology's Perfect Climate."

Check out this video on how the City's Economic Development Department assisted CyberTech in the expansion of its incubator and coworking space in Downtown San Diego.


Business Friendly

The City of San Diego ensures that the climate for business is inviting. The City implements good government practices toward businesses while creating specific economic development programs. The City also maintains a healthy and safe environment and an up-to-date, well-maintained infrastructure that makes San Diego business-friendly and a great place to live.

The City of San Diego offers business incentives that are aligned with City Council Policy 900-12 , giving companies an edge in the marketplace and helping them expand and prosper.

A business is eligible for financial incentives if it meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • It provides significant revenues and/or jobs. 
  • It promotes the stability and growth of City taxes and other revenue.
  • It constructs appropriate development in older parts of the City. 
  • It is being induced by other jurisdictions to relocate from San Diego. 

The City's Economic Development Department has a proactive Business Expansion, Attraction and Retention (BEAR) Division that works directly with key businesses in targeted industries. It provides assistance and incentives to businesses and other economic development stakeholders in our region, resulting in the creation and retention of jobs in San Diego. Several business incentive programs are available  to assist companies in the San Diego region.

The City can help with project advocacy, due diligence and expedited permit review. Financial incentives can include reimbursement of all or a portion of building and/or development-related fees.

Permit Assistance

Certain San Diego businesses may also be eligible to receive expedited review and approval of building- and development-related permit entitlements. Prior to the lease or purchase of real estate, Economic Development staff can also provide assistance, including the identification of zoning standards, development regulations and submittal requirements.  

The City of San Diego ensures its business climate is attractive for both existing businesses and those interested in relocating to San Diego.

Other Economic Development Organizations Serving the San Diego Region

The City cultivates an open dialogue and partnership with private nonprofit organizations, trade associations and other institutions. Here are several that help the City maintain a business-friendly environment:

The Maritime Alliance 
San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. 

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce 
North San Diego Business Chamber
Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce

East County Economic Development Council 
San Diego North Economic Development Council 
South County Economic Development Council 

Small Business Advisory Board 

Good Government Practices

Good government practices can help businesses become more successful. The City of San Diego has concentrated on improving its business assistance programs, cutting costs and changing policies to help business launch and expand. Today, San Diego's economy is prospering in part because of good government practices and the City's commitment to develop the regional economy and improve the quality of life.

  • Saving Businesses Money - The City has saved businesses money by reducing housing trust fund fees and water and sewer fees, and by eliminating unnecessary requirements.
  • Saving Businesses Time - The City has saved businesses valuable time by reducing permit processing time, improving customer service and cutting the red tape.
  • Providing Regulatory Relief - The City has simplified processing and cost requirements, reduced fees and modified City codes to provide businesses with regulatory relief.
  • Making Information Easy to Get - The City makes information about City economic development programs easier to obtain with its helpful publications; an expanded website; special training classes and improved public outreach.

For more information, contact the City of San Diego's Economic Development Department at 619-236-6700.