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Council OKs Mayor’s Plan to Spur Local Business Development, Improve Neighborhoods

$2.5 Million to Be Invested in Job Training, Neighborhood Improvement & Business Incentives

San Diego – As part of his ongoing efforts to encourage economic growth and create jobs so all San Diego neighborhoods can succeed, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer today gained unanimous City Council approval of a $2.5 million plan to spur business development, provide job training and improve urban spaces.

The money will come from San Diego Regional Enterprise Zone funds, which was a California-sponsored business tax credit program to support economic and work force development initiatives. That program was terminated in 2013, but there remained administrative revenue that could be used to support local economic initiatives. Mayor Faulconer recommended the $2.5 million in remaining funding go toward eight initiatives that support the City’s economic and workforce development goals.

“Strong communities are built on the foundation of strong local economies,” Mayor Faulconer said. “These initiatives will give local businesses and nonprofits the chance to grow and provide opportunity to residents in neighborhoods that have been traditionally underserved.”

City Council President Myrtle Cole and Councilmembers Chris Cate and Barbara Bry joined Mayor Faulconer in supporting the plan at a news conference earlier today.

The eight initiatives and funding amounts are:

  • One San Diego 100 Program – $300,000

Earlier this year, Mayor Faulconer launched the One San Diego 100 initiative – an at-risk youth and young adult employment and mentoring program with the goal of having 100 San Diego businesses provide 1,000 local youth with mentorships, job shadowing opportunities and paid internships. The program is a partnership with CONNECT2Careers.

  • Code for America Project – $200,000

Although the City offers many business incentive and assistance programs, getting the word out about these programs can be challenging. Code for America, an organization founded to address the widening technology gap between the public and private sectors, has agreed to help the City design a new outreach tool to help entrepreneurs leverage resources, access programs to grow their businesses, and increase engagement within underinvested neighborhoods.

  • Fee Payment Incentive – $240,000

The City will provide qualified expedited permitting services that reduce processing times by 50 percent at a discounted rate. Projects that represent economic sectors in which San Diego wants to be competitive, such as manufacturing or research and development, can qualify.

  • Placemaking Revolving Loan Fund – $400,000

Loans will be available to eligible nonprofits and businesses intending to develop or operate temporary neighborhood “place” facilities such as parklets, community gardens or farmers markets in underserved neighborhoods. The fund would provide an alternative source of project funding that could be difficult to obtain from traditional lending institutions. Loans up to $100,000 will be available with a maximum term of three years and 0 percent financing.

  • Urban Spaces Activation Grants – $200,000

These grants would allow nonprofits and businesses operating in the former enterprise zone and Promise Zone designation areas to apply for a maximum $10,000 grant to subsidize permit costs related to the temporary activation of an urban space. Examples include educational events, interactive temporary art exhibits or outdoor theater performances.

  • Revolving Loan Fund Study – $100,000

The Economic Development Department operates two loan funds that offer gap financing assistance to small and mid-size business owners with expanding operations that require capital, but are unable to meet the loan terms of traditional banks. To determine the effectiveness of the current programs, the Economic Development Department will hire a consultant to prepare an analysis to determine if restructuring of these programs is warranted to increase their effectiveness as a valued incentive to the business community. 

  • Capacity-Building Initiative – $367,000

The City receives requests from neighborhood-based nonprofit workforce development organizations in need of funding. To assist these organizations, this initiative would provide an annual allocation of funds for nonprofits that operate within and serve the economic development, community development, or employment needs of residents within the former enterprise zone. Fund amounts would be limited to a maximum $20,000 per organization, and fund beneficiaries would be required to attend the City’s “Not-for-Profit Accelerator” program. Beneficiaries of this incentive would have the opportunity to reapply for program funding after five years, provided funding continues to be available.

  • Water & Sewer Capacity Bank – $750,000

Businesses in San Diego pay for the amount of water they discharge into the sewer system. The capacity bank will be a valuable new incentive that businesses can apply for if they use a significant amount of water. Breweries, biotechnology firms and manufacturers can often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on capacity fees in order to expand their facilities and create new jobs.

CONTACT: Jen Lebron at (619) 384-5289 or [email protected]

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