More than 80 percent of small businesses along the state Route 78 corridor in northern San Diego County expect to grow financially over the next two years, according to a study released Tuesday by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and Innovate78.

According to the study, 85 percent of small businesses in cities like Carlsbad, Escondido and Vista along the 78 corridor expect to see financial growth in the near future. About half of businesses surveyed — 45 percent — also expect to add employees in the next two years, while just 6 percent expect to downsize.

Innovate78 and the Regional EDC suggested that businesses along the 78 corridor may be more successful than small businesses nationwide. Almost 50 percent of small businesses in the U.S. fail in their first five years, while 62 percent of businesses along the corridor have been in operation for more than five years.

“A quick glance at the data confirms that small businesses are a key driver for our economy. But when you dig a little deeper, you uncover trends that are key to understanding the 78 corridor’s competitive advantage,” said Regional EDCU Director of Research Kirby Brady, the study’s author. “The study shows that small businesses along the 78 Corridor are both profitable and resilient.”

The two organizations surveyed a total of 164 businesses with fewer than 100 employees for the study. According to Innovate78, 98 percent of the corridor’s businesses are small businesses and 49 percent of them do the bulk of their business within San Diego County.

“Most small business owners are so busy running their companies, that they don’t have time to step back and leverage the resources available to them,” said Michelle Geller, the city of Escondido’s economic development manager. “Using the data from this study, we will be able to better collaborate with regional partners to ensure these businesses remain viable and a key economic engine in North County.”

–City News Service