A scientist working at a San Diego life sciences company. Image from CONNECT video
A scientist working at a San Diego life sciences company. Image from CONNECT video

By Barbara Bry

Imagine the economic impact of San Diego holding 34 Comic-Cons per year or 33 U.S. Open golf championships. Imagine how these events would be strong economic engines in our city — creating additional revenue and countless jobs. According to a recent report we already have the equivalent of this economic boon: the $4.6 billion a year created by local research institutions fueling the innovation economy. These funds help create the healthy economy we need to keep San Diego safe, clean and prosperous.

I recently released “Recruit, Retain and Remove the Red Tape: A Plan for Economic Development in the City of San Diego.” My plan leverages the city’s strength in the technology and life science sectors and lays out strategies for recruiting and retaining top talent and bolstering growth for all businesses by cutting bureaucracy and improving access to capital. This plan aims to create an economy that works for everyone and leaves no one behind.

The goals of the plan are simple. First, we must fortify our workforce by recruiting, training, hiring and promoting San Diegans. Next, we need to foster a business climate that attracts, retains and promotes business growth. Finally, we must help to increase companies’ access to capital, as well as invest in infrastructure improvements that will enhance our quality of life and help us to retain top talent.

City Council candidate Barbara Bry

Additionally, the plan outlines ways to make sure that STEM training — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — includes middle-skill positions, such as lab technicians, and that there are also short-term, technical training programs available. Ensuring the success of San Diego’s women and minority-owned business enterprises is another goal of this plan.

Small businesses are central to the fabric of our local economy, and this plan encourages their growth by leveraging existing local and federal resources that support all local businesses, including our mom-and-pop shops.

For more detailed information on these policy recommendations, you can read the complete plan here.

When crafting this strategy, I sought feedback from a group of stakeholders and other business experts. I will continue to solicit ideas from San Diego residents and industry leaders and use them to inform my policy plans, which will be released throughout my campaign for City Council District 1. If you would like to share your ideas about how we can improve the quality of life in our communities, please e-mail me at: BBryD12016@gmail.com.

Barbara Bry was co-founder of one of the first software companies to locate in downtown San Diego, Atcom/Info, which developed early versions of the software that provides Internet access in public places. She was also on the founding team of ProFlowers.com, a pioneering ecommerce company based in San Diego. Additionally, she served as the first associate director of CONNECT, and she is the founder of Athena San Diego, the leading organization for women in the San Diego tech and life science community. Currently she is a candidate for San Diego City Council District 1.