North County cities launch Innovate78 to drive regional job creation

In an unparalleled show of collaboration, the five North County cities of Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista have launched Innovate78, a branding and economic development initiative that will collectively promote the 78 Corridor as a magnet for talent, companies and investment. Home to more than 600,000 residents and 200,000 innovative businesses, the initiative will continue to fuel regional job creation.

“North County is not only a great place to live, but also a great place to build a company and work. Through this collaboration, Innovate78 is about showing the rest of the world what North County is all about,” said Matt Hall, Mayor of Carlsbad.

The announcement was made at a launch event at Cal State San Marcos this morning, where the five Mayors of each of the cities laid out their plan for prosperity and growth along the 78 Corridor, and unveiled a new website, Innovate78.com. The website will serve as a resource for the cities to attract and retain companies, as well as for companies to attract and retain a skilled workforce.

“We see the benefits in collectively promoting the 78 Corridor cities. For the past two years, we’ve collaborated side-by-side to ensure that we’re recruiting and retaining businesses together. This website will ensure that we’re sending the right message to businesses and employers about the 78 Corridor,” said Jim Wood, Mayor of Oceanside.

Innnovate78.com includes many interactive features including testimonials from companies, resources for building a business, a job portal, content about educational institutions and opportunities and information about living and getting around on the 78 Corridor. Additionally, it also highlights attractions, educational institutions and prominent industries, such as life sciences, craft beer (specialty food & beverages), and manufacturing. A map detailing innovative employers, attractions and interest points along the 78 Corridor will be rolled out next month.

Jim Desmond, Mayor of San Marcos said,“Innovate78 serves as a tool to promote job creation along the Corridor. The business of economic development is changing. If we want to be effective, the goal is not to poach jobs from other regions, but to create jobs and explain why building a business along the 78 Corridor matters. Promoting the culture of North County – particularly for the younger, millennial demographic – is also an essential part of our marketing strategy.”

The initiative is still in its infancy, but has already had much success. Last year, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, which was headquartered in Escondido, announced it had outgrown its local headquarters. Working together, the cities were able to move the innovative company to a 130,000-square foot facility in Vista, keeping them along the corridor, where they were able to retain employees.

“We have always been a collaborative city, but working with Escondido on the Dr. Bronner’s expansion showed us the true benefit of this partnership. Employees of Dr. Bronner’s contribute to the economy of all five North County cities. Because of the Innovate78 initiative, we will see more collaboration like this in our future,“ said Judy Ritter, Mayor of Vista.

There have been other early successes: In December, the five cities pulled together a roundtable with leaders from the diagnostics industry, a growing and diverse industry along the 78 Corridor. Based on that conversation, UC San Diego Extension, a major driver of industry talent, was able to adapt its model for training clinical laboratory scientists to better meet the needs of the diagnostics industry in the region, as well as the for the region’s health systems.

“Innovate78 is by no means the end of the effort for the five cities. It marks the beginning of a new partnership and a new way of thinking about regional economic growth. Anchored by a comprehensive economic development strategy, the cities will use the brand as a vehicle for growth”, said Sam Abed, Mayor of Escondido. “It’s just the beginning.”

Businesses are encouraged to leverage, and link to, the website to help attract employees and promote their North County location. For more information about the initiative, please reach out to Matt Sanford at San Diego Regional EDC at info@innovate78.com.

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