Economic Inclusion Timeline


Economic inclusion is the opening of economic, financial and entrepreneurship opportunities to groups that have previously not had the same access as others. When we increase the diversity of participants in our economy, we can help strengthen that economy. This, in turn, can bring economic benefit to those who were previously underrepresented and begins to improve equity in basic quality of life measures regardless of gender, place of birth, family background, disability or other circumstances of which individuals have no control.

Locally, community partners are working to increase access to employment, job skills, technical assistance, financial support, and opportunities for business development and start-up. These programs give individuals the tools they need to achieve financial sustainability. When individuals and organizations are provided with access to these opportunities, they become more likely to participate in the workforce, pursue education, and engage in activities that lead to economic growth in our community.


To increase economic inclusion, partners are helping minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned small businesses to better navigate the market by reducing barriers to success. They are helping these entrepreneurs to develop business plans and proposals and to better understand finances, budgets, contracting and taxes.


  • Access Inc.  
  • Bayside Community Center 
  • California Coast Credit Union
  • Chamber of Commerce for Fallbrook, Vista, Encinitas, North San Diego, San Marcos, Oceanside, East County, and National City
  • City of Carlsbad
  • City of Escondido
  • City of Oceanside
  • City of San Diego
  • City of San Marcos
  • City of Vista
  • Community Health Improvement Partners
  • Home Start
  • Interfaith Community Services
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Jewish Family Service of San Diego
  • National Conflict Resolution Center
  • North County Lifeline
  • Paving Great Futures
  • RISE San Diego
  • San Diego County Credit Union
  • San Diego Financial Literacy Center
  • San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • San Diego Workforce Partnership
  • SAY San Diego
  • South Bay Community Services
  • United Way of San Diego County

Without economic justice and shifts in our financial culture, regional prosperity cannot be fully achieved. A prosperous economic future for San Diego County requires finding new ways to connect the unconnected to the entry points that allow them to thrive. Addressing policies and areas for improvement requires the continued collaboration of all organizations and stakeholders, as well as increased engagement of underrepresented business owners, their communities, and industry decision-makers in the region.


Partner Success Stories


Project MOST Supporting Minority-owned Businesses

Through RISE San Diego, in partnership with the County of San Diego, Project MOST (the Minority-Owned Support and Technical Assistance Project) has been supporting minority-owned businesses to attain sustainability and business growth by reducing barriers to business success. Project MOST was piloted in September 2015 within the Mid-City and Southeastern areas of San Diego. With the success of the pilot, Project MOST was expanded to encompass the entire San Diego region in January of 2018. Many San Diegans have participated in the trainings and development planning provided by Project Most, including Shellie Baxter.

Genealogist Shellie Baxter joined the Project MOST technical assistance course with the idea of launching Our Genetic Legacy, an organization that would help connect African Americans with their maternal genealogy roots. She found that traditional genealogy doesn’t often consider the social-historical context of African Americans and other Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and its impact on their histories. Her initial vision was to create a database of this critically-needed research that could be accessed by anyone. 

Through the process of developing her business model, Shellie was challenged on her assumptions about the specific problem Our Genetic Legacy intended to solve and pushed to understand the unique value she could offer her target audience. By the end of the course, she set aside the database plan and updated her business model to reflect two separate but complementary programs that included workshops for BIPOC communities that want to learn how to research their family histories when records are often difficult to find.

Shellie signed up for the Project MOST technical assistance course again a year later to continue refining her business model and programs. Now grounded in the mission of correcting the published history of America to include all Americans, Our Genetic Legacy began beta testing its History Makers workshop series for BIPOC individuals and families. In Spring 2020, 12 participants signed up for this hands-on, fourteen-week course to learn how to build their genealogical stories through DNA testing, newly-learned research skills and more, and publish their own histories to help create a fuller story of America and the contributions of all of its people. Shellie's successful test of her business model and curriculum has provided Our Genetic Legacy with the experience and data needed to begin seeking funding and partners for their 2020-21 program year.    


SDCCU Improving Financial Wellness and Awareness

San Diego County Credit Union provides access to financial tips from experts to help both individuals and businesses make smart money management decisions. They provide business resources and financial education and are fully engaged and involved in helping our region to prosper.

To raise awareness of the value of financial planning, their Financial Wellness Wednesdays program has helped provide the community with access to free financial wellness information. Since 2016, the program has delivered nearly 700 financial wellness presentations to more than 10,000 participants.

With a greater prevalence of fraud and identity theft in recent years, it is becoming more and more important to properly dispose of confidential, personal information. Their 2019 Super-Shred event, held in partnership with Shred-It, iHeartMedia, Inc., and the County of San Diego, shredded 239,060 pounds of waste paper in an 8-hour period.

Their Stuff the Bus program, held in partnership with iHeartMedia, Inc. and the  San Diego County Office of Education, supports local schools, teachers, and students by providing students with basic supplies to help better prepare them to succeed in the classroom.





Innovate78 supports the business
ecosystem of the 78 Corridor 

In an unparalleled show of collaboration, the five North County cities of Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, and Vista in partnership with the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation have launched Innovate78, a branding and economic development initiative that will collectively promote the 78 Corridor as a magnet for talent, companies, and investment. As North County is already home to more than 600,000 residents and 20,000 innovative businesses, the initiative will continue to fuel regional job creation. 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.

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.




Partners Advance Towards a More Inclusive Economy

Advancing San Diego is a collaborative program by San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, the City of San Diego, San Diego Workforce Partnership, United Way of San Diego and San Diego & Imperial Counties Community College Association, to address skilled talent shortages, increase diversity in high-growth, high-demand jobs, and expand access to talent for small companies. Through this initiative, San Diego will cultivate a more inclusive economy and contribute toward the regional goal of 20,000 skilled workers (degree or credential holders) in San Diego County by 2030.

In 2019, San Diego was one of five cities to receive a $3 million investment as part of JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Cities Challenge, an initiative to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity across the U.S.

The Advancing San Diego (ASD) Internship Program launched in a remote-capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully subsidized interns. This program targets companies with 100 employees or less, which comprise 98% of all businesses in San Diego, employ nearly two-thirds of San Diegans and account for 70 percent of job growth. A key issue for these companies has been a lack of time and resources to recruit the skilled talent necessary to continue their growth. EDC has launched this blog series to highlight the innovative local companies that comprise the first cohort of the program, and the interns they hosted.