At the cutting edge of the world’s knowledge-based economy, the San Francisco region boasts more patents than anywhere else in the United States, has one of the most educated workforces and 49 percent of the nation’s total venture capital investments. It’s clear that our city is an attractive business location and is perceived as a strong long-term investment.
But with those economic triumphs come the pressures many families are currently experiencing. San Francisco is a high-cost city for both residents and businesses. How can we continue to grow and support our booming technology, finance and real estate sectors while creating jobs in a diverse range of fields and preserving the quality, affordability and uniqueness of our great city?
Next week, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce will tackle some of these questions at our upcoming signature event, ForecastSF. Some of the country’s top economic thinkers will join us at the Julia Morgan Ballroom on June 9 to give their perspective on the economic landscape ahead.
The theme of ForecastSF this year is Sustainable San Francisco. It reflects our growing economy and record-low unemployment rate, while recognizing the need to be smart in our expansion to support all types of businesses and develop in economically, socially and environmentally healthy ways.
At ForecastSF, we will discuss how global markets are affecting our local economy with Dr. Eugenio Aleman, Senior Economist at Wells Fargo, and then dive into the Bay Area economy with Wayne Best, Chief Economist at Visa. Melissa Griffin Caen, our master of ceremonies, will also give a recap of the June local and primary elections.
Creating a sustainable San Francisco is contingent upon a strong economy and ongoing job creation. One way the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is working to promote job growth and maintain our economic environment is through our San Francisco Center for Economic Development.
The SFCED focuses exclusively on helping businesses locate and expand in the Bay Area. Focused on several global regions — Asia, China and Latin America — we are working collaboratively with community partner organizations, industry groups and the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development to deliver crucial relocation knowledge and a one-stop information and networking resource for businesses considering expanding their strategy and location.
By bringing international companies to San Francisco, we are creating jobs and supporting economic growth. Since it was established in 2008, ChinaSF has recruited more than 40 companies to San Francisco including Bank of Communications and China Sunergy Co., Ltd. and created more than 200 local job opportunities. Since launching in November 2014, SFAsia has assisted 23 Asian companies to set up or expand in San Francisco resulting in approximately 158 new direct jobs and 790 indirect jobs across multiple sectors ranging from life sciences and technology to publishing and manufacturing. LatinSF, which launched in 2014, has already brought 14 companies, 70 new direct and 275 indirect jobs to San Francisco with many more from a diverse representation of sectors — media and communication, manufacturing, agriculture and IT — currently exploring opportunities here.
We hope you will join us on June 9 to learn more about how upcoming trends — gas prices, interest rates, housing and venture capital spending — will affect our local economy and what we see down the road ahead.
Follow the conversation at #ForecastSF.
Lee Blitch is interim president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.