What comes to your mind when you think of San Diego? Probably you’ll think of sunny weather, flip-flops, ocean waves, burritos and a vibrant night life. Not anymore. 

While this perception is fairly common, it meets the reality just fragmentarily. According to the stats from Numbeo, San Diego ranks third as the city with the best quality of life all across Americas, while ranking #2 among other cities in North America.

Why choose to study in San Diego

So what pieces of the puzzle are we missing? When picking a place to study, one of the top reasons for studying abroad is to stay in the host country after completing the degree. In this article, we will explore the economic opportunities that the city offers to prospective graduates.

One way to gauge economic prospects is to look at the creation of new jobs and the health of the local startup ecosystem.

San Diego has already become one of the prominent players of the U.S. tech scene. According to Kauffman Foundation’s startup activity report, San Diego is ranking #4 thanks to an increasing number of entrepreneurs starting new businesses and an increasing density of entrepreneurs in the city as a result.

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Source: The 2017 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity: Metropolitan Area and City Trends

Another report prepared by U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and 1776 Accelerator also ranks San Diego #4, thanks to the city’s main economic and support networks integrated into the startup community, also identified as ‘connectivity’, and the active role of the startup ecosystem members such as Qualcomm Ventures, Qualcomm Technologies, and Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office.

The report also concludes that while there is a growing evidence that city’s startup ecosystem is definitely blossoming, there’s still enough room for improvement.

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Source: US Chamber’s Innovation that Matters Report

San Diego has made substantial progress in the area of connectivity but ranks 13th on that important factor. City leaders must continue to foster relationships between startups and investors, mentors, and other supporters if San Diego is to maintain its standing as a top spot for new startups.

However, there is growing evidence that San Diego is going to strengthen the connection between different startup players in its ecosystem. For example, thanks to initiatives such as Startup San Diego and San Diego Global Investment Forum, which attempt to bring together entrepreneurs, non-profits, government officials, academic and corporate leaders to discuss the latest business opportunities and developments within the ecosystem.

Since startups are moving to the city, venture capital funding is also on the rise. Just in the second quarter of 2018, San Diego startups attracted the largest amount of venture capital since the dot-com bubble of the early 2000s. Biotech and healthcare companies took the lead in getting VC funding.

As the ecosystem continues expanding and since VCs are looking to invest outside of Silicon Valley, one can expect reaching new heights in attracting more funding.

So clearly, today, the city is becoming an attractive innovation hub, bringing in new startups of different shapes and sizes. Especially in the light of Silicon Valley losing its gloss, San Diego promises to expand its startup scene in the years to come. Don’t take my word for it, other prominent ecosystem players share the same opinion, too.

“San Diego’s community of startups, civic leaders, VC, and educational institutions make for a supportive entrepreneurial environment, which fosters life-changing innovation and attracts top talent from around the world,” says Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.

Speaking about the involvement of academia, universities play a key role in shaping the startup ecosystem of San Diego by attracting and nurturing the right talent. For example, University of San Diego School of Business is launching a new International MBA program to encourage entrepreneurially-minded young professionals to expand their business outlook and be ready to lead international ventures.

Such programs and initiatives are offered very timely because the demand for such specialists is at all-time highs. Phil Blair, executive officer of Manpower San Diego, says there is a shortage of workers in “skilled information technology and engineers across the board.”

At the same time, San Diego was ranked first among U.S. cities for project tech and executive hiring in 2018 according to the annual Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report.

To sum up

San Diego offers high standards of living combined with promising economic prospects and a growing startup ecosystem, suggests that a thriving business environment is going to need qualified and highly-skilled professionals to maintain the economic growth.

As David Graham, the Deputy Chief Operating Officer for New Smart and Sustainable Communities for the City of San Diego, said:


For your next career move, consider exploring this hidden gem called San Diego. It is going to become bigger and better, without a doubt.

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