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SCEDC continues tradition of economic stimulus, cooperation

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The South County Economic Development Council (SCEDC) was formed in 1989 through the efforts of a group of business and community leaders who believed that the southern portion of San Diego County was underserved and not being acknowledged for its significant contributions to the region's economic development boom.

A true public-private nonprofit organization, SCEDC was formed with a board of directors consisting of approximately 15 small business owners and corporate officials along with seven elected and appointed officials representing the five cities in South San Diego, the county of San Diego and the Port of San Diego.

Within a few years the board expanded to include additional business leaders from the private sector. Public sector seats were designated for the president of Southwestern College and the superintendent of Sweetwater Union High School District.

South County is approximately 175 square miles and includes the cities and communities of Coronado, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City, Otay Mesa, San Diego and San Ysidro/Otay Nestor.

The extraordinary assets that South County boasts include its availability of land, a reasonable cost structure, its proximity to Mexico, a growing international labor pool, developing Port District facilities, an Enterprise Zone and Foreign Free Trade Zone, as well as its strategic positioning in the Pacific Rim economy.

During its 15 years, SCEDC has been a major voice throughout the region in two critical areas -- infrastructure and the binational economy. Along with other business groups, SCEDC has led in efforts to fully fund and fast-track Interstate 905 and state Route 125, and has pushed for additional border crossing and improved access at our points of entry with Baja California.

SCEDC was one of the first organizations to publish economic data and job counts on the San Diego-Tijuana region.

Over the years, SCEDC has published three forward-looking studies that examine economic potential for the region:

* "Reopening the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway" (1995)

* "The Market for Raw Materials, Components and Machinery Parts in Mexico's Maquiladora Industry" (1997)

* "Cross Border Air Passenger Terminal Facility Study" (1998)

SCEDC has also been a leader in capital formation for South County businesses. Since 1998 it has received grants and made loans to large and small businesses in the region that plan to create new jobs and stimulate the local economy. Loan sizes have ranged from $5,000 to $400,000, all at favorable interest rates.

In 2003, South County Economic Development Council hired its first full-time chief executive officer, Cindy Gompper-Graves.

For further information about SCEDC, call (619) 424-5143.

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