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   Recognized in the May 1, 1999 issue of Forbes magazine as a place with "Sun, fun, and Ph.D.'s, too," the San Diego region has emerged as a technology center of excellence with an unparalleled quality of life. San Diego is rich with world-class research institutions, and enjoys support from an outstanding network of universities and community colleges that are committed to meeting the work force development needs of the area's booming biotech industry. State and local government is also supportive of biotech development, with the city of San Diego selling bonds to create incentives for biotech companies to build new facilities.

   The software and multimedia industry are also helping to define San Diego as a top spot in the nation for computer software, programming, systems integration and data processing. Well-known titles such as Intuit's Turbo Tax, Disney's Lion King and Aladdin Activity Centers are produced or designed here. San Diego's software industry traces its history back to the legacy of the region's defense sector.  Pioneers  include  Science  Applications international Corporation (SAIC), which began as a defense contractor in 1969 and reinvented itself to address new markets. In addition to the success experienced by SAIC, former SAIC employees created an estimated 95 companies -- including Intuit, Bluebird Systems and the Titan Corporation. In total, San Diego boasts nearly 650 software companies today, employing more than 14,000 people. While there are a number of large businesses,  even  several  Fortune 500 companies, San Diego is more typically a city of small businesses that together represent a large segment of its employment population. More than 97 percent o~ the county's approximately 74,000 enterprises have less than 100 employees; 90 percent have 12 or fewer employees. Many consider the small business community the largest source of San Diego's economic strength.  Without question,  the  region's  smaller companies have literally built San Diego from the ground up.

   Many of these businesses began as part-time ventures operated from dining room tables or garages -- including some of what are now the largest companies in the region. They started on shoestring budgets, with hope and vision as their main resources, and run the gamut of industries from construction, agriculture and manufacturing to high-tech, consulting and telecommunications. The growth of small business in San Diego has significantly outpaced California's growth rate over the past decade. This is due, in part, to the wealth of venture capital investors in the region, what some call the heart of the free enterprise system. Clearly, private investors have played a significant role in San Diego's high-tech, biocommerce and information technology industries, especially in the preliminary research and development phases.

    Construction has neared an all-time high and still needs more qualified workers. The service sector companies providing services to other businesses, is the single fastest growing industry in San Diego. Manufacturing and goods producing continue to contribute to San Diego's economic foundation and represents opportunities for the blue collar, engineering and technical fields. Fed by hundreds of thousands of visitors and residents alike, the retail, tourist and hospitality trades provide seasonal, part-time and year-round jobs.

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