Brightening the Beacon

In many ways San Diego is a model of free enterprise. The city encourages and assists myriad small and fledgling businesses and promotes a vigorous pro-business philosophy. But the city’s regulatory reality does not always measure up to its noble aspirations. While the City and County assist start-up enterprises in various ways, it remains difficult for people with little experience or capital to navigate the regulatory thicket. Regulations restricting entry into entry-level occupations like taxicabs and street vending are voluminous, complex, oppressive and anticompetitive. Moreover, governmental jurisdictions are overlapping.

This report examines both San Diego’s successes in fostering entrepreneurship as well as the obstacles that remain. On the whole, we find San Diego is far more hospitable to enterprise than many other large cities, and its leaders seem genuinely committed to fostering new and small businesses. Still, too many barriers to entrepreneurship remain. San Diego’s overriding challenge is to harmonize its policies and practices with its pro-entrepreneurial philosophy. This report is aimed at helping San Diego identify and remove unnecessary regulatory barriers so that the city can make a reality of its promise of opportunity.

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