California Wins in Business Survival Rate
December 22, 2014
SAN BERNARDINO, CA—Its proximity to the ports, international airports and major interstates helps businesses in San Bernardino County keep operational costs in check, Larry Vaupel tells GlobeSt.com exclusively. Vaupel, a 20-year economic and land-development professional, was recently named San Bernardino County’s Economic Development Agency administrator. We spoke with Vaupel recently about California’s business climate, where the County fits in and how it helps businesses to thrive.
GlobeSt.com: With your economic development experience in the Inland Empire, what are your thoughts about California’s business climate? Is it “friendly”?
Vaupel: There’s a lot of talk about the need for a friendly business climate among the states, and each poll or journal seems to have different criteria about what makes a business climate “friendly.” For me, the measure of whether a state’s business climate is “friendly” is in the success and survival of tis businesses. A recent study by SSTI analyzed the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the business survival rate by state. California was the clear leader by far—not only in terms of business starts with nearly 80,000 new businesses in 2007 (Texas was second with 46,304), but the six-year survival rate through the Great Recession years for California businesses (2007-2013) was 71%. The next best state was Massachusetts at 56%. California is the only state to have a 10-year-survival rate above 50%, at 54.8%.
GlobeSt.com: How does that relate to San Bernardino County?
Vaupel: Many of our local businesses have been in California for multiple generations. We also have many businesses such as Yokohoma Tire, who outgrew their coastal facilities and moved a major part of their operation to San Bernardino County. It’s because we offer an excellent opportunity for companies who are growing and need new and modern facilities to remain in the region and retain their employees, proximity to their customer base and access to the international ports in Los Angeles. The odds are that many of their employees already live in the county and are commuting every day. It often makes sense to move operations closer to the workforce, especially to where you have state-of-the-art facilities available at comparatively affordable rates.
GlobeSt.com: What assets help San Bernardino County businesses to thrive?
Vaupel: First and foremost is a talented and skilled workforce of more than 900,000 people. Moreover, we take great pride in partnering with our local businesses to help them find the right employees and train them for success. We want our businesses to thrive because when they do, our residents and communities thrive along with them.
Our location and proximity to the ports, international airports and major interstates also help businesses lower their operational costs. More than $2 billion in infrastructure enhancements are currently underway in our region. These infrastructure improvements are a tangible way in which our local and county government agencies are investing in the success of our businesses.
GlobeSt.com: How does EDA help to support business retention and attraction?
Vaupel: Our economic development professionals assist companies in site location decisions and in permitting. We offer one point of contact throughout the decision-making and permitting process to assist from the site search to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Our workforce development professionals can handle job screening and preliminary interviews for new employees. We also offer on-the-job training programs where we reimburse eligible expenses to the business while they train their new employees. The workplace is in a constant state of change, and this allows new employees to learn the latest skills and programs at a reduced cost for the employer. We have found many companies, especially manufacturers, will use this program with all of their new hires as a way to reduce the costs associated with growing their business.
We also partner with other agencies to offer export assistance and training to our manufacturers. We like to remind them that if they are only selling their product in the US, they are missing out on 95% of all the consumers in the world. The Made in the USA brand has never been stronger overseas and we encourage them to explore these opportunities. By increasing the customer base for our businesses, we will experience job growth here in San Bernardino County.
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