Economic Strategy


Project Creation

The Economic Strategy Project is the first-ever public/private partnership to perform an in-depth assessment and develop a strategic plan for the San Luis Obispo County region. The Economic Strategy was published in November 2010 after more than twelve months strategy sessions with more than 125 business leaders throughout the region.Download Report

To learn more about how the strategy was created, please review the following documents:

Project Implementation

Implementation of the strategy is an on-going process that will create long-term prosperity and job growth throughout the County, and enhance the well-being of our communities. Initiated in January 2011, the project has provided a platform from which a wide range of economic initiatives have been launched and achieved, and much has been learned about our local economy.
To learn more about the action plans and successes to date, please see the recently completed “Economic Strategy Update 2015” report:

Go Business! Clusters

The implementation of the Economic Strategy for San Luis Obispo County is creating economic vitality through the collaboration of local business leaders across six business sectors. These cluster groups are dedicated to creating jobs and making it easier to conduct and grow business throughout the county.
View the videos and information below for more details.

SLO County Community and Business Leaders Support the Project


What is the Economic Strategy Project?

The Economic Strategy Project is the first-ever local public/private partnership to provide an in-depth assessment of, and strategies for, San Luis Obispo County’s economy. The project established a strategy to create more long-term prosperity for our local economy. Started in late 2009, this vital project is a multi-phase approach incorporating an analytical phase to identify challenges and opportunities through key economic metrics with key business sectors stakeholder input. Driven by the business community, the Economic Strategy was published in November 2010, with the implementation of the plan in January 2011.

Which organizations or sectors are endorsing this project?

This project is endorsed by both the public and private sectors. Local government and the business community are all supporting the project. The County of San Luis Obispo and several businesses are sponsoring the project (see list below). These supporters believe that our local economy can be healthier in the long-term.

Which organization is leading the project?

A group of businesses and government leaders, including the County Board of Supervisors, appointed the Economic Vitality Corporation (“EVC”) to fundraise for and manage this project. Established in 1994, as a non-profit economic development organization that provides business resources throughout the county, the EVC is viewed as being unbiased, with strong relationships throughout the County’s business community.

Which consulting firm was hired for this project?

In the summer of 2009, a steering committee was formed and County Supervisors Frank Mecham and Adam Hill were selected as co-chairs of the project. Consulting firms throughout the nation were interviewed that specialized in developing economic strategies, and in the Fall of 2009, the Steering Committee selected Collaborative Economics, Inc. (a Mountain View, California-based firm). The EVC also draws on the expertise of other business experts including Don Maruskla & Company and Collaboration LLC. to support the project’s constant evolution and success.

When will the project be completed?

The Economic Strategy highlights the results of the initial data analysis and input from business leaders throughout the county. The implementation of the Economic Strategy is ongoing, building upon that foundation and responding to current challenges and economic opportunities, as prioritized by the industry stakeholders. At this time, there is no established completion date as the industry clusters continue to find new initiatives to create more jobs and help foster contributions to the local economy.

Who is impacted?

Virtually all residents throughout the county will be impacted by, and benefit from, the proposed strategy. Because a healthy community requires healthy businesses, the strategy will impact people of all ages and companies in nearly every sector of our economy. Citizens and local government will benefit from an increase in the number of head-of-household jobs and more revenue for vital infrastructure and community services.

Will those persons not working benefit from the project?

Yes. This project will benefit citizens outside of the workforce such as students and retirees, and even the unemployed, because it will help provide revenue to cities and the County to pay for the vital community services and infrastructure. Through the creation of a more vital and diverse economy, more tax revenue will be generated to help local governments. The project also serves to strengthen our economy, supporting emerging industries and promoting job growth.

Is the project intended to address the current economic recession?

No. The project is not a reaction to the current economic recession, but will offer solutions to near-term and long-term challenges and opportunities.

How will the final product differ from the Economic Element of the County’s General Plan?

The Economic Element of the County’s General Plan is an overarching policy document, which serves to guide policies and resources. The Economic Strategy achieved updating the Economic Element as one of its important objectives. The recently revised Element now references the Strategy.

What is expected from the project long-term?

It is envisioned that the strategy will positively impact our local economy and communities, based upon a greater understanding achieved through a deep analysis of our business sectors, and solutions from the business community for a healthier economy. The strategy offers ways to create more head-of-household jobs, foster more businesses compatible to our county, and create ways to develop more tax rolls for our local government for vital infrastructure and sevices.

How is the project funded?

The Economic Strategy is funded approximately 50% from the County of San Luis Obispo and 50% from the business community. Additional funds to implement the identified economic priorities of the plan have also been secured through grants and project sponsorships.

We wish to thank the following sponsors on this project:
• Andre, Morris & Buttery
• AT&T
• Bank of America
• County of San Luis Obispo
• Don Maruska & Company
• First Solar
• Morgan Family Foundation
• Pacific Gas & Electric Company
• Rabobank, N.A.
• RRM Design Group
• Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center
• Southern California Gas Co.
• SunPower
• TJA Advertising

Contact EVC for an update on the implementation and how to get involved.