May 5 – Weekly Update

And we thought last week was a busy news cycle… Anyway!

We are less than two weeks away from our Leadership Delegation to Sacramento! We’re excited to have representatives from the CAL EPA, Department of Cannabis Control, GO-Biz and CalSTA confirmed.

Business News: 

Qualcomm and Volkswagen Group recently entered an agreement to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Ride processors for autonomous vehicles in all of Volkswagen Group’s brands. This move is in line with Qualcomm’s new diversification strategy outlined in their One Technology Roadmap, expanding past their traditional leadership in the mobile industry.

Concert Health raised $42 million in series B funding, bringing their total funding to $56 million. The local startup provides family physicians the tools to address behavioral and mental health through their health services platform.

SeaWorld made their 40,000th animal rescue this week. That rogue sea lion that made it onto the 94 was just one extreme example of SeaWorld’s ongoing rescue and rehabilitation efforts since they opened in 1965.

On Tuesday, Amazon announced plans to expand in Southern California, adding 2,500 new positions and over 700 in San Diego. Amazon will expand its Tech Hub in San Diego, and recently signed a lease for a new 123,000 square foot office space in UTC.

Consider this our two-week notice! SANDAG’s Bike to Work Day is Thursday, May 19 and they’ve got all the tips, tricks, tools and torque you need to pedal along.

Legislative Updates


In hopes of boosting domestic manufacturing, the EXIM bank will be expanding its financing programs to “export-oriented domestic manufacturing” companies and infrastructure projects. Dubbed the “Make More in America” effort, it was approved by the EXIM board late last month.

Sometimes the news is heavy. So we are pleased to bring you something from one of our favorite files: Ships Getting Stuck. That’s right! Ever Given, our fav tanker who blocked the Suez Canal, has a sister ship, Ever Forward. And Ever Forward was just recently freed from Chesapeake Bay after it got stuck for almost a month in mud. Thank you, tankers getting stuck, for the comic relief in the news cycle. (Also, not so funny: the backlog of tankers/shipping containers is a huge problem for supply chains).

Is student loan forgiveness the next Build Back Better? Maybe. This week’s version of the story is that maybe the President will OK some federal student loans, BUT only for those earning below a certain amount of money annually (likely it will be for those making less than $125,000 per year). Stay tuned.

President Biden declared May 1st through May 7th as National Small Business Week , which seeks to celebrate the achievements of entrepreneurs and small businesses. With the theme “Building a Better America through Entrepreneurship “, this celebration will include a virtual summit , field office events, and a national bus tour.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has announced she is stepping down from the post (an expected move). She will be replaced by Karine Jean-Pierre

As expected, the Fed moved interest rates up a half a percentage point. As inflation continues to rock personal finances (and make for convenient political weaponization), all eyes look to whether the Fed can find a “soft landing”.


Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard confirmed his intention to run for president in 2024 as a candidate of the MORENA party. Mexico City Governor Claudia Sheinbaum has also been vocal about running with MORENA, so get your popcorn ready as we get closer to the 2024 elections.

Following the failure of his electricity reform, President Lopez Obrador is reaching out to South American governments looking to form a lithium association. Industry leaders Bolivia , Chile and Argentina could share expertise on exploitation of the battery mineral as Mexico looks to increase its participation.

In house, the Biden Administration is taking the first step to review whether to keep or end tariffs on Chinese imports. The USTR asked U.S. businesses that benefit from these duties to submit a request for their extension while a decision is made.

Business organizations along the U.S.-Mexico border including the Chamber signed a letter urging the House and Senate to increase funding for the Border Water Infrastructure Program (BWIP). This would accelerate the  implementation of infrastructure projects that address water pollution and wastewater challenges, including those planned for our region.

The U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) will meet for the second time on May 15-16 in France. American and European leaders will gather to discuss issues including export controls , artificial intelligence (AI) systems and supply chain security and could potentially feature an announcement on a deal for an EU-U.S. Privacy Shield replacement.

Alliant International University is hosting the 8th Annual International Conference on Management and Leadership Practices tomorrow morning. The keynote speaker is the Chamber’s very own Executive Director of International Business Affairs, Kenia Zamarripa. She will share her unique perspective on the relationship between global and regional economies. FYI registration is complimentary for Chamber members!

Join us on May 25 for the Chamber’s upcoming International Business Affairs Forum.  Attendees will hear from Dilawar Syed, Special Representative for the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. He will share an overview of resources and initiatives that help SMEs engage in international trade and the agency’s role in increasing U.S. exports, as well as brief insights on the 9th Summit of the Americas that will take place in Los Angeles this June.

Registration is now open for WomanExportingMX, an e-business matchmaking event looking to help women entrepreneurs trading globally. The event will take place from May 23 to May 27 and serve as a platform to connect businesswomen to global buyers and potential partners  in multiple sectors. A list of products from participating companies from Mexico is available here


The state budget surplus is now projected at $68 billion, and state senators are making their wish lists. Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Senate Budget Chair Nancy Skinner have proposed a plan including $8 billion in stimulus checks to taxpayers, small business and nonprofit rebates, and grants to support businesses with costs associated with supplemental COVID-19 sick leave.

The May Revise is expected to drop as early as next week. Stay tuned. If you’re itchy to look at budget numbers, you can check out the OG proposal from the Governor here.

For the first time ever, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is implementing mandatory water use reductions. Extremely dry conditions are causing the State Water Project to cut water supply to the Met by two-thirds. This affects residents in Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties, while San Diego remains unaffected.

On a more positive note, here’s some native California plants you can plant for a more sustainable lawn.


The County has just released its $7.15 billion budget. Time to nerd out, math people.

The struggle for childcare that is accessible and affordable continues on. This week, a report from USD was published that laid out the sheer significance of the crisis we are in. One factoid: a family in San Diego with an infant and a preschooler spend 40 percent of their income on childcare. (For you overachievers, pair that thought with the cost of housing in San Diego and let that settle in).

On Tuesday, Councilmembers Campbell and von Wilpert proposed establishing a new Conservatorship and Treatment Unit to address homelessness for those with mental illness or addiction. The unit would be added to the City Attorney’s Lifesaving Intervention for Treatment program and focus on providing treatment for individuals who regularly use emergency services.

San Diego County lost residents for the first time in over ten years (by 0.3 percent of 3.28 million residents, to be exact). High costs of living, lower birth rates and lower immigration rates, and competitive housing markets, are all factors. San Diego joined most coastal counties in California in a population drop, while inland counties like Riverside and San Bernardino experienced a population increase.

It’s National Travel Tourism Week, and this week Chamber CEO Jerry Sanders joined Mayor Gloria and local tourism leaders to highlight the importance of tourism in our region as the sector begins to recover from the pandemic.

Upcoming City Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

Upcoming Hearings

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • Applications are open for micro-enterprise home kitchen operations (MEHKOs) in the County of San Diego.
  • The California Dream Fund has micro grants up to $10k available for entrepreneurs and small business creation.
  • The County of San Diego has $2,500 grants for microbusinesses (five employees or less) operating within the County.
  • The CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund provides assistance for eligible expenses to businesses in the City of San Diego and City of Chula VIsta impacted by the pandemic.
  • The California Rebuilding Fund is offering small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees loans up to $100,000. Learn more and apply here.
  • The County’s Small Business Stimulus Grant Program is accepting additional applications. Eligible businesses must have fewer than 100 full-time employees and are following sectors (restaurant, gym fitness center, yoga studio, movie theater, museum, zoo, or aquarium) that were impacted by moving from the Red to Purple Tier OR part of the event industry. Learn more and apply here.
  • City of San Diego Temporary Outdoor Business Operations Permit – Businesses (restaurants, retail stores, gyms, hair salons, nail salons) can now expand into the public right-of-way, parking lots, and public spaces. Information on how to apply for a Temporary Outdoor Business Operations Permit can be found here.
  • Businesses can reach out to their nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which has developed the Small Business Survival Resources Guide to help business owners navigate through the chaos COVID-19 is having on our communities. SBDC can help with applying for relief, guiding you through available resources, and assisting with cash flow concerns, supply-chain interruptions, workforce capacity, insurance coverage, and more–all at no cost.