Creating Competitiveness
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Creating Competitiveness

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Policies for Growth

Edited by David B. Audretsch and Mary Lindenstein Walshok

Although competitiveness is typically associated with firms, they are not the only organizational body whose performance is dependent upon competitiveness. This poignant insightful book focuses on how the varied economic performance of cities and regions, both within nations as well as across nations, during the era of the ‘Great Recession’ also highlights the need for competitiveness.
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Chapter 10: The invention of San Diego’s innovation economy

Mary Lindenstein Walshok and Abraham J. Shragge


Second tier cities such as San Diego, Seattle and Phoenix often have distinguishing features that allow them to be more nimble and adaptable than first tier cities such as New York, Chicago or Miami. Many metropolitan areas whose citizens decry their lack of Fortune 500 companies, large employers, established multigenerational leadership and family wealth have developed out of necessity, high risk, innovative, entrepreneurial, and frequently collaborative approaches to economic growth, which today are the envy of many first tier cities. New York, Stockholm and Bogota have all launched CONNECT programs, originally created in San Diego. Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta have launched technology venture funds based on a model originally created in Austin, Texas. It could even be argued that in the absence of large scale established companies and powerful centers of civic leadership, second tier cities often, out of necessity, develop experimentation and risk taking that can end up paying off in a big way for an innovation economy. That has certainly been the case in San Diego since the turn of the last century. It is also the case that cities in the American Southeast and West developed unique industrial capabilities at different times than other American cities, which affected how their economies evolved over time.

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