San Marcos Aims to Attract, Retain Startups


CSUSM students developed strategies and the City is increasing its outreach

The City of San Marcos is working to entice and better support entrepreneurs—all in an effort to further boost its growing economy.

“Our local economy has grown 25 percent in the past decade, and startups can help keep that momentum going through job creation, attracting capital and encouraging innovation,” said Economic Development Manager Tess Sangster. “We’re a growing city eager to help new businesses grow along with us.”

Case in point: in the past two years, the City helped startups secure more than $1.4 million in state income tax credits. That has allowed the businesses to create nearly 80 new jobs in San Marcos.

The City now wants to rev-up efforts to help entrepreneurs even more, and California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) students have been researching the best way to go about it.

CSUSM’s Democracy in Action program challenges students to propose solutions to city issues, and in this case, ideas ranged from a startup marketplace where residents could learn about new companies in town—to an incubator center where entrepreneurs could share ideas and resources.

Ideas like these are critical to the City’s long-term economic strategy because industry life cycles are getting shorter as technology advances, says CSUSM Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship Sam Clarke, who oversaw the research.

“Our parents could work in the same industry their whole lives, but that’s changing. Most young professionals will face up to four careers,” he explained. “We need a pipeline of entrepreneurs with new ideas. That’s going to be the key to economic stability in the future.”

In that vein, the City is positioning itself as a startup hub by engaging more entrepreneurs. For example, on Wednesday, Aug. 22, the City will host a public event on local innovation in the food industry—which was organized in conjunction with the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (San Diego Regional EDC) Startup78 Committee.

And last month, the City and San Diego Regional EDC helped organize a forum in Carlsbad for San Diego Startup Week, which was the first time North County has been represented.

“San Marcos is a city that values business innovation, and we want that message to reach entrepreneurs through events like these,” Sangster said. “We encourage startups to discover what San Marcos has to offer them.”

To attend the Aug. 22 forum on food innovation from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, please RSVP by sending an email to or to learn more about the event, visit
If you would like more information about the City’s economic development division, please contact Tess Sangster at or (760) 744-1050, ext. 3120.


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