Enterprise fosters San Mateo business 

Despite being the birthplace of YouTube, San Mateo has struggled to maintain a strong and consistent business base.

However, a new economic growth initiative launched by the Chamber of Commerce on March 6 has city officials hopeful for the accelerated development of existing businesses and the establishment of new ones. The Economic Development Growth Enterprise is an innovative initiative that fosters collaboration of all members of the community in order to boost the business vitality of the San Mateo area.

The EDGE is focused on inclusion and, as a result, the all-volunteer start-up program has quickly gained recognition from members of business, government and academic sectors of the community. What makes the program so strong is “the previously unseen collaboration for the betterment of the local economy,” EDGE de facto leader Steve Parker said.

On Monday, the EDGE gained public support when the San Mateo City Council pledged an initial $75,000 in program funding plus an additional $50,000 matching commitment, dependent on the Chamber of Commerce securing $50,000 in sponsorship from the private sector. With easier access to capital, the presently all-volunteer program can now hire a full-time director to push the initiative through the beginning stages.

An established director will help maintain direct communication between businesses and the city. From the start of the initiative, “Members of the Chamber of Commerce have been out on the streets speaking with local businesses to encourage their development,” chamber President Linda Asbury said. Asbury believes that a focus on the needs of each individual business is necessary in order to connect them to the city.
Cultivating a sturdy bond between all contingencies of San Mateo is necessary for the success of the EDGE.

“Like any relationship, each party must feel appreciated, and that starts with good communication,” Parker said. “We realize that at times we will be unable to meet the needs of certain businesses. This is unfortunate, but mostly we just need to harness our resources in order to meet those challenges.”

Although San Mateo is still developing, its accessible infrastructure provides great opportunities for new businesses to thrive.

“We have so much to offer. There is office space available; the train corridor and downtown areas are great,” San Mateo Mayor John Lee said. “The EDGE is a very in-depth program that will inevitably leverage the community and showcase businesses.”

shaughey@sfexaminer.com 

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