RIVCOconnect - Business Community

Riverside County is big – almost 7,400 square miles and home to nearly 2.4 million people, a population that makes us the tenth largest county in the nation.  Yet despite making up 6.08% of California’s total population, Riverside County is the place of employment for only 4% of all Californians. 
Indeed, despite the large number of skilled professionals who make up the Riverside County workforce, nearly twice as many workers commute out of the County to their place of employment than those who come here from other counties to work.  In 2014, 239,268 out-of-county residents found work here, while 437,323 slowly crept out of Riverside County along the various clogged highways that predominately lead to coastal communities.  But it doesn’t have to be that way going forward.

Riverside County Inflow/Outflow of Workers 2014

Total 2014 Inflow/Outflow Job Count for Riverside County 1,063,305

"The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do.
It lets people be creative.
It lets people be productive.
It lets people learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential."
Steve Ballmer
The divide in capabilities between the most-connected and the least will define who gets the valuable jobs.”
Ryan Hayes

What do Riverside County Businesses Look Like?

Of the nearly 21,000 businesses in the County, the small to mid-sized companies (employing anywhere between 20 and 250 people) employ nearly half of all of the County’s workers.  The large entities hiring over a thousand workers employ only 13% of the County’s workforce.
From 2015 Census data for Riverside County, out of the entire workforce of 981,103 employees in businesses of all sizes, the most common fields of employment are:
  • Administrative – 124,931 – 12.7%
  • Sales – 116,791 – 11.9%
  • Management – 82,760 – 8.4%
  • Construction Trade Worker – 67,483 – 6.9%
  • Food & Service – 58,187 – 5.9%
From the same Census data, the most common industries (by employee count) in Riverside County are:
  • Retail – 132,484 – 13.5%
  • Health & Social Services – 122,515 – 12.5%
  • Construction – 88,831 – 9%
  • Manufacturing – 84,376 – 8.6%
  • Hospitality – 80,128 – 8.2%
But Riverside County also is home to a widely diverse range of industries, although far less in number.  It is home to arts and entertainment (Coachella Music Festival, galleries, and museums,) agriculture, and a highly successful and renowned wine industry in the Temecula Valley. Yet many segments of American business are not present in the County, and the business climate has room for improvement.  Creating the environment that will bring high-tech, entertainment and other innovative industries into Riverside County needs to start now.

How Businesses Behave

All businesses share certain behaviors, certain operational patterns.  They strive daily to grow, to expand, and to succeed.  Businesses – both large and small – look for ways to innovate and turn a profit.  Business leaders must find more efficient ways to advertise their services and find avenues to locate and retain better employees.  Yet businesses are also connected to the customer base that keeps them in business, and look for ways to promote the general prosperity and economic health of their local communities.

Business Needs & Goals

A 2016 report published by the Internet Innovation Alliance found that broadband internet, and the information and communications technologies that comprise and support the industry, produced more than $1 trillion in value added for the U.S. economy annually.
These days a strong online presence is expected and required for every company, large and small.  There are close to five billion Google searches a day and over one billion active Facebook users.  It’s hard to argue that at least some of those users won’t be interested in searching for a local products or services. With online advertising alone, small businesses can target specific demographics and geographic regions; reaching hundreds of potential customers online.
Gigabit broadband can bring about a sea change of opportunity.  Gigabit connectivity allows for multiple applications and operations to run at the same time, increasing overall operational efficiency and ultimately improving the opportunity to grow the business.
Small and mid-sized businesses can compete with larger companies by providing and leveraging cloud based online services.  Web based services can deliver nearly all facets of your business including customer service and support, product and service information, ready-made applications to run your business, as well as inventory control, marketing, HR, and finance management tools.  
Businesses can remain better connected to their local neighborhoods and communities through a wide array of social media, online bulletin boards, and community outreach programs.  Advertising grows beyond the newspaper clipping or roadside billboard.  Online resume submissions and employment meta-search engines help to employ highly-qualified staff.
Current projections from the California Employment Development Department (EDD) shows the top twenty job positions in terms of growth rates 2014-2024 as follows:
These projections do not paint the picture of a county rising to become the next Silicon Valley.  This is not to say that there will be more roofers than network architects over all, but seeing projected growth rates for professions like Stonemasons and Rebar Workers (5.7% and 5.4%) far outpacing those of Computer Network Architects and Computer Programmers  (2.3% and 0.6%) wouldn’t seem to be a direction the 10th most populous county in the nation would want to take.  Higher wages per capita come with high-tech and innovation careers, and those only come with high-speed, high-capacity broadband networks.  And that network must be affordable.
Currently businesses are being charged over $1,000 per month for such connections, a cost they find too high.  Businesses also will benefit from the bridging of the Digital Divide.  Bringing Broadband and computers to local communities will increase the customer base and will better connect the businesses with those they serve.

The Commuters

The question being asked by the large population of workers who sit idly in freeway traffic every day is, “How can I lessen the time I spend every day on the road?” 
One answer is increased broadband speed and capacity.  High speed broadband services can bring about new innovations in telecommuting, teleconferencing, and linking work spaces and places in such a way that we bring people closer to their homes, families and communities.  This important action substantially improves our individual and shared quality of life, reduces greenhouse gases and lowers our carbon foot print, improves the flow of traffic for those that must travel, and engages home bound community members who can provide services for global employers. 

Businesses Stay Connected to their Community

Riverside County businesses need better access to our local communities as well.  This includes access to government services; to banking and online bill-payments; accessing news outlets and local bulletin boards; keeping abreast of local events and elections; school activities and internships; employment opportunities and resume submissions; airline reservations and any number of other hospitality bookings all require Broadband connectivity.
Staying connected is an essential element of life for Riverside County.  Businesses need residents to have access so they can interact, sell products, and provide services.  
Broadband is now a utility that is expected within every home, business and institution, just as water, sewer and power are required for our community.
Majority of Riverside County On-Line
Even though the majority of our employed have a broadband subscription, many more will have other options for telecommuting should higher speed options become available.
Unemployed On-Line
It is no wonder our unemployment rate has dropped to under 5%.  More are on-line and able to get access to available jobs.  As the number of connections increases, our employment rates are expected to continue to decline.