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SAN FRANCISCO-About one year from now, the City of San Francisco supervisors will be reviewing the city’s first-ever plan for attracting and retaining businesses. Voters called for the economic development plan last November by approving Measure I, which also created an Economic Analysis Office that reviews legislation to assess its potential impact on the city’s business environment.

The City of San Francisco is close to signing off on a contract for the creation of the plan. The work will go to ICF Consulting, a Fairfax, VA-based management, technology, and policy consulting firm that opened its West Coast headquarters in San Francisco in 2000. The dollar value of the contract and the expected approval rate was not available. The director of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce and Economic Development did not return a phone call seeking comment.

ICF director of analysis Ted Egan, who is also a professor at UC Berkeley, tells GlobeSt.com that work will probably get under way next week, even before the contract is signed. There will be much public involvement throughout the process of assessing the city’s economic development needs, identifying specific economic development activities, and deciding on a policy agenda for how the activities may be implemented.

ICF is well regarded for its work in “cluster-based economic development.” Egan says the theory behind that approach is that as much attention should be given to growing existing industries–such as Biotech and digital arts–as attracting new ones.

Development of the report comes as the city claws its way out of the employment and financial hole created by the drop-off in the tech and dot-com markets. The report itself will not be binding, meaning city officials won’t be required to follow it, but supervisors expect to become familiar with the document in order to facilitate factual discussions about economic development issues.

“As their first ever economic development plan, this is actually fairly historic for the city,” says Egan. “We certainly see it with that level of importance.”

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