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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


July 2017

July 31, 2017

Today, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and World Trade Center San Diego (WTC San Diego), JPMorgan Chase & Co. and business and civic leaders unveiled the 15 companies selected to participate in the MetroConnect program, a comprehensive export assistance program to help local companies accelerate their global growth.

From language translation software platform Urban Translations, to cleantech company Envision Solar, to veteran-owned brewer Julian Hard Cider, the 2017 MetroConnect companies represent a diverse cross-section of San Diego’s innovation economy.

 

Now in its third year, the MetroConnect program equips small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) with a suite of financial and programmatic resources to support their efforts in bringing their products and services global. Powered by JPMorgan Chase, MetroConnect resources include:

  • $10,000 in matching grants to cover up to 50 percent of the costs associated with international expansion
  • Dedicated WTC San Diego staff manager to support company participants in deploying overseas strategies during the grant period
  • Access to workshops that address export compliance, financing and fundraising and more
  • Reduced airfare on the Japan Airlines direct flight from San Diego to Tokyo, and on Air Canada direct flights from San Diego to Canada
  • Free access to SYSTRAN software for website translation and customer service needs
  • Consideration to compete for an additional $35,000 during the MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest in May 2018

WTC San Diego is proud to congratulate the 2017 MetroConnect companies:

1. Coronado Brewing Co.
2. CP Global Manufacturing
3. CureMatch
4. Del Mar Oceanographic
5. Dermala
6. Envision Solar International
7. FoxFury
8. Guru
9. Julian Hard Cider
10. Optimized Fuel Technologies
11. Performa Learning
12. Planck Aerosystems
13. Tioga Research
14. Tunnel Vision
15. Urban Translations

Get the details on this year's cohort here.

Since the program’s debut in 2015, the 30 companies that have gone through the MetroConnect program have collectively generated $10.5 million in new export sales, signed more than 70 new contracts, added 50 new jobs to the region, set up nine new overseas facilities and seen three successful company exits. Past participants include Calbiotech (now ERBA Diagnostics), Rough Draft Brewing, Deering Banjo Company, Cypher Genomics (now Human Longevity Inc.), ROBO 3D and more.

In 2015 alone, San Diego exported more than $17 billion in goods overseas, as well as billions more in services like software, cybersecurity, engineering and research. SMEs produce 92 percent of those goods – driving home the point of programs like MetroConnect. According to the Brookings Institution, companies that are global pay higher wages, are less likely to go out of business and increase productivity of the domestic market.

As part of his commitment to expanding San Diego’s global reach, Mayor Faulconer has led trade missions to Mexico City and Vancouver this year, and will lead a delegation to London and Cambridge this fall.

 

July 21, 2017

­Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers June 2017 data, including unemployment, new business establishments, job postings and who’s hiring in the region.

Highlights include:

  • The unemployment rate increased 0.7 percentage points to 4.3 percent in June.
  • Unemployment increased in 18 out of 19 jurisdictions. Only Del Mar was unchanged, with an unemployment rate of virtually zero.
  • Year-over-year, construction growth outpaced all other sectors, up 7.6 percent; an increase of 5,700 jobs.  

Read the Economic Pulse here.

July 14, 2017

In early 2017, the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program selected San Diego, along with Indianapolis and Nashville, to participate in a six-month intensive learning lab focused on inclusive economic development. During the lab, EDC worked alongside the City of San Diego, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, and UC San Diego extension, to develop a deeper understanding of specific barriers to economic inclusion impacting a variety of populations across the region. The outcome of the learning lab is a data-driven narrative that will inform EDC’s strategy as we work towards an economic development agenda that benefits more people, companies and communities.

San Diego is flourishing economically, with an innovation economy and a culture of collaboration that is driving growth and transformation. According to a Brookings analysis of 50 US metros, San Diego ranks 6th in upward mobility, meaning there is a greater likelihood that an individual born into San Diego’s lowest income quartile will end up in the highest income quartile. This fact, backed by the accomplishments of a range of programmatic models and initiatives by partner organizations – Accion, Connect, CDC, Junior Achievement, to name only a few – proves the success this region has demonstrated in terms of connecting communities to the drivers of our economy.

With an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, the region is approaching full employment, meaning companies have incentives to offer pay raises and compete for talent. However, a 2016 study by San Diego-based Center for Policy Initiatives found there are one million individuals in San Diego that are living below self-sufficiency standards. This means that one third of our population cannot afford a no-frills cost of living without public or private assistance.

A nationwide battle for talent, a soaring cost of living at home, and a growing number of San Diegans unable to make ends meet are combining to form an unequivocal threat to our regional competitiveness. We cannot afford to ignore the large parts of our region that are disconnected from the engine of growth.

EDC, with a mandate to mobilize the business community around a broad economic development strategy, has committed to mainstreaming access and opportunity for all San Diegans into that overarching strategy. Over the duration of the 6 month learning lab, EDC interviewed over 25 companies, agencies, and organizations who are engaged in innovative and impactful best practices that guide families, individuals and companies on a path towards greater economic prosperity. We hosted Brookings research teams, and worked with public, private and nonprofit partners to convene dozens of roundtables and tours across the region. And we built a data-driven narrative that outlines the costs to our competitiveness of the growing number of San Diegans without access to opportunity, networks, and skills. .

For us the work is just beginning. As the learning lab comes to a close, we begin to look at the next phase: strategy. We will continue to lean on our growing network of partners and stakeholders over the coming months as we work with and through them to craft a plan that works to make our economy more inclusive, more competitive, and more resilient. Stay tuned.

July 11, 2017

Read the full profile here.

July 6, 2017

This spring, EDC continued its Link2 San Diego series – partnering with local colleges and universities to bridge the gap between young talent and the region’s growing industries. The spring series brought together 368 students, 18 companies, 13 high schools and three colleges. The forums provide an opportunity for students to network with and learn from local executives – with discussion around market trends, innovative technologies, entrepreneurship, sustainability of businesses, workforce requirements and more. Students across the spectrum, from high school to post-grad with diverse backgrounds and degree focuses, attended these free events to explore career options and make valuable connections with industry leaders. The details:

In April, EDC partnered with Cleantech San Diego on two events focused on topics including sustainability, climate action, electric and autonomous vehicles and more. Link2 Clean Transportation and Link2 Cleantech were both held on local community college campuses, hosting 250 students. The panel discussions and networking sessions featured representatives from SANDAG, SDG&E, ChargePoint, Green Charge, Lumeo and Mossy Toyota.

In May, EDC partnered with the UC San Diego Design Lab to host Link2 Game Design – an event focused on the growing alternate and virtual reality industry. The panel discussion featured game design experts from Daybreak Games, Tsunami VR, ThoughtSTEM, Jam City and VAVi Sport & Social Club. After the panel, more than 100 students participated in hands-on virtual reality demos and networked with industry representatives during the three-hour event at UC San Diego.

 

July 1, 2017

A year ago, members of the Global Competitiveness Council – the voice of the global business community in San Diego – made a request to Mayor Faulconer: to travel internationally with World Trade Center San Diego.

And he said yes. So we decided to start our global engagement by expanding our North American relationships and traveling to Vancouver--an international city that is quicker to fly to than it is to drive to LA. And with so many similarities to San Diego, we wound up squeezing nine meetings and events into just under a day and a half.

Economically speaking, Vancouver is seen as one of the greenest cities in the world. With the Mayor's climate action plan and the ongoing development of our cleantech industry, San Diego is fast being recognized as another one of North America’s greenest cities.

Some of the highlights from the trip include:

  • San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems, in partnership with TransLink, Metro Vancouver’s transportation network, announced there were more than 2 million compass cards in circulation
  • Phoenix Molecular Design, a life sciences company based in Vancouver, is actively expanding its business to San Diego and plans to grow to 15 employees within two years
  • UC San Diego and University of British Columbia (UBC)  formulized  the HIBAR initiative, designed to connect their faculty to their communities to tackle problems around sustainability and climate change
  • San Diego State University became the only California university accepted into the International Sustainability Campus Network, joining UBC and other top tier universities around the globe
  • SDG&E and BC Hydro, British Columbia’s energy utility, participated in a clean energy forum
  • Planck Aerospace, a San Diego-based drone startup, was able to pitch its technology to the Port of Vancouver
  • A smart cities forum led by Qualcomm and Wavefront, the Canadian center for mobile and IoT technology, and other telecommunications/Iot companies

 

And we made it back to San Diego just in time to celebrate Canada’s 150 birthday. 

World, get ready. San Diego is coming for you. 

Learn more about the trade mission by checking out #SDinVancouver