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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


May 2018

May 29, 2018

Due to regularly occurring seasonal effects, San Diego, and the overwhelming majority of the most populous metros, experienced a decline in employment during Q1 2018 (January - March). Leaving the holiday season behind, the region’s total nonfarm employment declined 7,300, or 0.5 percent. Compared to a year ago, nonfarm employment was up 27,000, or 1.9 percent.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in Q1, the lowest the region has seen in the last 17 years and down from 3.3 percent in Q4 2017.
 

More key findings from the Q1 Economic Snapshot:

  • San Diego closed Q1 with an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent and the third lowest among the 25 most populous metros, up four spots from the previous quarter. 
  • Following an addition of 9,500 jobs in Q4 2017, the trade, transportation, and utilities supersector decreased by 11,200 jobs in Q1, the largest quarterly loss. The majority of these jobs were lost within the retail trade sector as seasonal employees transitioned out.
  • Year-over-year, the San Diego region’s median home price continued to climb, growing by 8.2 percent.
  • VC dollars in the region increased 60 percent compared to a year ago.

The Quarterly Economic Snapshot analyzes key economic indicators that are important to understanding the regional economy and the region’s standing relative to the 25 most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S. This releases includes data from January to March (Q1) 2018.

Read the full Econonic Snapshot here.


May 25, 2018

Many of your inboxes have likely been bombarded this week with notifications of privacy policy updates from organizations of every kind. That’s because today is the day that a two year transition period ends and enforcement for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) begins. This new regulation changes the ways in which companies can collect, protect, and use personal data, while bolstering consumer/user rights to their data.

Sound familiar? You might have attended World Trade Center San Diego's roundtable about Data Protection and Privacy Regulations for EU and APEC back in January.

Here’s some background:

Two years ago, the European Union adopted the GDPR, a regulation that harmonizes data protection and privacy laws for all EU individuals. We say EU individuals because the GDPR applies not just to EU citizens but also residents, workers, and even foreigners whose data is collected while on EU soil. Companies were given a two-year transition period to decide upon and execute a compliance strategy.

Some of the key issues addressed in the GDPR are:

  • Enhanced rights of data subjects
    • Digital consent
    • Right to erasure
    • Right of access/data portability
  • Responsibilities of the data controller/processor
    • Data Protection Officer (DPO) requirements
    • Handling of data breaches
  • Penalties for non-compliance

The GDPR is a complex legal framework that has been shrouded in controversy from the start. Some have argued that small businesses will be disproportionately harmed by the cost of compliance despite the initial target of the legislation being data giants, such as Facebook and Google. Not that compliance has been a breeze for those two companies either. As the EU’s judiciaries build precedence around this topic, the important thing for companies to do at this moment, is to ensure that their privacy policies and marketing efforts comply with the updated regulations.

You can check out our updated (and GDPR-compliant) privacy policy here.

May 18, 2018

The first cohort of biomanufacturing students at MiraCosta College is half way through their two-year bachelor’s degree program. That’s right – Oceanside-based MiraCosta Community College is one of only 15 community colleges in California to offer a bachelor’s degree program (114 total community colleges in CA). MiraCosta’s existing biotech associates degree program, which is the oldest in the county, helped the school gain prowess as a leading community college focused on life sciences. Building on that success, this new bachelor’s program will prepare students for work within San Diego’s lucrative biotechnology industry. The pioneer behind the program is Mike Fino: a UC San Diego Jacobs School alum, former industry researcher in regenerative medicine, and current Dean of Math & Sciences at MiraCosta.

With a background in industry, Mike Fino made the ideal moderator for EDC’s Link to San Diego: Life Sciences event at MiraCosta College in May. Formatted as a panel discussion followed by a networking session, Link to San Diego: Life Sciences welcomed representatives from Human Longevity Inc., Genentech, and BD to campus to speak about industry trends and lend advice to students on how they can prepare for a career in the San Diego industry. While open to all students, the program was primarily designed for MiraCosta’s biomanufacturing students to begin making industry connections and thinking about next steps as they work through their program.

The group of students who attended came prepared with resumes and thoughtful questions for the speakers. MiraCosta’s biomanufacturing BA program is a prime example of how San Diego’s community college system prepares its students based on the needs of our local economy, providing opportunities and value for residents and employers alike. Now, it’s our job to keep this bright and eager talent pool in San Diego.

May 18, 2018

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

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 2.9 percent in April, down 0.3 percentage points from March’s revised rate of 3.2 percent, and 1.0 percentage point lower than a year ago.
  • Every jurisdiction saw a decrease in the unemployment rate from the month prior.
  • The labor force contracted slightly, shedding 5,900 workers during the month; the seventh decline of the past 12 months. The labor force is now down 1,800 compared to a year ago.
  • Total nonfarm employment increased by 14,100, or 1.0 percent, in April. Compared to year ago, total nonfarm employment is now up 32,100, or 2.2 percent
  • Get the details in the full Economic Pulse here.

May 17, 2018

 

In San Diego, leaders in genomics and connected health are making life-changing breakthroughs every day: unlocking the power of the human genome, turning personalized medicine into reality, and enhancing the way we live on a massive scale. Much of this is due to San Diego’s impeccable local workforce, skilled in bioinformatics, data science, computational biology, and other life sciences fields.  

To stay on this trajectory, San Diego companies conduct an ongoing search for the best and brightest, skilled in translating data into actionable results for healthcare and medicine. During this year’s San Diego Life Sciences Trek program in August, some of the biggest players in our life sciences industry are once again opening their doors to PhD students with the expertise and mission-driven attitude to get the job done. Through company tours, presentations, and a networking reception, students will gain access to influential researchers and executives across many of San Diego's fast-growing companies including Thermo Fisher, ResMed, Dexcom, Human Longevity, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and JLABS. The program is open to PhD candidates interested in exploring careers in bioinformatics, data science, computational biology, genomics, and more. From drug discovery to connected devices, genetic sequencing to direct patient care, it’s clear that San Diego’s vibrant life sciences ecosystem provides an abundant breadth of opportunities.

Over two sunny days in November 2017, 30 Masters and PhD candidates toured San Diego for the Life Sciences Trek in its pilot year. This group represented 10 schools from across the country, all working towards advanced degrees in bioinformatics, bioengineering, genetics, molecular biology or similar disciplines. One participant has already made the move to San Diego after accepting a bioinformatics software engineer position at Illumina, one of the participating companies last year. Other participants from the 2017 Life Sciences Trek reflected on their experience as well:

“This is a fantastic opportunity and unique experience to get an inside look into companies and a career in Life sciences and specifically Bioinformatics. It was perfect timing for me in my last year of a Ph.D. program.”

“[The Life Sciences Trek] gives you an inside look at companies in the area beyond just reading their website. I now have firsthand connections to recruiters and other biotech professionals in the area that I will maintain over the coming years.”

“San Diego is at the top of my list for post-graduation job hunting, primarily because of my experience at the EDC Life Sciences Trek.”

Registration is now open for the 2018 San Diego Life Sciences Trek -- don’t miss out on this exclusive opportunity to explore one of the top life sciences markets in the country. Join us in San Diego August 16-17 to see the life-changing work happening here for yourself. And who knows, you might just find your dream job.

To learn more or register, visit the official Eventbrite page or contact Kate Gallagher – ksg@sandiegobusiness.org.

 

 

 

May 15, 2018

A San Diego genomics giant is acquiring a San Diego genomics startup. Does it get any better than this?

Recent #SDinUK delegate company and biotech startup Edico Genome has been acquired by local genomics giant Illumina in a deal worth $100 million.

Edico Genome’s DRAGEN Bio-IT technology uses field programmable gate array chips in conjunction with proprietary software algorithms for rapid analysis of genetic data produced by DNA-sequencing machines. It means the time it takes to sequence your genome is drastically expedited. 
 
Our acquisition of Edico Genome is a big step toward realizing the vision of reducing sequencing data acquisition and analysis to a push-button, standardized process,” said Susan Tousi, SVP of product development at Illumina. 
 
The San Diego roots in this deal run strong. Like many great San Diego startups, Edico Genome was a graduate of local incubator EvoNexus. It has also received funding from Qualcomm Ventures. President and CEO Pieter Van Rooyen was also a co-founder of EvoNexus alum EcoATM prior to working with Edico Genome.
 
Earlier this year, on the heels of EDC's 2017 U.K. trade mission, Edico Genome and Genomics England announced a partnership to strengthen the accuracy and consistency of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis in Genomics England’s Rare Disease Pilot.
May 14, 2018

This month, it was announced that California had the 5th largest economy in the world, behind the total GDP of the United States, China, Japan, and Germany. Much of this growth is concentrated in the coastal metros which, of course, include San Diego. In an increasingly integrated economy, strategic global economic engagements are crucial to San Diego’s sustained economic competitiveness. By leveraging international exports and foreign direct investment (FDI), San Diego continues to create jobs, increase competitiveness, and boost the region’s global identity.

San Diego, with the help of its local leadership, has become an increasingly global city – one that engages with other metropolitan regions with similar interests and industries. These connections have led to an increase in trade missions, research and innovation partnerships, collaborations, venture funding, and other opportunities for local companies. This year, San Diego welcomed Lufthansa airlines as a direct flight carrier linking San Diego and Frankfurt. Lufthansa joins the ranks of Edelweiss, British Airways, and Japan Airlines in offering overseas nonstop service. These direct flights go a long way in easing both business and tourism travel which foster increased business flow and connect people around the world with San Diego’s world-class tourist sites, such as the San Diego Zoo. These direct flights and increased global connectivity have also done much to help San Diego’s budding companies do business both at home and overseas.

In just the past three years, 45 companies have graduated from MetroConnect, an export assistance program led by WTC San Diego. As we close out our most recent cohort, program participants 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.

While the latest national rhetoric seems to suggest that trade is an evil word and something to be feared, San Diego traces some of its greatest successes to trade. Companies such as Viasat, Qualcomm, Cubic, and Illumina have all translated local innovation into global solutions – solutions that have catapulted San Diego onto the global stage and helped highlight the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that helps this region the life-changing place it is.

This week, WTC San Diego is proud to commemorate World Trade Week and highlight the ways in which San Diego is going global. We couldn’t be more proud of our companies, our people, and our innovations. Follow along in our week-long celebration at #WorldTradeWeek, and tell us what #GlobalSD means to you.

The World Trade Week concept was started in 1926 and first observed in 1927 in Southern California. World trade significantly contributes to the nation’s economy and has developed a vast new horizon for America’s businesses. To learn more about the history behind World Trade Week, visit: foreigntradeassociation.com/worldtradeweek.

 

 

May 10, 2018

WTC San Diego is proud to announce the four finalists of MetroConnect, San Diego's premier export assistance program, presented by JPMorgan Chase. These four diverse companies will compete for an additional $35,000 in funding towards their international expansion strategies during our Grand Prize PitchFest on June 7. The catch? They will be looking to you, the attendee, to judge and award the extra cash. Read more and register here.

This year’s finalists are:

  • CureMatch | a genomics, software company that guides oncologists through its platform in selecting the most advanced personalized cancer therapies for patients
  • FoxFury | an innovative, portable, go-anywhere, lighting tools company that serves firefighting, police, military, industrial safety, hazardous area, filming, and photography
  • Planck Aerosystems | an autonomous drone company that focuses on use cases operating from moving vehicles
  • Tioga Research | a contract research organization that supports the research and early development of skin-applied products, including topical, and transdermal drugs and prestige cosmetic products


Join us June 7 for the MetroConnect Pitchfest.

 

May 10, 2018

With a continued commitment to growing San Diego’s reputation as a hub for innovation, the City of San Diego, City of Chula Vista and San Diego Regional EDC announced that San Diego has been selected to participate in a new program by the U.S. Department of Transportation to advance the testing of unmanned aircraft technology, grow the innovation economy and create jobs.

“From wireless technology to human genomes, San Diego is renowned for its innovative spirit and talent that can’t be matched anywhere else,” Mayor Faulconer said. “This designation brings together some of our brightest minds in local government and private industry to develop cutting-edge technologies that are going to take robotic and aerial innovations to the next level.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program” is an opportunity for state, local and tribal governments to partner with private sector innovators, operators and manufacturers to accelerate the development of drone technology. 

“The City of Chula Vista is proud to be a regional partner with the City of San Diego and the industry leaders that support the innovation around Unmanned Aircraft Systems deployment,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. “This unique opportunity will help the City design, develop and test drones to support police officers and fire fighters during emergencies.”  

The program will inform the Department of Transportation about the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in our skies. Key objectives of the program include:

  • Working closely with private sector partners to advance commercial unmanned aircraft system operations and applications for technology
  • Obtaining expedited Federal Aviation Administration approval for airspace authorizations
  • Demonstrating operational solutions that reduce the need for waivers
  • Incorporating community participation for meaningful dialogue for unmanned aircraft systems operations

San Diego’s local program will include projects like flying medical specimens from UC San Diego for expedited results and cost savings, testing food delivery from restaurants to consumers using Uber, enhancing public safety by deploying drones to incident scenes in advance of first responders and testing the integration and communication between driverless cars and unmanned aircraft systems.

“This announcement proves San Diego companies, organizations, academics, government and non-profits are exceptionally well-positioned to advance the adoption into the national airspace,” said Lauree Sahba, Chief Operating Officer for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. “Not only does this program elevate San Diego as a research and development hub, but it also brings enormous potential to our economically diverse region.”

The City of San Diego’s Homeland Security Department was the lead program applicant, with more than 20 regional organizations signing on to support the submission, including EDC. The full list of partners:

  • San Diego Regional EDC
  • Qualcomm
  • City of Chula Vista
  • AT&T
  • Palomar College
  • California Governor’s Military Council
  • California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)
  • Uber
  • Intel
  • Coleman University
  • GE Ventures
  • UC San Diego Health
  • Port of San Diego
  • Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
  • San Diego Law Enforcement Coordination Center
  • Verdego Aero – Provides urban transportation market with safe, clean and quiet hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that can fly piloted or autonomously.
  • Airmap – Connects airspace authorities with drones to provide safe and efficient drone operations
  • Cape – Offers a cloud-based system for drone telepresence and data management
  • Matternet - Provides drone technology and ground infrastructure to help healthcare systems transport blood and pathology samples between hospital facilities
  • Avitas Systems – A GE Ventures-affiliated company that offers robotic-based autonomous inspections and data analytics focused increasing safety and efficiency
  • Infragard San Diego – FBI-affiliated nonprofit focused on mitigating criminal and terrorist threats to protect regional infrastructure

This collaboration led to San Diego being among only 10 agencies nationwide chosen to participate, including the states of Kansas, Virginia, Alaska and North Dakota and the cities of Reno and Memphis.

“We are eager to work with our partners and the U.S. Department of Transportation to promote nationwide Unmanned Aircraft Systems innovation and integration,” said John Valencia, the City’s Homeland Security Director. “This pioneering program will foster capabilities that will greatly enhance the safety and security of San Diego residents, particularly in the areas of effective Unmanned Aircraft System operations by public safety organizations, and resilient communications during emergencies and in times of crisis.”

This announcement follows a similar designation by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which selected the San Diego region as one of 10 autonomous vehicle testing sites in the nation in 2017. The designated testing sites form a national community that share information and collaborate with the private sector to advance the safe development of unmanned vehicles.

“We are looking forward to helping today’s winners unlock the enormous potential of drone operations, which will create new services and jobs in their local communities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

 

May 10, 2018

As part of the San Diego: Life. Changing. campaign, EDC has released a recruitment toolkit and company map for use by local employers.

Amid a nationwide battle for talent, San Diego companies must compete with other cities to fill innovation jobs. To address this issue, the toolkit and map provide the resources needed to inform talent of all that San Diego has to offer: meaningful career opportunities, unparalleled lifestyle amenities and highly-talented people.

 “San Diego: Life. Changing. was created by San Diego, for San Diego,” said Lauree Sahba, COO, San Diego Regional EDC. When we spoke to tech and life sciences companies, they said they needed a one-stop shop where they can pull information about the region to help recruit talent and attract investment. We will continue to add and refine resources based on company feedback.”

Talent fuels economic growth, drives corporate decision-making and incubates entrepreneurship. If San Diego wants to remain economically competitive, it must continue to attract and retain a talent pool that appeals to global companies.

In early 2018, Robert Half staffing company named San Diego the number one city for tech job growth in the first half of 2018. Additionally, STEM jobs are 34 percent more concentrated in San Diego than the U.S. average, based on a San Diego Regional EDC analysis of EMSI data.

San Diego: Life. Changing. was created to refine a cohesive regional identity to attract and retain STEM talent. The campaign and the contents of the toolkit have been guided by the “San Diego Brand Alliance” – a group of more than 50 life sciences and tech employers including Illumina, Human Longevity, Inc., Viasat and more. Representing the region in a united front will ensure San Diego continues to compete on the global stage.

San Diego holds such tremendous opportunities for candidates, yet when recruiting top talent from outside of the region we still encounter the false perception that career options in the area are somewhat limited,” said Melinda Del Toro, SVP of People & Culture, Viasat. “The toolkit provides resources that reinforce the message we’ve been telling candidates for years: San Diego is a dynamic, rich environment with incredible opportunities to have both the career and life you want, that you just don't find in other regions.”

The toolkit includes recruitment resources such as fast facts, imagery and b-roll, infographics, industry overviews, social media posts and more. Users can sign up for free access to the toolkit online here

The map was designed so potential recruits and those interested in learning about careers in San Diego can visualize the breadth of companies throughout our region. Representatives from tech, life sciences or lifestyle companies may also request to add their company to the map.

For more information about ways to leverage the campaign, visit SDlifechanging.org.