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“Opportunity starts in San Diego and with MetroConnect, we are helping out successful, home-grown San Diego startups so they can share that opportunity across our local economy and spread San Diego’s innovative products and services across the world,” said city of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “ I look forward to seeing these San Diego companies thrive and grow, as we continue to tell San Diego’s success story to the rest of the world.”
The MetroConnect Prize is made possible by JPMorgan Chase, a company committed to helping San Diego reach its full economic potential.
“JPMorgan Chase is pleased to support these San Diego businesses that are going global,” said Brennon Crist, head of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Commercial Banking group in San Diego. ‘’We hope the MetroConnect Prize program will enable these local firms to spend time in their target international markets, so they can visit suppliers and potential customers. In time, their export efforts could lead to job creation and growth of the San Diego economy.”
WHY GO GLOBAL?
With more than 85 percent of global growth through 2019 projected to occur outside of the U.S., global engagement is a big opportunity for many American cities, such as San Diego. According to the Brookings Institution, San Diego has the 17th largest economy in the U.S. in terms of GDP, but ranks 61st in terms of export intensity. In March 2015, Mayor Faulconer, San Diego Regional EDC and others launched the Go Global San Diego initiative, designed to help San Diego businesses attract foreign customers and investment and target key metro markets, including: London, Tokyo, Stockholm and other major global cities. The MetroConnect Prize was announced as a transactional way of helping companies reach more customers, thus translating into economic gain and job creation for the region.
Global engagement is essential if San Diego wants to catalyze its economy and workforce. The benefits of companies going global and engaging foreign markets are well-documented. According to the Brookings Institution, companies that are global pay their employees higher wages, are less likely to go out of business and spur more efficient development of technology and R&D.
On the heels of national political gridlock around trade legislation, working with companies at a metropolitan level is essential if we want to grow jobs and our economy.
“The best way to create jobs locally is to concentrate on growing the small and medium–sized businesses we currently have in San Diego,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional EDC, the organization administering the grants. “With JPMorgan Chase’s help, we’ve essentially developed a business accelerator for helping companies go global.”
MetroConnect Prize recipients will not only have access to funds, but also EDC and its affiliates’ international networks. In 2015 alone, EDC and many partners have traveled to London, Paris and Tokyo and will be heading to Brisbane and Sydney this week to further develop these networks critical to the success of local businesses.
FROM 64 to 15: SELECTING THE WINNERS
In total, 64 companies applied to receive the MetroConnect Prize. Companies were selected based on a variety of criteria, including interest in new markets, interest in targeted metro markets, assessed impact of funds, current international plan and more. A panel of judges, including representatives from Biocom, Connect, Qualcomm Ventures, Quantum Designs, San Diego Regional EDC, Software San Diego and Wireless Life Sciences Alliance, selected the winners.
From Cypher Genomics (a spin-off from The Scripps Research Institute), which employs 10 people locally, to Applied Membranes, a Vista-based maritime technology company that employs 175 individuals, these prize recipients represent a diverse cross section of San Diego’s innovation economy. These small to medium–sized businesses are representative of industries in life sciences, digital health, action sports, telecommunications, maritime technology and cybersecurity. (Please see “Company Stories” for more information about employment numbers, average revenue and more.)
One company receiving the prize is EdgeWave, a San Diego-based company that employs 65 people. Currently, the cybersecurity company derives 10 percent of its revenue from foreign sources, and is looking to use the funds to further develop markets in Manila, Philippines and Shanghai, China.
“Cyber attacks threaten the growth of the global economy and we are all affected by the damage done by hackers,” said Dave Maquera, EdgeWave president and CEO. “EdgeWave is confronting this cyber threat with a global focus. We are successfully expanding into Asia with new large enterprise customer wins and have partnered with Huawei Technologies, a worldwide information & communications technology leader, to expand into other markets around the globe. EdgeWave’s unique combination of expert U.S. military cybersecurity veterans with advanced technology mirrors the San Diego community, and illustrates why San Diego is the right city to lead the way in securing the global economy.”
Companies can use the funds for a variety of global services including travel (to and from target market), participation in a trade show, establishment of a foreign subsidiary to operate in the market of interest, foreign language translation of marketing materials, export plan development and more. The funds are not expected to cover all of the expenses a company incurs in going global. Rather, the MetroConnect Prize was created by San Diego Regional EDC and JPMorgan Chase as a way to incentivize companies to kick start global efforts or explore a new foreign market.
Thanks to Japan Airlines, companies looking to increase ties with the Japanese market have the added benefit of discounted flights to Narita International Airport in Tokyo. Currently, Tokyo is one of the two direct intercontinental flights from San Diego International Airport.
A GLOBAL GRAND PRIZE
Announced at the press conference today at the San Diego International Airport, MetroConnect Prize winners will also be eligible for the MetroConnect grand prize, an additional $50,000 to help one or two companies advance their global agendas. In late 2015, MetroConnect Prize recipients will be invited to share their stories for the judges, who will select the grand prize recipient(s).
Congratulations to the award winners:
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