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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Big Picture San Diego Blog

June 26, 2017

This op-ed was originally published by San Diego Union-Tribune, and authored by Matt Cole, Magda Marquet and Michelle Sterling.
 
This is a time of profound disruption in the global economic system: The rules of global commerce are shifting rapidly, the pace of innovation and competition is generating winners and losers, and political volatility around the world is creating an uncertain environment for businesses large and small.
 
Now, more than ever, it is time for cities to step up and lead. And to lead, they must be seen.
 
For San Diego companies, global connectivity matters. Whether it’s biotech or manufacturing, most businesses have customers outside of San Diego, which allows them to add jobs here at home. In 2015, San Diego exported more than $17 billion in goods overseas, as well as billions more in services like software, cybersecurity, engineering and research. Small- and medium-sized businesses produce 92 percent of those goods. 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.
 
Our competitive advantage here in San Diego is that we develop and produce life-saving and life-changing technologies better than almost anywhere else in the world.
 
Four years ago, Althea was a midsize life sciences company with great talent and a compelling business proposition. A personal relationship, and chance meeting at a trade show, began a relationship with Japanese multinational Ajinomoto that has drawn millions of dollars of investment into the region, and enabled Althea to become a global player in the development and manufacturing of biologics and innovative pharmaceuticals.
 
For Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), a business unit of Cubic Corp., providing public transportation solutions is one example of where public-private partnerships can be applied. From Chicago to Sydney, Vancouver and London, Cubic-powered technology and services move 38 million people seamlessly on a daily basis. This form of service requires collaborative working relationships between metro governments, transportation authorities and the private sector. And more often than not, these relationships need to be built over time by political and civic leadership to be effective.
 
Most San Diegans know the name Qualcomm but are less familiar with the transformative impact that the company has had in the world through its innovation in wireless technologies that power the global economy. What started in 1985 as a startup co-founded by a UC San Diego professor has grown into a company that has invented the technologies that make smartphones indispensable in our lives. With each technology Qualcomm invents and with each employee it hires, people from Brazil to China are learning how San Diego is changing the world.
 
The 600 largest cities in the world account for 60 percent of the global economy, and that economy is increasingly crowded, confusing and contested. Metros need strong leadership, unified voices and targeted strategies to compete. This is why mayors around the world are uniting to take on big issues like climate change, trade and poverty. It is why the mayors of every major U.S. city are on the road like never before, opening doors for the expansion of their regional economies. It is why we, as the Global Competitiveness Council — the voice of the global business community here in the San Diego region — called on Mayor Kevin Faulconer to be on the road to help out.
 
The mayor responded to this call by the business community, and is traveling to Mexico City, Vancouver and London in 2017 to create civic and academic partnerships, to facilitate deals that create jobs for San Diegans, and, most importantly, to create a framework for engagement with our most important markets. Our hope is that companies of all sizes seize the opportunities the mayor is creating.
 
We know what an innovative, collaborative and life-changing place San Diego is; but now more than ever, we need our leadership telling that story here at home and around the world. Our economy depends on it.
 
Cole is president of Cubic Transportation Systems. Marquet is co-founder of Ajinomoto Althea and AltheaDX. Sterling is executive vice president of human resources at Qualcomm.
 
Mayors of every major U.S. city are on the road like never before, opening doors for the expansion of their regional economies.
June 19, 2017

Today, EDC released the first-ever economic impact report on San Diego’s genomics industry. “Cracking the Code: the Economic Impact of San Diego’s Genomics Industry” explores the economic factors that have led to the proliferation of San Diego’s genomics industry, analyzes the region’s genomics standing relative to other U.S. regions, and quantifies San Diego’s genomics-related firms, talent pool, venture capital and more.

As a way to understand San Diego’s proliferation in the genomics industry, the study also includes a web timeline that charts significant milestones at GenomicsSD.org.

As the #1 most patent intensive genomics market in the U.S., San Diego is leading the charge in a new era of healthcare. Personalized medicine and technology are taking precedence, with local genomics companies, research institutions and universities at the forefront.

KEY FINDINGS

Leadership: San Diego is poised to continue its leadership in the field of precision medicine. With more than 115 genomics-related firms, San Diego has companies that handle every aspect of the genomics value-chain – from sampling and sequencing (e.g. Illumina, Thermo Fisher Scientific) to analysis and interpretation (e.g. AltheaDX, Human Longevity, Inc.) to clinical applications (e.g. Celgene, Arcturus Therapeutics), creating a complete ecosystem. Additionally, San Diego conducts the fundamental scientific research, due in part to the concentration of research institutes, that form the basis for many global genomics therapies and interventions.

Capital: While San Diego is home to just one percent of the U.S. population, it received 22 percent – $292 million – of the venture capital funding in genomics in 2016. Continually, San Diego’s numerous nonprofit research institutes command a large share of federal funding (e.g. NIH). In fact, San Diego received $3.2 million federal contract dollars in 2016 – more than any other U.S. region.

Talent: San Diego produces more genomics-ready graduates, relative to the size of its workforce, than any other U.S. region. With nearly 2,000 average genomics-related degrees (biochemistry, cognitive science and bioinformatics) conferred per year, San Diego’s genomics companies benefit from the preparatory work of the region’s top academic institutions. In that vein, it is projected that the local talent pool for key genomics occupations will grow by an additional 10 percent by 2021.

ADDITIONAL KEY FACTS

  • San Diego’s genomics industry has a $5.6 billion annual economic impact, impacting 35,000 jobs in 2016.
  • Among top life sciences U.S. metros, San Diego’s genomics industry ranks  #2 overall, #3 in innovation, #2 in talent, and #4 in growth.*
  • From 2014 to 2016, San Diego generated 371 genomics-related patents. Collectively, 28 local firms generated 120 genomics-related patents in 2016.
  • San Diego is 3.1x more concentrated than the U.S. in key genomics occupations.
  • From 2011 to 2016, San Diego’s genomics talent pool grew by 11 percent, far outpacing the national growth rate of 5.1 percent.

*The genomics scorecard was calculated using a weighted ranking system divided into three categories approximating the genomics ecosystem: innovation, talent, and growth.

EDC’s study was underwritten by Illumina, and sponsored by Alexandria Real Estate, Barney & Barney, Biocom, Eastridge Workforce Solutions, Human Longevity, Inc., Latham & Watkins, Thermo Fisher Scientific and UC San Diego. Additional research support was provided by CBRE.

For a complete copy of the executive summary, click here. For a copy of the full study, click here. To view the web timeline, visit GenomicsSD.org.

 
June 16, 2017
In just the first half of 2017, the region has seen the official launch of two direct flights, of which WTC San Diego and EDC have assisted the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority in attracting: Condor Airlines’ direct service to Frankfurt, Germany and Edelweiss’ direct service to Zurich, Switzerland. 
 
This week, Edelweiss launched its inaugural flight. WTC and EDC assisted in hosting a private luncheon earlier this year with Swiss-owned and San Diego-based companies seeking business opportunities in Switzerland. Switzerland is an important market for San Diego, especially for the life sciences industry, with more than $1.6 billion in investment from Switzerland. 
 
June 16, 2017

EDC is proud to take part in the BIO International Convention, the largest life sciences convention in the world, hosted right here in San Diego from June 19-22.
 
Join us Monday, June 19 as we celebrate the region's ever-growing life sciences cluster. Here's how:
  • 1:00 - 2:15pm: Panel event for the launch of EDC's economic impact report on San Diego's genomics industry. Details here.*
  • 5:00 - 7:00pm: San Diego Innovation Council Reception. Register here.
 
*must be registered for BIO to attend.
June 5, 2017

San Diego knows how to build companies that the rest of the world values. Case in point: Last month, El-Cajon based Calbiotech, a diagnostics company, was acquired by ERBA Mannheim, a medical device manufacturer based in Mannheim, Germany.

In 2016, Calbiotech was part of MetroConnect, World Trade Center San Diego’s flagship export assistance program. As part of the 2016 cohort, Calbiotech received financial and programmatic resources to support their plans to expand internationally.

Calbiotech has a global footprint of more than 200 products, which are distributed to 60 countries worldwide. With the expansion announcement, Calbiotech will maintain its footprint in San Diego because of the access to key reference labs and other biotech customers throughout the region. It will also serve as ERBA’s hub and gateway to the Latin American market.

The company was referred to the MetroConnect program by Jo Marie Diamond, head of the San Diego East County Economic Development Council. “I’ve been working with Calbiotech for years,” said Diamond, “They are representative of everything positive about the San Diego economy – a focus on innovative products, a strong sense of commitment to the community, and an incredibly grounded and highly diverse team.

We’re excited to hear of Calbiotech’s next step and were very impressed with the company during their time in MetroConnect”, said Lauren Lindner, director of World Trade Center San Diego who oversees the MetroConnect Program. “Their team was incredibly savvy in their rollout to international markets, and we’re not surprised to see that a leader like ERBA took notice.”

San Diego, and specifically East County, have been an integral part of the Calbiotech success story,” said David Barka, Vice President. “San Diego is home to companies that are leading the world in innovation in science and medicine. Being in San Diego gave us access to an amazing talent pool that really helped our company grow.”

The acquisition will help Calbiotech increase access to markets across Europe and Asia add to EBRA’s extensive and far-ranging product portfolio.

M&A is an important growth strategy and capital source for San Diego companies. According to a 2016 EDC study, nearly 70 percent of San Diego’s capital in 2015 came through M&A.

Calbiotech’s acquisition mirrors the region’s strengthening ties with Germany, including the announcement of Condor’s new direct flight to Frankfurt, Germany, which began operation on Monday, May 1.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Applications for the MetroConnect 2017 round are now open. To apply, click here.

June 1, 2017
Calling all companies looking to go global...
 
MetroConnect, World Trade Center San Diego’s flagship export assistance program, is now accepting applications for its 2017 cohort. 
 
Made possible through a grant provided by JPMorgan Chase & Co., small to mid-sized companies in San Diego can apply for a $10,000 grant and programmatic services to assist with international expansion efforts.
 
Fifteen local companies will be selected. Apply now through June 30, 2017.
To date, the 30 companies that have gone through the MetroConnect program (2015-2016) 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, Rough Draft Brewing, Deering Banjo Company, Cypher Genomics (now part of Human Longevity Inc.), ROBO 3D and more.
 
Learn more at metroconnectsd.org and apply here
 
 
May 31, 2017

According to EDC’s newly released Quarterly Economic Snapshot, the region added 29,600 jobs year-over-year, a 2.1 percent increase in total employment since Q1 2016. However, the San Diego region saw a quarterly decline of 10,900 jobs, primarily due to seasonal workers transitioning out of retail following the holiday season.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage points during Q1 2017, but is 0.7 percentage points lower than the same period a year ago.

Key findings from the snapshot:

  • San Diego closed Q1 2017 with an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, the 14th lowest among top U.S. metros and below the nation’s and state’s rates of 4.6 and 5.1, respectively.
  • The construction sector saw the largest quarterly and year-over-year growth in employment, adding 2,800 and 5,700 jobs, respectively – indicative of the overall health of the economy.
  • The median home price fell 0.7 percent from the previous quarter, but is still up 5 percent compared to a year ago.
  • VC dollars in the region increased 15.2 percent compared to the previous quarter.

Kirby Brady, San Diego Regional EDC research director, explains, “A small uptick in unemployment and slowing home price appreciation are to be expected in the winter months. However, when you look at the overall trends, San Diego appears to be reaching full employment and real estate remains a seller’s market. If these trends continue, we’ll start to see wages rise.”

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) 2017. 

Read it here.

May 21, 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.

 

May 19, 2017

"Job postings aren't staying up long, and unemployment is near record lows. I expect wages to start increasing as we approach full employment." - Phil Blair, President and CEO, Manpower

 
Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases unemployment data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers April data, including unemployment data, new business establishments, job postings and who’s hiring in San Diego.
 
Highlights include:
  • The unemployment rate dropped 0.4 percentage points to 3.8 percent in April, the lowest seen since December 2006.
  • Unemployment declined in 18 of 19 jurisdictions. Only Del Mar was unchanged, with an unemployment rate of virtually zero.
  • Construction job growth accelerated in April, up 8.5 percent compared to a year ago.
     
 

 

May 11, 2017
This week, World Trade Center San Diego and UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) welcomed Alan Beebe, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, for the third and final Global Forum program of the year. The event was held in the Harbor View room at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse.
 
The presentation focused on the findings of the 2017 China Business Climate Survey Report, released by the American Chamber of Commerce. Alan Beebe provided insight on the obstacles American companies face in China today, and how these obstacles are leading to adjustments in strategy for the future. Following the presentation, Mr. Beebe was joined by Dr. Karl Gerth, Chinese Studies program director at UC San Diego for a moderated Q&A session.
 
Sponsored by Bank of America, the Global Forum initiative offers GPS’s high-profile, visiting scholars a chance to address the region’s local business community.