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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


July 2019

July 9, 2019

Since 2013, the U.S. Department of Commerce hosts its annual SelectUSA Investment Summit, making it the country’s largest trade show for foreign direct investment (FDI). This year, in partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) International Affairs and Business Development team, WTC San Diego and San Diego Regional EDC staff attended the event to promote California and San Diego.

Garnering more than 2,000 attendees and an impressive slew of speakers, the conference featured keynotes from Secretary Wilbur Ross, Larry Kudlow, and Ivanka Trump, alongside dozens of technical presentations. US Ambassadors from all over the world brought delegations of companies set on expanding into the US from their respective countries to learn about the competitive advantages of each state. At the conference, economic development representatives from nearly all 50 states vie for the attention of these companies by demonstrating why their state is best suited to support international expansion. While some states resort to fun, unique antics like utilizing a Captain America outfit to draw in crowds, the delegates from California drew attention to the immense academic investment and corporate strengths of the fifth largest economy in the world.

In the span of two days, WTC staff met with more than a dozen companies from across the globe – Israel to China and UK to Japan – specifically discussing each country’s interest in San Diego. As states and regions compete to attract foreign investment, increased coordination and collaboration across California is necessary to help combat any negative narratives, and ultimately, highlight the success of the entire state’s economy.

With Bud Colligan as Sr. Advisor for International Affairs and Trade for California, there's been an increased call for California to develop more robust trade and FDI strategy. According to SelectUSA, majority-foreign-owned companies support 769,20 jobs in California, placing the state in a distant first with Texas coming in second by supporting 596,900 jobs.

If you are interested in WTC San Diego’s approach to creating a statewide strategy for foreign direct investment, contact Director of World Trade Center San Diego, Jesse Gipe at jg@sandiegobusiness.org.

July 9, 2019

The Integrated Pilot Program (IPP) reached a large benchmark on the food delivery mission, which included a successful test flight with Uber Eats on San Diego State University campus. Starting this summer, Uber will be using specially crafted drones developed by its flight arm, Uber Elevate, to grow the company's food delivery program. Giving way for Uber Eats to operate in the region's airspace, San Diego Office of Homeland Security has been integral in this initiative with coordination from EDC, in order to obtain the necessary waivers and certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through the IPP. Read more about this program here

The IPP is rapidly moving forward on the first-ever international Unamnned Aircraft Systems (UAS) flight, which is made possible in coordination with EDC's partners at CAPE Aerial Telepresence and the City of Tijuana. The project has also been working diligently with Matternet, the medical delivery operators, to determine the route for the first blood sample test delivery.

Next up: EDC, in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton, is planning the process for a drone conference, which is slated to take place in February 2020. The themes include San Diego as a center of excellence in the emerging technologies industry, inclusivity, and deep dives into the unique challenges of UAS integration. A planning committee is being formed, involving possible participation from local government partners, local industry leaders, nonprofit stakeholders, and higher education institutions. Expect more details on the conference coming soon. 

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July 9, 2019

Now in its fourth year, MetroConnect is World Trade Center San Diego’s flagship export assistance program, underwritten by JPMorgan Chase. Following a competitive application process, 15 to 20 export-ready, small and medium-sized businesses receive a $10,000 challenge grant and programmatic services to aid their international expansion efforts. During the course of one year, participating companies get access to complimentary services and preferred rates from program partners, as well as technical assistance trainings in areas such as data privacy, export compliance, supply chain, IP protection, and more.

For the fourth and final workshop of the program period, WTC partnered with MetroConnect sponsor SYSTRAN and consultant JAS Forwarding to host a two-part workshop focused on language translation and supply chain solutions. The first portion of the workshop titled, “The Language Traps of Going Global,” focused on the importance of selling in the local language and the contemporary software solutions available to small businesses. Ken Behan, vice president of sales and marketing, and Philip Staiger, technical account manager at SYSTRAN demoed SYSTRAN’s pure neural server and took questions from the companies in attendance.

The latter half of the workshop, presented by JAS Forwarding Worldwide, focused on “Freight Forwarding & Supply Chain Solutions.” Matt Halpin, business development manager at JAS Forwarding, and Tyler Sullivan, senior national account director at JAS Government & Defense, provided a synopsis of the logistics behind exporting/importing goods to and from the San Diego region.

The 2019 MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest will take place on November 13, 2019 at The Alexandria. The top four performing companies from this year’s cohort will compete for an additional $35,000 in funding to accelerate their international expansion efforts.

 

July 9, 2019

Serving the defense and transportation industries, Cubic Corporation is a global company with clients on nearly every continent. The company has called Kearny Mesa home for 50 years, currently based in an aging set of buildings that have not kept pace with the company's. Its facilities were divided onto two major campuses in the Kearny Mesa area, creating a lack of cohesion among its business units.

With competition for tech talent at an all-time high, Cubic’s leadership was concerned its outdated facilities would discourage potential hires. Cubic needed to modernize and redevelop its campus to help attract talent, while also providing adequate facilities for the next 50 years. Despite its long history as a San Diego company, Cubic was experiencing pressure to build its headquarters in a lower-cost state such Tennessee, Alabama, orFlorida, where Cubic had other growing operations. As a result, EDC worked hand-in-hand with Cubic’s team to secure the necessary incentives to keep San Diego a competitive option, despite pressure to relocate its facilities out-of-state.

Utilizing both state and local programs, EDC was able to leverage its expertise in incentives consulting in order to help this 50-year-old staple company stay in California. EDC developed a strategy to capture a number of incentive programs, which offset the cost of rebuilding its headquarters in San Diego. Additionally, EDC worked as an intermediary to both the City and State departments on behalf of cubic to ensure processes were staying on track and that the campus redevelopment was seen as a priority by all parties.

Cubic secured a CalCompetes Tax Credit worth $8.5 million. Locally, Cubic was able to secure expedited processes through the City of San Diego, in addition to a Business Incentive Program and Business Cooperation Program award. In total, the incentives and expedited processes provided gave Cubic the necessary offsets and timeline confidence to commit to redeveloping its Kearny Mesa headquarters, and keeping San Diego as its home for decades to follow.

ABOUT CUBIC CORPORATION: Cubic is an American public corporation providing diversified systems and services to the transportation and defense markets worldwide. Cubic Corporation is the parent company of three major divisions: Cubic Transportation Systems, Cubic Mission Solutions and Cubic Global Defense. cubic.com

 

July 9, 2019

Real Dog Box, a small startup that manufactures dog treats, was reaching capacity at its current location, and risked closing if they did not find a new warehouse by June 2019. Real Dog Box reached out to EDC asking for assistance in finding a new site under one roof that could accommodate the manufacturing company's joint operation for light industrial manufacturing and a commercial business.

EDC leveraged its connections and reached out to the City of San Diego’s Economic Development Department for more information and assistance on the specific zoning regulations that the company could use to locate a new site. Using a property selection database, EDC provided a list of potential locations that met Real Dog Box’s requirements for property characteristics and complied with the City’s industrial and commercial zoning regulations.

In May 2019, Real Dog Box was able to re-locate to a new 13,000 sq. ft. site in Barrio Logan within the City of San Diego’s Promise Zone. Thanks to its expansion efforts, Real Dog Box hired three new employees within the first few weeks of moving. In addition to providing a list of potential properties, EDC created a list business resources related to incentive support for the City of San Diego's Storefront Improvement Program, Business Incentive Program and Business Cooperation Program. EDC also provided additional information on San Diego Workforce Partnership’s programs for On-The-Job-Training, Customized Training and made introductions to CDC Small Business Financing.

“We were in a real pinch to find a new location for our manufacturing facility. EDC helped narrow down our search for properties that fit our needs and their contacts at the city's zoning office saved us A LOT of time. In our initial meeting with EDC, the team was able to recommend quite a few incentives offered by the city and state specific to our business model and needs that I had never heard of. I wish I'd known sooner what a great resource they are.” -Ruby Alexis Balaram, Founder and COO, Real Dog Box

ABOUT REAL DOG BOX: Real Dog Box was a small startup launched in 2016 transforming the way people feed their dogs. Real Dog Box offers a monthly box of nutritiously diverse dog treats and chews shipped across the U.S. real.dog