Release: San Diego Global Trade and Investment Strategy serves to drive recovery, resilience

World Trade Center San Diego updates 2015 regional plan amid pandemic

Today, alongside Congressman Scott Peters, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and key regional business leaders and in partnership with the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy at UC San Diego, World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) released its “Go Global 2025: San Diego’s Global Trade and Investment Initiative.” This regional strategic plan serves as the update to the inaugural strategy launched in 2015 and focuses on global engagement as an engine for recovery and resilience.

Available on web at goglobal2025.wtcsd.org, the strategic plan also includes an overview of San Diego’s economic and policy landscape, an interactive foreign investment map, perspectives from executives of global firms and more.

THE CASE FOR GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT

As the world collectively battles a pandemic and navigates resulting economic shutdowns, the global economy faces some of the most significant disruptions in a generation. Nations and cities have begun to look inward to focus on domestic needs including healthcare, education, infrastructure, equity and job creation. And yet, if this year has taught us anything, it is that we are a global society that is inextricably connected.

On the road to recovery, it is increasingly important for leaders at the metro level to articulate a compelling, data-driven vision of our place within the global economy and collaboratively execute a strategy that keeps us ahead of the curve.

“San Diego is filled with world-class innovation and smart people solving global problems. Now is the time for our big, binational City to show up on the world stage to help us reach our goals faster,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “As Mayor, I want to tell that story in a way that opens doors and enables more investment, jobs and opportunities for San Diegans and moves our city forward.”

While San Diego exports $22 billion in goods annually, the region is also a top 10 services exporter among U.S. metros. The region’s competitive advantage is in professional, scientific, and technical services, like research and development, cybersecurity, and engineering and software. These industries also capture the highest concentration of foreign direct investment (FDI) via mergers and acquisitions and venture capital investment. In fact, San Diego life sciences firms captured nearly three-quarters of the estimated $3 billion in foreign investment injected into the regional economy last year.

“As the “next normal” takes shape, San Diego needs to continue to prepare for where the economy is going by focusing on our most globally competitive industries. However, we need to be intentional about creating quality jobs at every skill level within those industries, and enabling San Diegans with the tools they need to fill those jobs,” said Nikia Clarke, Executive Director, WTCSD. “This will ensure that our businesses and innovators continue to export life-changing technology, and it will also make all our communities more resilient to future shocks.”

A STRATEGIC PLAN

In order to drive quality job growth through expanding foreign investment and exports, deepen economic ties to strategic markets, and enhance the region’s reputation to drive competitiveness, WTCSD proposes five key strategies for the San Diego region:

  1. Lead with the region’s most competitive industries. Most growth and job creation will come from innovation–based industries.
  1. Leverage binational assets to attract foreign investment. Capture investment along the entire value chain in priority industries.
  1. Prioritize market access for small businesses. Small businesses create the most jobs but face higher barriers to internationalization.
  1. Invest in critical infrastructure that enables global commerce. Modernize, maintain and expand service through international ports of entry.
  1. Enhance San Diego’s global identity and reputation for innovation. Deepen public-private partnerships on focused international activity.

“The digital paradigm shift we’ve seen is just one of the many ways the global marketplace—and in turn, our business—has been revolutionized by the pandemic. This is why a regional strategic plan like the one WTCSD has outlined matters: there are real businesses, real people, real jobs who require the resilience that global connection provides,” said Ken Behan, VP of Sales and Marketing, SYSTRAN.

“The Port of San Diego is a vital economic engine for the region with San Diego Bay and the surrounding waterfront at the heart of it all. While it has been a difficult and uncertain year for us and many of our bayfront businesses, there are so many legacy-making decisions ahead. This strategy presents an opportunity for us to align not only in word, but in action. The impacts could be transformational,” said Commissioner Jennifer LeSar, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners.

The report was produced by WTCSD, with support by the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy at UC San Diego and sponsored by Illumina. It was unveiled today at a community event alongside Congressman Scott Peters; San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria; Dr. Renee Bowen, Director, Center for Commerce and Diplomacy, UC San Diego; Garry Ridge, Chairman of the Board & CEO, WD-40; Kathleen Lynch, Vice President, Global Government Affairs & Public Policy, Illumina; Maritza Diaz, CEO, iTjuana; and Dr. Vivek Lall, Chief Executive, General Atomics Global.

ABOUT WTCSD
Founded in 1994 by the City of San Diego, Port of San Diego, and San Diego International Airport, World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) operates as an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC. WTCSD works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad. sandiegobusiness.org/wtcsd

Read the full strategy and report here

Study release: North County’s manufacturing industry poised for recovery, growth

A marketing initiative of EDC and the five cities along the 78 Corridor, Innovate78 serves to spotlight the businesses and innovators that make our region competitive.

Today, Innovate78 released a new report, The Future of Manufacturing in North County, which finds the industry will continue to prove its resiliency and positive economic impact in the region—even amid trends in automation, globalization and COVID-19 ramifications. According to the study, manufacturing accounts for $18 billion annually (or seven percent) of the area’s economy, and while many of the 813 local manufacturing firms were impacted by coronavirus, 58 percent of survey respondents are looking to increase their space.  

The study analyzes trends in employment, which is concentrated in high-value goods like computer and electronic product manufacturing. This sub-industry specifically accounts for nearly one-third of all manufacturing jobs in North County, with 12,746 employees of the total 40,151 jobs reported in the study. This number is expected to grow nearly six percent in the next five years—continuing to position manufacturing as a key driver of North County’s economy.  

Flux Power, a company represented in the study that manufactures advanced lithium-ion battery for industrial and commercial equipment, increased both their staff and revenue in 2020 amid the pandemic. With more than 100 employees, the Vista-based company is now looking to increase both its production and nonproduction space within the region.  

“The need to be efficient, safe and environmentally-conscious is high, especially now, as businesses plan for post-COVID-19 recovery,” said Chuck Scheiwe, chief financial officer of Flux Power. “Manufacturing products that empower others to improve their day-to-day efficiencies will be critical in our industry and region’s future growth, and we’re proud to be part of it.”  

The study reports that during COVID-19, North County manufacturing companies were undoubtedly impacted by the pandemic, with 43 percent of respondents reporting a loss of revenue in 2020. Looking at net growth, however, there was a reported one percent increase in manufacturing jobs, with 186 manufacturing jobs lost and 956 gained as noted by respondents. Most job losses were in medical manufacturing, while most job gains were in machinery manufacturing.  

One company that reported job gains is Quik-Pak, an Escondido based computer and electronic manufacturing company. In addition to anticipating upscaling facilities in the future, during COVID-19 Quik-Pak hired staff and reported increased revenue.  

“The strength of the manufacturing industry in North County San Diego is one of the reasons we wanted to expand here,” said Rosie Medina, vice president sales and marketing of Quik-Pak. “The talent pool is rich, and there is space to grow. We appreciate that not every region has both of these critical components that are needed for our industry to thrive.”    

Automation, globalization and COVID-19 are obvious pressures affecting North County’s manufacturing industry. However, as Quik-Pak and Flux Power note, the need for innovation and talent remain strong. There are 9,804 manufacturing jobs with a higher-than-average risk of automation—that’s nearly 24 percent of all North County manufacturing jobs. Investment in upskilling and re-training will be needed to help move these workers into other quality jobs over time.  

From craft beer to surfboards, to life-changing medical devices and technology services, manufacturing has long been a pillar of the region’s economy, with impacts spanning beyond our community,” said Jordan Latchford, research manager of San Diego Regional EDC, the study author and managing entity of Innovate78. “This study confirms the manufacturing industry in North County is poised for a strong recovery, and will remain a significant economic driver for the San Diego region.”  

read the full report

LEARN MORE ABOUT SAN DIEGO’S MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY

You might also like to read:

Study release: One percent shift in procurement could mean thousands of jobs for San Diegans

EDC study quantifies the impact of increased local procurement

Today, as part of a commitment to inclusive economic recovery, EDC released a study and set of recommendations for large employers to support small businesses by buying local. “Anchor Institutions: Leveraging Big Buyers for Small Business“ analyzes the spend of more than a dozen local anchors and demonstrates the impact of increased local procurement on quality job creation.

Anchor institutions are defined as universities, hospitals, local government agencies, the U.S. Navy and other large employers that are physically bound to the region.

In San Diego, anchors represent eight of the region’s 10 largest employers—providing more than 72,000 jobs. They purchase tens of billions of dollars in goods and services every year, and yet, local anchors send about one-quarter of all procurement spend outside the region.

The web-based study—procurelocal.inclusivesd.org—includes a summary of local spending, a cluster map of anchor institutions in the region, estimated economic impact from increased local spending, and a set of recommendations for growing quality jobs across San Diego through procurement.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted people of color and spurred the closure of one-in-three small businesses across San Diego. Local small businesses employ nearly 60 percent of the total workforce, which is double the national average, and are responsible for nearly half of all job growth in the last five years. Despite their critical importance to the region’s economy, many small businesses report struggling to attract customers and generate new sales.

“Small business resiliency will be key in getting this recovery right. This report further demonstrates the importance of connecting our region’s small and diverse businesses to large, institutional buyers,” said Eduardo Velasquez, EDC Research Director. “This will mean more quality jobs for San Diegans, more thriving businesses and a stronger regional economy.”

KEY FINDINGS

  • Collectively, 14 anchors surveyed spend more than $9.9 billion each year on a range of goods and services, and only about $247 million of this reported spend can be traced back to San Diego businesses. Further, only a small proportion of this spend is reaching small (14 percent) and minority-owned or diverse businesses (11 percent).
  • Small shifts in procurement can mean big economic impact:
    • If the 14 anchors surveyed increased local construction spending by just one percent, it would put around $32 million into local construction businesses, adding $466 million to the local economy and helping create nearly 4,500 jobs in the region.
    • The same one percent increase in professional services (e.g. legal assistance) spending would pump nearly $12 million into local suppliers, resulting in an economic impact of nearly $56 million and support another 800 jobs.
    • The majority of these new jobs would be in industries with a higher-than-average concentration of quality jobs (those that pay middle-income wages).

“As a large employer that works with many diverse suppliers to meet our mission of delivering clean, safe and reliable energy, SDG&E understands the value small businesses bring to the regional economy,” said Christy Ihrig, vice president of operations support, SDG&E, anchor event and study sponsor. “When they thrive, our region thrives. To support economic recovery from the pandemic, we are more committed than ever to grow our supplier diversity program and encourage other local employers to do the same.”

Beyond impacts to suppliers and the regional economy at large, anchor institutions that buy from local, small, diverse businesses also stand to benefit. Specifically, several local anchors note that setting goals for greater procurement from these suppliers has resulted in greater customer service, supply chain diversity and resiliency, and stronger brand equity in the communities they serve.

“‘Shop local’ is about more than individuals; it means big business and organizations choosing to support their neighbors by buying in their communities. The City of San Diego takes pride in its efforts to work with local companies, is seeking increased opportunities to buy local and implores other local organizations to follow suit. Together, this is how we ensure a more equitable and inclusive San Diego,” said Mayor Todd Gloria, City of San Diego, study sponsor.

A CALL TO ACTION

To maintain our regional competitiveness, we need to create 50,000 quality jobs in small businesses by 2030, as outlined in EDC’s inclusive growth strategy. To do that, it’s imperative we help San Diego’s small and diverse businesses recover and thrive.

San Diego needs its largest employers (and our largest buyers) to commit to redirecting their procurement to local, small, and diverse businesses. To do this we must:

  1. understand individual institutions’ existing efforts;
  1. identify spend areas with high potential for inclusive, local sourcing; and
  1. define and track metrics that ultimately drive bidding processes.

We invite large firms to join San Diego Regional EDC’s Anchor Collaborative and help us shape and achieve this goal—join us here.

The report was unveiled today at the first in a series of Town Hall events. Watch a recording of the event here. Thank you to the study sponsors: SDG&E, City of San Diego, Civic Community Ventures, and the University of San Diego School of Business.

procurelocal.inclusivesd.org

Learn more about EDC’s inclusive growth goals

Release: EDC study finds one in four local firms engaged in AI

EDC study quantifies impact of artificial intelligence, machine learning

San Diego industries that are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) support an estimated 175,680 jobs and $33.3 billion in annual gross regional product, according to a study released today by San Diego Regional EDC. Underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton, “Measuring the Future: AI and San Diego’s Economy” is the first in a series of reports that will identify key industries and clusters where AI and machine learning (ML) have been implemented, and ultimately quantify the impacts of these technologies on San Diego’s regional economy.

The study—available at SanDiegoAI.org—includes a historic timeline, cluster map, and cross-references AI patent language with job postings to anticipate the future impacts of AI and ML on the job market.

AI and ML technologies have swiftly infiltrated most every facet of our lives as computing power and speed increase. Self-driving cars, algorithmic trading, customer experience bots and AI assistants like Siri and Alexa have become commonplace tools used by people at home and at work.

“The proliferation of AI and ML technologies promises to be a transformative force for businesses worldwide—and like in many innovative industries—San Diego is at the forefront. With this report, the EDC Research Bureau helps paint a picture of the impact of AI, proving its potential to grow jobs and even help narrow gender and racial wage gaps,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO, San Diego Regional EDC.

Contrary to popular belief and despite current economic conditions, three in five AI developers (62 percent) expect to see the number of employees specifically engaged in AI-related work grow over the next 12 months. This means locally based AI talent could help meet growing demand across the U.S. as employers try to hire workers in earnest that possess skills readily available from San Diego AI. Notably, job postings data in Sun Belt metros like San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Tampa and Miami show that employers are struggling to fill positions requiring facial and speech recognition skills—key specializations of AI developers in San Diego. Meanwhile, predictive and forecasting AI could help alleviate hiring difficulties among firms in major economic and financial centers, including New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. More than eight in 10 AI developers in San Diego specialize in machine or deep learning technologies, a fundamental building block for predictive AI.

Large local companies in San Diego like Booz Allen Hamilton, Northrop Grumman Corporation, ResMed and growing startups and small businesses like Lytx, Lockton, Traits AI and Semantic AI are helping to lead the charge in AI—enabling people and firms to operate more quickly and efficiently. Specifically, the use of AI or ML technologies largely supports four areas of firm activity: the development of new products and services, improved efficiency and productivity, reduced costs and an increase in business revenues.

“Booz Allen Hamilton is at the forefront of AI adoption, development and implementation, and we believe that San Diego’s companies can leverage this technology to meet their missions, attract talent and fuel economic activity,” said Joe Rohner, a Booz Allen director and leader in the firm’s analytics practice and AI services business. “We are energized that EDC’s report findings show local respondents see AI as truly helping the San Diego economy by creating more jobs—not eliminating them. People are essential to the ethical application of AI, and this technology will enable organizations and their workforce to increase productivity, quality and efficiency—in San Diego and globally.”

Despite AI’s productivity-boosting, job-creating power, a number of challenges remain. Top of mind for most local employers is the inability to source qualified talent. However, COVID-19 and the subsequent increase in remote work has expanded the talent pool for San Diego County’s AI and ML employers.

“Rapidly developing machine learning/artificial intelligence technology that enhances the work our men and women in uniform do every day is critical to the future of defense. Northrop Grumman is well positioned to continue to grow the local talent pipeline through our San Diego-based education programs so businesses in our community have the right skill sets available to support this important and rapidly evolving field,” said Alfredo Ramirez, Vice President of Northrop Grumman’s San Diego Autonomous Design Center of Excellence.

OTHER KEY FINDINGS

  • Average salary in AI/ML-concentrated industries is $127,960—3.9 percent above the national average for these industries and more than 70 percent above San Diego’s average worker salary.
  • For every 1,000 jobs gained in this cluster, another 1,400 jobs are created in other industries.
  • Survey proves AI adoption is creating job opportunities in the region:
    • 66 percent of firms agreed that the use of AI and ML has created new job opportunities
    • 54 percent of firms agree that AI and ML are increasing the need for more workers at their business
  • 31 percent of jobs in AI-concentrated fields require only a high school diploma and pay an average of $22.42 per hour
  • The boost to productivity and efficiency from AI and ML should lift wages in traditional or population-serving industries, which employ a larger share of women and non-white workers than other sectors, and could therefore potentially reduce gender and racial wage gaps as these technologies are adopted.

The report was produced by San Diego Regional EDC, underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton, and sponsored by Northrop Grumman Corporation, ResMed, Lytx and Lockton.

Read the full study at SanDiegoAI.org

For more research from EDC, click here.

EDC, City of SD release study on creative economy

First-of-its-kind study highlights impact on San Diego economy, including $11B generated and more than 100K employed

Of note, data collected is pre-COVID from 2019.

In order to better understand the impact on our communities, EDC and the City of San Diego have released the first comprehensive study analyzing the intersection between San Diego’s creative industries and the local economy.

Together with the City’s Commission for Arts and Culture and the Economic Development Department, EDC authored the 2020 Creative Economy Study to examine the economic impact creative industries and their workers have on the region.

“San Diego’s creative industries have an important ripple effect in the broader economy. Every job in the creative industry supports another 1.1 jobs,” said Christina Bibler, Director of the City’s Economic Development Department. “This means that creative industries are a powerful component in the region, with many industries employing creative workers.” 

The creative economy is defined as a sector made up of non-profit and for-profit businesses and individuals who produce cultural, artistic and design goods or services and intellectual property. In San Diego, the creative economy employs more than 107,000 people at nearly 7,400 creative firms and organizations and generates more than $11 billion annually.

“To grow San Diego’s creative economy, we first need to understand it. This report is the starting point to understanding the space and trends over time,” said Jonathon Glus, Executive Director of the Commission for Arts and Culture. “Investing in creative industries can help advance San Diego as a creative city and it’s the ideal platform for cross-sector collaboration and innovation.” 

The study measured the size of the creative economy and identified characteristics unique to San Diego that could provide future economic growth potential. The study spanned 71 industries and 77 unique occupations.

Study findings include:

  • 59% of the creative economy in San Diego is for-profit, 34% nonprofit and others (including government employers and independent contractors).
  • The majority of creative firms and organizations are small, with 19 or fewer employees.
  • 41% of creative industry employers hire a large number of contractors.
  • The median annual income for creative occupations is $75,000.

“With a 23% decline in jobs, the arts have been hit even harder by the pandemic than most sectors of our economy,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “As San Diego recovers, it is imperative we continue to work with our arts and cultural leaders to create a more diverse and resilient arts industry to weather future economic downturns—for the sake of the vibrancy of our communities and our culture.” 

Completed in May 2020, the study utilizes 2019 information. The data was collected pre-COVID-19 and prior to the implementation of Assembly Bill 5 Worker status: Employee and Independent Contractors (AB 5).

As of August 2020, the economic impact of job loss in San Diego’s creative industries due to COVID-19 is estimated to be a decline of $2.1 billion. 

READ THE REPORT

You also might like:

For more COVID-19 recovery resources and information, please visit our COVID-19 resource page.

Small business export center instituted at World Trade Center San Diego

Partnership with Small Business Development Center aimed to support San Diego’s small businesses in going global

San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has contracted with World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) in a unique partnership that will bring an Export Specialty Center to the region, housed at WTCSD. Announced today, the dedicated center will focus on small business export advising and training that serves to increase the number of export-ready firms in the region.

Amidst a pandemic-induced economic crisis, rapid shifts in global and regional supply chains, and changes to the country’s trading relationship with major world powers, it is critical that home-grown businesses are equipped with tools to compete in the global marketplace.

“The partnership with SBDC allows our team to build upon the export support that we’ve delivered for more than five years through our MetroConnect program. While MetroConnect serves a competitively-selected cohort of export-ready companies each year, the SBDC work will really focus on getting small businesses to a point where they are positioned for international growth, which we know will grow jobs, increase revenues and improve resiliency here at home,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director, WTCSD.

Launched in 2014 as an affiliate of San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC), WTCSD will receive additional funding from SBDC to expand its export portfolio of small businesses, hire a new full-time employee, and tap into SBDC’s diverse network to funnel companies into its export accelerator program MetroConnect.

“By formalizing this partnership with WTCSD, the SBDC network now has a dedicated center focusing on export issues and advising here in San Diego and Imperial County. Exporting makes companies stronger and more resilient—especially important amid an economic downturn spurred by COVID-19,” said Daniel Fitzgerald, Associate Regional Director, SBDC.

The contract will run from October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021. WTCSD has hired coordinator Ajogwu (Jeff) Adegbe to help lead these efforts.

About WTCSD
World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) operates as an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC. WTCSD works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad. sandiegobusiness.org/wtcsd

About SBDC
The San Diego and Imperial SBDC, hosted by Southwestern Community College, is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz). It provides business advising on how to start, manage and grow a business, with most workshops and training at no cost to small business owners to provide economic impact for our region. The SBDC network includes eight service partners in San Diego County and one in Imperial County hosted by the Imperial Regional Alliance. San Diego County locations include: North San Diego SBDC (MiraCosta College), East San Diego SBDC (East County EDC), South San Diego SBDC (Southwestern College), the Brink SBDC (University of San Diego), Export Trade SBDC (WTCSD), Connect SBDC, Alliance SBDC (Asian Business Association) and International Rescue Committee SBDC. Services are provided in English, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Swahili, Dari, Vietnamese, Mandarin and others. sdivsbdc.org

Together with CMTC, EDC assists CA manufacturers impacted by COVID-19

CARES Act funding solidifies partnership with EDC, CMTC

EDC is pleased to announce a partnership with CMTC’s California’s Manufacturing Network to provide direct support to San Diego’s small and mid-size manufacturers negatively impacted by COVID-19.

“Through our partnership with CMTC, EDC is proactively supporting San Diego’s manufacturing industry. From defense and aerospace to craft beer and surfboards, regional manufacturers provide more than 108,000 jobs across more than 3,100 companies. Our team is making sure those impacted by COVID-19 access local and state resources to help them stabilize, and improve productivity and profitability when and where they can,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO, EDC.

With the pandemic dramatically redefining the landscape for California manufacturers, EDC will work with California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) and other members of the Network to help businesses survive, recover, and thrive as they navigate through the challenges brought on by the crisis.

EDC is providing resources and services at no cost to businesses such as: assistance with supply chain optimization, sourcing and logistics, talent recruitment and development, market diversification and exporting, and more. The goal is to meet with small- and mid-size manufacturers throughout the region to identify and understand their specific needs, challenges, and opportunities, and provide them with assistance for recovery and growth.

Funding from the CARES Act Stimulus Package 2020 is supporting this effort to reach manufacturing companies who are facing challenges in the current economic climate.

“Through our partnership with EDC, we’re reaching out to manufacturers in central and northern San Diego offering assistance to address their critical business challenges. Our partnership is focused on preserving the strong manufacturing base in the region during this unprecedented economic crisis,” said Jim Watson, president and CEO, CMTC.

EDC is offering a manufacturers a free webinar on October 1, kicking off National Manufacturing Month. Details and registration here.

Click here for more resources for manufacturers

About CMTC and California’s Manufacturing Network (CMN)

Established in 1992, CMTC is a private non-profit corporation that provides consulting services to small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) throughout the state of California. CMTC operates as part of a National Network through a cooperative agreement between the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the Department of Commerce for the State of California. In 2016, CMTC formed California’s Manufacturing Network (CMN) to expand capabilities and capacity to efficiently serve more manufacturers in California. This Network delivers services that address the regional challenges driven by a diverse manufacturing community. The Network is a collaboration of more than 25 partners focused on serving SMMs in rural and urban areas statewide. CMN has increased the number of SMMs served to more than 1,300 companies annually, which adds significant economic impact for manufacturers and the public good of the State of California.

This Outreach Program is funded by the CARES Act Stimulus Package 2020 – and is managed by CMTC – California’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center.  For more information visit cmtc.com

About the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Funding

COVID-19 recovery and resilience services funding is made possible by the NIST MEP National Emergency Assistance Program through funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Pub.L. 116–136).

World Trade Center San Diego announces MetroConnect V cohort

World Trade Center San Diego’s Flagship Export Program

San Diego – San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego unveiled the 15 companies selected to participate in MetroConnect V, the fifth iteration of WTC San Diego’s international sales accelerator program, underwritten by Procopio and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The program is designed to help local companies jump start and scale their global growth.

“One of San Diego’s biggest exports is the innovation and ingenuity of our local companies and this business accelerator helps fuel the entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” Mayor Faulconer said. “Programs like MetroConnect strengthen our local economy by creating opportunities for our small businesses to build greater networks, employ more San Diegans and further invest in our region.”

Now in its fifth program-year, WTC San Diego has adapted MetroConnect V to address the unique circumstances brought on by COVID-19. Routine video conferencing, an enhanced export education program, and virtual workshops with program partners are among the changes implemented prior to the virtual launch.  MetroConnect continues to equip small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) with a suite of financial and programmatic resources in their efforts to bring their products and services to global markets.

More About the Program

The MetroConnect program is highly competitive, with just 15 companies selected based on a variety of criteria, including product potential, interest in new markets, assessed impact of program funds and resources, current international traction, and more. Applicant companies are assessed by a panel of judges, which include representatives from Qualcomm Ventures, Connect w/ San Diego Venture Group, Biocom, the U.S. Commercial Service, CMTC, Viasat, Mitsubishi Electric, Procopio, San Diego State University, Tech San Diego, UC San Diego, San Diego Regional EDC, WTC San Diego, and the previous year’s program winner.

The MetroConnect program resources include:

  • $5,000 in matching grants to cover the costs associated with international expansion, made possible by co-underwriters JPMorgan Chase and Procopio, and with additional funds and in–kind services from more than a dozen sponsor companies
  • One year of complimentary access to SYSTRAN’s premium enterprise machine translation platform
  • Workshops (7) addressing export compliance, localized marketing strategies, and more, taught by private sector experts from the San Diego business community
  • Dedicated WTC San Diego staff manager to support company participants in deploying overseas strategies during the grant period
  • Reduced airfare on international flights out of San Diego International Airport with American Airlines, British Airways, and Japan Airlines
  • Free consultations with legal, tax, and consulting partners
  • Access to a mentor network consisting of trade experts at large and mid-sized San Diego firms and country representatives at the Japan External Trade Organization and the United Kingdom Government Office in San Diego
  • Consideration to compete for an additional $25,000 during the MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest

“San Diego’s continued economic growth is vital to the region’s long-term health and prosperity,” said Aaron Ryan, Executive Director and San Diego Region Manager of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries practice. “MetroConnect will enable some of San Diego’s brightest companies to grow internationally, and help them successfully navigate the complexities of doing business abroad. JPMorgan Chase is proud to support this impact on the San Diego economy.”

Since the program’s debut in 2015, 65 MetroConnect alumni have collectively generated $85 million in new export sales, signed 500 new contracts, added 269 new jobs to the region, set up 18 new overseas facilities and seen five successful company exits. Past participants include Coronado Brewing, Cypher Genomics (acquired by Human Longevity Inc.), Dr. Bronner’s, Planck Aerosystems, Scientist.com and many more. From community-owned health and genomic data platform LunaPBC, to unmanned aerial systems component manufacturer Mayan Robotics, to California’s very first employee-owned brewery Modern Times, the 2020 MetroConnect companies represent a diverse cross section of San Diego’s innovation economy.

“The MetroConnect program’s support of innovative, high-growth SMEs aligns with the priorities of our firm,” said Jim Perkins, COO and Chief Compliance Officer of program co-underwriter Procopio. “We are thrilled to support WTC San Diego in this endeavor and are looking forward to lending our knowledge and expertise to the new cohort of MetroConnect companies.”

Why MetroConnect Matters Now More Than Ever

Expanding a customer base into multiple markets creates resiliency. That has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic as global markets have been affected, then subsequently recovered at varying rates. Additionally, as a port city, trade has always played a big role in San Diego’s economy and the success of the businesses that call this city home. In 2018 alone, San Diego exported more than $20 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. Plus, 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.

One member of the current cohort has already experienced the benefits of taking part in a program like MetroConnect. White Labs’ yeast serves as a key ingredient in beer, which has made it a pillar of San Diego’s craft brewing industry for the last 25 years. International expansion has always been an important part of White Labs’ business, and it applied to be part of the MetroConnect V cohort to expand and improve its international procedures, policies, and marketing to continue to expand globally.

MetroConnect put White Labs in contact with JAS Forwarding. JAS was able to assist White Labs by reviewing its import/export procedures. This consultancy resulted in White Labs adapting their documentation systems to decrease customs clearance holds in Australia.

JoAnne Carilli-Stevenson, Head of Business Development for White Labs, told the MetroConnect team that this change has “resulted in improved service to customers, and decreased re-shipments required due to custom delays. At a time when we are working hard to balance supply and demand during crisis, this change in international procedure is significant for us.”

“Amidst a global health and economic crisis, new agreements and ongoing negotiations with key trading partners, and the rapid evolution of global supply chains, it is more important than ever to give local SMEs an edge in the global marketplace by equipping them with the tools to be successful,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director of World Trade Center San Diego. “Financial assistance, export education, preferred access to ancillary export services, and connectivity to an international network of partners and mentors – all of these were requests emanating from the small and medium-sized companies this program serves. With 98 percent of San Diego’s economy comprised of such businesses, it is critical that we are responsive to their needs.”

See the full list of MetroConnect V companies here.

About World Trade Center San Diego
World Trade Center San Diego operates as an affiliate of San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. WTC San Diego works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad. sandiegobusiness.org/wtcsd

###

San Diego Regional EDC welcomes Julian Parra as new board chair

EDC works toward the “right recovery” with new chair leading the way

As San Diego works to recover from a global pandemic and faces systemic race and equity issues that plague all metropolitan economies, EDC continues to drive an inclusive growth and recovery strategy as outgoing Board Chair Janice Brown passes the gavel to Julian Parra.

“While we are all facing many challenges right now, we also see opportunity. I look forward to working with EDC’s team to ensure that all San Diegan’s have access to opportunities so that we can position our region for the right recovery.” said Julian Parra, Region Executive, at Bank of America.

The right recovery is rooted in our inclusive growth work and focuses on ensuring we double down on the building blocks that make for a strong economy by creating skilled talent, economically-stabilizing jobs, and thriving households.

“There is nobody I trust more than Julian to continue this work in a time that San Diego needs it most,“ said outgoing Chair Janice Brown, founder of Brown Law Group, who spearheaded the inclusive growth initiative during her time as chair, “I believe in how EDC’s work has evolved, and will continue to support this organization and team.”

As chair, Parra is supported by four officers:

  • Vice Chair, Rob Douglas, President and COO, ResMed
  • Vice Chair, Jennie Brooks, Senior Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Treasurer, Phil Blair, President and CEO at Manpower San Diego
  • Secretary, Tom Seidler, SVP Community & Military Affairs, San Diego Padres

Along with the election of a new chair, EDC’s board also elected three new board members:

  • Tonya Cross, Senior Vice President People & Corporate Operations at Lytx Inc
  • Heather Ace, Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Qualcomm Inc
  • Sandra McDonough, Partner at Paul Plevin Sullivan and Connaughton LLP

EDC is a membership-based non-profit organization that mobilizes government and civic leaders around an inclusive economic development strategy in order to connect data to decision making, maximize regional prosperity, enhance global competitiveness and position San Diego effectively for investment and talent. The organization’s nearly 200 investors range from small businesses like Brown Law Group, to the region’s largest employers like Qualcomm and SDG&E, to the leading anchor institutions such as universities and hospitals.

THE RIGHT RECOVERY

Over the last two decades, San Diego’s economy has more than doubled in size. Meanwhile, the typical household has seen its income increase at roughly half that rate. The impacts of COVID-19 have likely exasperated income inequities, disproportionately affecting the parts of the community historically disconnected from opportunities.

The right recovery means putting systems into place that ensure that as we rebuild our economy, we are doing so in a thoughtful and resilient way, that ensures all San Diegans can benefit from our region’s future growth.

“I am the first one to acknowledge that EDC has not always been focused on inclusive strategies. When Janice became chair, we were just beginning to understand how San Diego – as a region – has missed out on economic opportunity by creating racial disparities. We have an opportunity to ensure that we are pivoting programming and putting systems into place so we do not widen racial and economic inequities as our region recovers.  Nobody understands these responsibilities more than Julian,” said Mark Cafferty, EDC’s president & CEO.

To address these inequities, EDC has pivoted and launched programming aligning with the three pillars: skilled talent, economically-stabilizing jobs and thriving households. With the majority of San Diegans employed by small and medium size businesses (SMBs), San Diego has set a goal to create 50K economically-stabilizing jobs by 2030. To help achieve that goal, EDC programs such as MetroConnect and Advancing San Diego will continue in a virtual capacity, providing export assistance and paid internship programs, respectively.

We hope you’ll join us as we work to create a more equitable and prosperous San Diego, for all who live here.

Applications now open: Advancing San Diego to provide 100 small companies & startups with fully-funded internships for STEM students

Employers select seven ‘Preferred Providers’ to supply qualified software engineering talent for first internship cohort

San Diego – As a way to broaden and diversify San Diego’s talent pipeline, Advancing San Diego – a program led by San Diego Regional EDC – will provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully-funded internships.  Advancing San Diego internships are available to companies with fewer than 100 employees looking for better access to STEM talent to develop inclusive opportunities for all students. Companies can apply here.

“If we want to grow our regional economy, we must remove barriers that small companies face in accessing qualified workers,” said Nikia Clarke, vice president of economic development at San Diego Regional EDC. “Today, 73% of San Diego’s job growth is going to come from small businesses, yet our research has shown that many of these companies don’t have the time or money to invest in recruiting skilled-talent. We’ve flipped the traditional workforce development model on its head:  employers tell us the skills they need, we identify the educational programs – Preferred Providers – that do the best job providing those skills , and then we use our talent development fund to create pathways for San Diegans into quality jobs in the companies that need them most.”

The Advancing San Diego program is helping the region achieve its inclusive growth goals. To ensure future competitiveness, San Diego must double the production of local workers with in-demand degrees or credentials by 2030. Achieving this goal requires collaboration between public and private sectors – educators and employers – as well as a focus on equity and inclusion. Better alignment of industry and education systems means that institutions can more effectively prepare San Diegans from all backgrounds for high-demand jobs and employers can establish and expand recruitment relationships with locally-serving institutions.

In its first round of internships, Advancing San Diego will place software engineering talent who will soon be followed by cohorts of interns with backgrounds in general engineering, and marketing/operations.

Applying for Advancing San Diego: How it works

Advancing San Diego will fully subsidize the cost of interns for more than 100 small companies in San Diego, with priority for companies in STEM industries that are poised for high growth in coming years. Once a company certifies it meets eligibility requirements, the company will ‘apply’ to Advancing San Diego.

Advancing San Diego has also hired a staffing partner that will coordinate interviews, scheduling, and placement, and who will serve as a resource for the interns throughout their duration of the internship.

In addition to providing each intern with a wage of $16.50 an hour, each intern will be eligible for up to $500 to be used on miscellaneous expenses including transportation to the internship site, wardrobe, training services and more.


As part of the first software engineering cohort, Advancing San Diego interns will be sourced from Preferred Providers – programs recognized by employers for providing the skills and training necessary for students to pursue jobs or internships in software engineering positions. Students from Preferred Provider programs will come from diverse backgrounds and will be at varying stages of their education journey. Each Preferred Provider was evaluated against a skills-based criteria for entry-level software engineers that was created by employers.

Software Engineering Preferred Providers:

  1. CSU San Marcos – Computer Science Department
  2. Mesa College – Computer and Information Science Department
  3. MiraCosta College – Computer Science Department
  4. San Diego Code School – Full Stack JS Apprenticeship Program
  5. San Diego State University – Computer Science Department
  6. UC San Diego – Jacobs School of Engineering
  7. UC San Diego Extension

Advancing San Diego will facilitate the placement of students from these programs into jobs or internships with selected companies.

Understanding Advancing San Diego

In 2019, San Diego was one of five cities to receive a $3 million investment as part of JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities Challenge, an initiative to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity across the U.S.

“JPMorgan Chase firmly believes in San Diego’s legacy of collaboration. That’s why we’ve invested in Advancing San Diego knowing that our community partners will work closely together with small businesses and higher education to ensure San Diego’s future competitiveness,” said Aaron Ryan, San Diego regional leader for middle market banking at JPMorgan Chase. “By developing advanced workforce skills and providing pathways to the jobs of the future, San Diego’s brightest citizens and businesses will be equipped for success for years to come.”

Advancing San Diego is a collaborative effort to address skilled talent shortages and increase diversity in high-growth, high demand jobs. This effort aligns economic development, workforce development, educational systems and industry around a set of common goals: increase completions of degrees and credentials for high-demand jobs and provide pathways to placements in those jobs for San Diegans. Advancing San Diego collects and communicates employer’s talent needs, identifies education programs providing top-quality training and covers the cost of internships for students of those programs in small companies.

To learn more about Advancing San Diego, visit advancingSD.org.
To apply to host a fully-funded software engineering intern, apply here.

About San Diego Regional EDC

San Diego Regional EDC mobilizes business, government and civic leaders around an inclusive economic development strategy in order to connect data to decision making, maximize regional prosperity, enhance global competitiveness, and position San Diego effectively for investment and talent. sandiegobusiness.org

###

Media Contact
Sarah Lubeck, San Diego Regional EDC
sl@sandiegobusiness.org | 619.361.1437

Download a copy of the release