NEW: San Diego Business Hub takes small businesses online, boosts resilience

Public-private partnership offering subsidized digital tools for small, diverse businesses

Today, in partnership with local tech company GoSite, EDC launched the San Diego Business Hub, which in its first phase will offer up to 100 small, service-based businesses a full suite of digital tools at no cost. Made possible by grants from The San Diego Foundation and Union Bank, SDbizhub.com is accepting applications from businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic—women, minorities, veterans and other economically under-resourced groups.

The pandemic accelerated the digital transformation of companies of all sizes and industries by as much as five years in a 12-month period, with many struggling to keep up. Since the start of 2020, the region has seen nearly 40 percent of its small businesses close. Many of these closures can be attributed to businesses’ inability to quickly pivot online, depriving them of access to customers and key markets.

We also know those hardest hit by the pandemic have been communities of color who are being left further behind in San Diego’s economic recovery.

The proof is in the numbers:

  • Despite making up just 30 percent of the local population, Hispanic and Latinx communities accounted for well over half of all regional COVID-19 cases and two in five related deaths.
  • Additionally, people of color are overrepresented in local industries that were hardest hit during the pandemic (e.g. Hispanics make up 39.8 percent of Hospitality staff and 41.8 percent of Retail staff). As a result, unemployment and loss of income have been concentrated within Black and Brown communities.

The cohort of 100 service-based businesses (e.g. personal care services, transportation, food service, home repair, small contractors, etc.) will receive GoSite’s web-based tools—which payment and invoicing, bookings, review management, customer communications, template websites and more—free of charge for one year.

Thoughts from local leaders:

“Small businesses employ the majority of San Diegans, and it’s essential we invest in their growth, recovery and resiliency if we are going to get this recovery right. This partnership with GoSite allows us to do just that: Provide the digital tools small businesses need to weather future economic downturns,” said Nikia Clarke, Vice President of Economic Development, EDC.

“This partnership is a prime example of how San Diego public, private and civic sectors rally together to solve hard problems. Access to these digital tools will help our region achieve a more equitable recovery and help small businesses struggling today be more resilient as San Diego gets back on track and back to work,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

“Small businesses face great challenges, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. GoSite’s mission is to help small businesses adapt and succeed, with technology in hand for them to easily communicate with customers, manage online bookings, accept online payments, generate invoices and drive reviews—all in one place,” said Alex Goode, CEO of GoSite. “GoSite is proud to partner with EDC to create the SD Biz Hub and deliver innovative technology resources to San Diego, the place we call headquarters and home.”

“To build long-term economic resilience, San Diego’s small businesses must have resources to sustain their connections to customers and markets,”  shared Mark Stuart, President & CEO of The San Diego Foundation. “This is an inspiring example of government, philanthropy and nonprofit sectors coming together to help the small businesses in our neighborhoods survive, recover and grow.”

FAQ and applications are now live, and will remain open until the cohort is full.

SDbizhub.com

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

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).

EDDY Pump Corporation wins $35K in additional MetroConnect funding

Eddy Pump wins metroconnect grand prize

World Trade Center San Diego and 200+ live audience award the MetroConnect grand prize

World Trade Center San Diego named EDDY Pump Corporation, a global pump and dredge equipment manufacturer, as the MetroConnect program grand prize winner. Made possible through a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co., the $35,000 award will be used to excel its technology and services to additional international markets.

EDDY Pump Corporation is a quintessential example of a San Diego defense company taking their products global,” said Nikia Clarke, Ph.D., Executive Director of World Trade Center San Diego.The results from this year’s cohort are impressive. From opening new offices in the Japan to inking multi-million dollar deals throughout Latin America, the participating MetroConnect companies are collectively strengthening the San Diego region’s economy.

During the 12-month program, companies in MetroConnect Year 4 collectively generated a net increase of $69.6 million in exports sales, signed 369 international contracts and opened 10 new facilities overseas. Together, the 20 participants also created more than 100 jobs in San Diego – evidence that exporting supports the increase of jobs locally.

MetroConnect is an export assistance program managed by World Trade Center San Diego, an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC. Each year, the participating cohort vies for a chance to win the grand prize—$35,000 to aid in their international market expansion plans. For the fourth year of MetroConnect, 20 export-ready companies were selected and equipped with a slew of financial and programmatic resources to assist in their plans to expand internationally.

With proposed tariffs, trade wars and the looming Brexit deadline, the national rhetoric around global trade has shifted. However, according to a recent article from The Brookings Institution, exporting or going global offers firms the opportunity to diversify markets, grow local regional economies and add more well-paying jobs. Programs such as MetroConnect help expand the pipeline of export-ready firms.

The four finalists from this year’s 20-company cohort were Bitchin’ Sauce, EDDY Pump, LRAD Corporation and Scientist.com. The grand prize winning company was selected based on a 50-50 split, weighing the popular vote from a live audience of 200-plus international business professionals and community leaders and selection from a judging panel comprised of representatives from Qualcomm Ventures, City of San Diego Economic Development Department and last year’s MetroConnect winner, Cure Match.

“The MetroConnect program has been a game-changer, allowing us to increase our international exports by $5 million from the previous year and enter into five key new countries,” said Ben Weinrib, CEO & Managing Partner at EDDY Pump Corporation. “In the years that follow, we are looking to close a multi-million dollar per year contract with some of the largest companies in Canada as well as selling our technology to friendly foreign militaries.” 

“Since 2015, Chase has supported the MetroConnect program helping San Diego businesses realize their potential to scale and successfully navigate complex global markets,” said Aaron Ryan, Executive Director for San Diego Middle Market Banking at JPMorgan Chase. “San Diego is one of the best places for new business and innovation, and we are very excited to help businesses compete locally and to be able to grow globally.”

The MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest was hosted at The Alexandria on November 13, with keynote remarks by Barbara White, CFO at Taylor Guitars and the winner announced by Bud Colligan, senior advisor for international affairs and trade at California Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz).

Applications for year five of the MetroConnect program are now open. Interested small- and medium-sized companies, who are looking to pursue international sales as a near-term priority or already exporting its goods or services, may apply 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

About EDDY Pump Corporation
Founded in 1984, EDDY Pump is a technology development and manufacturing company located in San Diego, CA. The company designs and manufactures proprietary technology for the U.S. Military along with some of the largest oil, mining, wastewater, chemical, marine construction and other industry-related companies in the world. By bring together some of the best mechanical, electric, ocean, embedded systems, hydraulic and manufacturing engineers, EDDY Pump is leading the field with breakthrough technology. eddypump.com

 

APPLY FOR METROCONNECT 2020

WTC San Diego hosts translation and supply chain workshop

WTCSD MetroConnect

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.

Investor Spotlight: Aerotek

Aerotek

San Diego Regional EDC welcomes new investor Aerotek to its membership of more than 180 companies in the region. Headquartered in Maryland, this privately-owned staffing company has more than 230 integrated offices throughout the United States and Canada. They have had a presence in San Diego County for 25-plus years, currently operating out of San Marcos, Scripps Ranch, and Kearny Mesa. In 2018, Aerotek grossed $6.6 billion in revenue and they continue to maintain more than 100,000 active contract employees weekly.

Aerotek’s mission is to bring great people and great organizations together, which functions well in San Diego’s diverse and robust economy. This has also allowed them to serve many people throughout different professional industries. Additionally, Aerotek has benefited from San Diego’s deep talent base and strong economic prowess, and of course from the features that make San Diego so Life. Changing. From the beautiful beaches and Petco Park to Old Town’s rich and historic culture, it is easy to see why Aerotek chose to open offices in San Diego.

Rep. Peters, WTC San Diego to lead trade mission to Japan

In an effort to create a connection between vital economic trading partners, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) and World Trade Center San Diego, an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC, are leading a delegation to Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan. During the trade mission, local companies and organizations will promote key San Diego industries, establish and develop business relationships and explore opportunities for San Diego companies to tap into Japan’s expertise in urban planning and life sciences.

“In today’s global economy, San Diego’s success depends on fostering international relationships that bring investment and jobs to our region,” said Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52). “Japan shares our commitment to life sciences and our startup culture, creating opportunities for collaboration every day. Strengthening our partnership will foster innovation and economic growth in both our regions.”

Japan is currently the third largest economy in the world, and one of San Diego’s most vital trading partners. According to World Trade Center Los Angeles, nearly 12,000 San Diegans are directly employed by Japan-based companies including SONY, Takeda and more. Additionally, there was more than $3.4 billion in economic activity between San Diego and Japan from 2016 -2018.

“Ever since the launch of Japan Airlines’ direct service from San Diego, we have seen an influx in foreign investment from the Japanese market,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director of World Trade Center San Diego and vice president of economic development at San Diego Regional EDC. “As the rhetoric around global engagement shifts, now, more than ever, it is essential that we reinforce San Diego’s brand so it is top of mind for investors and companies.”

Over the three day trade mission, San Diego will look to bolster its tech and life sciences industries through various meetings and partnership deals with Japanese counterparts. Some crucial agenda items include:

  • An announcement from a San Diego-based biotech startup that is expanding to Tokyo.
  • A ‘trends in venture capital forum’ with Qualcomm, Yahoo! Japan and others at Plug and Play, the world’s largest technology accelerator.
  • A celebration of more than 60 years of a “Sister City” relationship with Yokohama, Japan.
  • An immersive visit to Takeda’s Shonan Health Innovation Park, one of the first collaborative academic and private sector research centers in Japan.
  • Panels and programming surrounding best practices and ideas exchanges on climate change with Scripps Institute of Oceanography as well as leadership and gender equity.

Delegates will participate in upwards of 15 meetings over the course of the trade mission, sharing best practices and formulating collaborations across many verticals. The 31-San Diego delegates include representatives from Northrop Grumman, Qualcomm Takeda California and more. Also in attendance are key San Diego agencies, universities and civic organizations such as the Port of San Diego, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, San Diego State University, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UC San Diego and more.

Additionally, many small businesses and startups, including FoxFury Lighting Solutions, Planck Aerosystems and Scientist.com, will have the opportunity to engage in business development opportunities with Japanese counterparts.

As Tokyo looks to modernize infrastructure and grapples with key issues ahead of the 2020 Olympics, San Diego leaders have the unique opportunity to learn from counterparts across the globe, while also maintaining ties that create jobs and boost the regional economy.

At a time of mounting global uncertainty, World Trade Center San Diego conducts periodic trade missions to drive long term relationships for San Diego’s economy. In 2017, World Trade Center San Diego and Congressman Peters led a trade mission to London, which enabled startup Forge Therapeutics to double its headcount in San Diego and expand to a new facility.

This trade mission is organized by World Trade Center San Diego, an affiliate of the San Diego Regional EDC.

Follow along during the trade mission: #SDinJapan.