World Trade Center San Diego, through a grant provided by JPMorgan Chase & Co., and more than 100 business and community leaders awarded the 2017-18 MetroConnect Grand Prize to CureMatch, a local digital health company focused on personalized medicine and oncology. The company will use the $35,000 award to take its life-saving technology into the Canadian, Mexican and European markets.
“Three years in, the success of the MetroConnect program points to the importance of global trade and connectivity,” said Nikia Clarke, Ph.D., executive director of World Trade Center San Diego, the organization administering the grants. “From securing distribution partnerships in Japan to inking deals in key biotech hubs across the EU, the MetroConnect Grand Prize finalists are sharing their life-changing innovation with the world, helping strengthen San Diego’s economy and workforce.”
Managed by World Trade Center San Diego, an affiliate of the San Diego Regional EDC, and presented by JPMorgan Chase, the MetroConnect Grand Prize offers $35,000 to one of 15 companies to aid in their foreign market expansion. The complete list of finalists can be found here.
The benefits of companies going global and engaging foreign markets are well-documented. According to the Brookings Institution, companies that are global pay their employees higher wages, are less likely to go out of business and spur more efficient development of technology and R&D.
In 2017 alone, San Diego exported $23.8 billion in goods and services from diverse industries including aircraft manufacturing to pharmaceutical R&D. Small- to medium-sized businesses produce 92 percent of those goods – undergirding the importance of programs like MetroConnect.
Now in its third year, MetroConnect has emerged as the region’s premier export assistance program. Run by World Trade Center San Diego, 15 companies are selected on an annual basis and equipped with a suite of programmatic and financial resources to help them in their plans to go global. Out of 50 applicants in 2017, just 15 San Diego companies were awarded the initial $10,000 MetroConnect grant, funded by JPMorgan Chase. Since the program’s inception in 2015, the cohort companies have produced an additional $15 million in export sales and 161 new jobs for the region, collectively.
A panel of judges consisting of business and community leaders reviewed the companies’ respective accomplishments and goals as a means of selecting the top four finalists to present at the Grand Prize event: CureMatch, FoxFury, Planck Aerosystems and Tioga Research.
“CureMatch is thrilled to win the Pitchfest, with special thanks to World Trade Center San Diego and JPMorgan Chase,” said Stephane Richard, Ph.D., president and CEO of CureMatch. “Cancer has no boundaries, so while CureMatch was born in San Diego, we believe that every one of the more than 15 million people diagnosed with cancer this year deserves the best treatment. This grand prize will help CureMatch save more lives around the world.”
“JPMorgan Chase is committed to helping local businesses connect to the global marketplace,” said Tim West, region manager of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Commercial Banking practice in San Diego. “We congratulate the finalists for their efforts to grow their businesses internationally while creating jobs and boosting our local economy.”
The Grand Prize event was hosted at Alexandria Real Estate on June 7, with keynote remarks by Matt Cole president, Cubic Transportation Systems and corporate senior vice president, Cubic Corporation.