World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) works directly with companies free of charge to help them expand internationally and grow in San Diego, supported by San Diego Regional EDC’s nearly 200 private company and public agency investors. Since 2015, WTCSD’s MetroConnect export accelerator has assisted 95 San Diego companies in turning $890,000 in export grants into $97 million in new international sales, 543 new international contracts, and 32 new offices around the world.
We sat down with Tiago Carneiro, owner and founder of MetroConnect VI finalist Novo Brazil Brewing, to discuss the company’s Brazilian-inspired beverages and its recent international growth through its time in MetroConnect.
Tell us about Novo Brazil Brewing and its mission.
Novo Brazil Brewing is an international, award-winning beverage company based in Chula Vista, California. Our company thrives on producing high quality beer, seltzers, spritz and kombuchas with exotic flavors, which are all represented in our brand’s colorful packages. Our main production facility is located in Eastlake, Chula Vista, and includes a taproom to serve the community. In addition to the wholesale part of our business, Novo Brazil Brewing has opened four taprooms and restaurants in San Diego County.
Why did you apply to be in MetroConnect?
We applied to be in the MetroConnect program for a few reasons:
- To develop our export program: Logistics, international regulations, compliance, networking, etc.
- To grow our business network in San Diego
- To grow our brand exposure domestically and internationally
How did MetroConnect help your company?
The main benefit we experienced joining MetroConnect was definitely access to San Diego’s expansive business network through EDC’s staff. A few outcomes of this partnership included sponsorships and events, deeper connections with City of Chula Vista and SDG&E, and introductions to freight forwarder companies, San Diego Airport’s Terminal 1 concessions groups, and the San Diego Convention Center.
Additionally, the program’s executive workshops always provided our team with essential information for doing business internationally, and put us in direct contact with experienced mentors.
Finally, for quite a while, we were not sure how to best utilize the program’s $5,000 export grant—and we ended up using it to lower the high shipping costs for our distributors in Europe.
What is on the horizon for Novo Brazil Brewing’s international growth?
MetroConnect made us realize that exporting is a great source of business and income for our company. We already have an established sales in Europe and Japan, and the goal now is to increase volume. We are positive that our beverages now being shelf stable will open more doors for export expansion, and we want to take advantage of this.
What advice would you give to companies interested in growing internationally and participating in MetroConnect?
It is essential to fully understand your products, your processes, and your business goals before growing internationally. Having a strong presence and an established brand in your local market are key for targeting international markets.
Your turn: Grow your international sales with MetroConnect, too!
Like Novo Brazil Brewing, apply to join MetroConnect VII, and receive an export grant, expert advising, workshops, regional mentors, and more.
The application takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.
Plus: Learn how five cohorts of 80 MetroConnect alumni, including Dr. Bronner’s, Blue Sky Network, EDDY Pump, and White Labs, leveraged the program to drive 63 percent average export growth and 40 percent average revenue growth.