Open now: California Competes Tax Credit

ABOUT THE California Competes Tax Credit

San Diego businesses: Apply by January 22 for the Cal Competes Tax Credit. Available to companies looking to expand or retain jobs in California over the next five years, applicants may be eligible for up to $164 million in tax credits from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).

Awards are based on several factors:

  • Number of jobs created or retained in California
  • Anticipated amount of new capital investments
  • Overall economic benefit to the state
  • Opportunities for future growth and expansion

For more information on eligibility and assistance, visit the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) website.

learn more & Apply by January 22

need help applying?

All businesses are encouraged to watch this GO-Biz’ recorded webinar before beginning the application process.

EDC’s expert team is available to San Diego companies in need of assistance, free of charge.

HELP MY BUSINESS APPLY

“Creative Electron is very pleased with the support received from CMTC and EDC. We are constantly thinking of our growth goals and how to get there. We believe our people and diversity make us great, and by providing them with the tools to expand their skill set, we are confident we will be able to exceed our ambitious goals.”
–Mariem Ortiz, VP of Operations at Creative Electron, which secured a California Competes Tax Credit of $446,700.

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EDC’s business services

MetroConnect Spotlight: Solecta

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 Melinda Burn, vice president of strategic marketing for MetroConnect VI finalist Solecta, to discuss the company’s membrane separation technologies and recent international growth through its time in MetroConnect.

Tell us about Solecta and its mission.

Solecta Inc., based in Oceanside, California, is a leader in membrane separation technologies with a unique go-to-market strategy focused on rapid customer-centric innovation, deep domain process expertise, and value delivery. With our proprietary membrane and element design and manufacturing capabilities, we develop and deploy novel and critical separation products and technologies that help our clients optimize yield, improve purification, and reduce water and energy usage.

Why did you apply to be in MetroConnect?

Solecta applied to be in MetroConnect to leverage the program’s resources and expertise in international trade to enable global expansion, tap into new markets, and increase revenue opportunities. Through the program, we hoped to establish valuable networking connections and gain insights into navigating the complexities of international export compliance and regulations.

How did MetroConnect help your company?

MetroConnect helped Solecta by providing grants that assisted with increasing and improving digital marketing activities and advancing our global commercial go-to-market strategy. In addition, through MetroConnect and its partners, we were able to apply for and be awarded a grant from the California State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). Since joining the MetroConnect program, Solecta has grown its international presence, resulting in increased revenue and brand recognition. We have expanded our workforce in Europe, allowing us to better serve our clients in the region.

What is on the horizon for Solecta’s international growth?

Through MetroConnect’s extensive network and resources, such as the STEP grant, we have been able to reach prospective clients in new regions and navigate the complexities of the global regulatory landscapes to enter new geographic markets. Our ultimate goal is to create more connections and grow our strategic partnerships in various regions through the MetroConnect network to enable the expansion of our international business and grow our manufacturing and R&D footprint in the greater San Diego area. The comprehensive resources provided by the MetroConnect program will help us deliver even more value to our clients as a top industry leader.

What advice would you give to companies interested in growing internationally and participating in MetroConnect?

To successfully expand globally, a company must conduct thorough market research to comprehend the target markets, cultural nuances and competitive landscape. Developing a solid market entry strategy that considers local regulations, distribution channels and customer preferences is essential. Moreover, utilizing established networks like MetroConnect can provide valuable resources, connections, and insights to ensure successful expansion efforts.


Your turn: Grow your international sales with MetroConnect, too!

Like Solecta, apply to join MetroConnect VII, and receive an export grant, expert advising, workshops, regional mentors, and more.

APPLY NOW →

The application takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

PlusLearn 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.

MetroConnect Spotlight: Novo Brazil Brewing

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.

APPLY NOW →

The application takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

PlusLearn 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.

Access Trax wins $25K MetroConnect VI export grand prize

World Trade Center San Diego and 200+ voting audience award $25K for international expansion

World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) named Access Trax, which provides ADA compliant portable access mats for outdoor accessibility, as the winner of the MetroConnect export accelerator program, now in its sixth year. Made possible through a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Procopio, Access Trax will use the $25,000 award to expand its presence in markets such as Canada and Australia.

With more than 75 million people around the world using a wheelchair on a daily basis, Access Trax’ portable, foldable mats create pathways to access outdoor terrain like sand, grass, gravel, and snow that is otherwise impossible to navigate.

“Access Trax is the perfect reflection of San Diego’s life-changing innovation, leveraging our region’s excellence in manufacturing and lifestyle to help drive accessibility around the globe,” said Lucas Coleman, WTCSD Director. “The company’s results from MetroConnect’s sixth cohort are impressive. Whether it’s fine-tuning the go-to-market strategy in target markets such as Canada or alleviating critical language translation challenges, working to connect small and medium-sized businesses to international markets builds greater resilience here at home.”

The female-founded small business Access Trax beat out three other finalists in MetroConnect VI, Novo Brazil Brewing, Nano PharmaSolutions, and Solecta. The grand prize-winning company was decided via real-time audience vote during the Grand Prize PitchFest event May 11 at UC San Diego Park & Market. Prior to this, a committee of senior international business leaders in San Diego helped the WTCSD team nominate these top performers, out of the initial 15-company cohort.

“The MetroConnect program was instrumental in helping us lay the foundation for our strategic international growth. Access Trax is thrilled to earn the top vote of the audience and judges and we look forward to using the $25K towards local job creation and continued export growth for an even bigger impact,” said Kelly Twichel, CEO of Access Trax, the MetroConnect VI Grand Prize winner.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

In its first six years, MetroConnect has helped 95 local, small and mid-sized businesses generate a net increase of $97 million in international sales, 522 international contracts, and 32 overseas facilities. This international growth has coincided with 319 new hires here in the San Diego region.

Each cohort year, WTCSD selects 15 export-ready small businesses to receive $5,000 export grants, access to executive workshops, translation software, and a chance to win a $25,000 grand prize to aid in further international market expansion. Applications for year seven of the MetroConnect program are now open through July 14, 2023. Interested small- and medium-sized companies that are looking to pursue international sales as a near-term priority or already exporting its goods or services may apply here.

GLOBAL CONNECTION TO BOOST RESILIENCE

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the national rhetoric around global trade has shifted. According to The World Bank, countries that trade internationally enjoy more economic growth, are more innovative and productive, and can provide more opportunities to citizens. San Diego is no exception—regional small businesses that export tend to have a larger and more diversified customer base, pick up best practices from global competitors, build up economies of scale, and ultimately pay their employees more. Access to international customers and markets is essential in helping San Diego’s business community recover after the COVID-19 pandemic, as small businesses employ 60 percent of San Diegans.

“For nearly a decade now, JPMorgan Chase and MetroConnect have teamed up to help San Diego businesses push the boundaries of innovation and growth,” said Aaron Ryan, Managing Director for San Diego Middle Market Banking at JPMorgan Chase. “San Diego is one of the most resilient economies in the U.S., and we keep seeing how businesses here are primed to realize their full potential across the globe.”

WTCSD hosted its MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest on May 11, with remarks by Nikia Clarke, Executive Director, WTCSD; Kevin Cox, President, Electra Bicycle Company; Danny Fitzgerald, Regional Director, San Diego & Imperial SBDC Network; and program underwriter Aaron Ryan, Managing Director for San Diego Middle Market Banking, JPMorgan Chase.

WTCSD has year-round, non-exclusive international opportunities that help companies break expand internationally, such as the Export SBDC and strategy for global engagement.

Learn more about WTCSD

Open now: California Competes Tax Credit

ABOUT THE California Competes Tax Credit

Is your businesses growing in the state of California over the next five years, or at risk of leaving California? Applications are now open for companies seeking a tax credit to offset state income tax liability. The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has $85 million in tax credits available for your company in this funding round.

Awards are primarily based on the following factors, including:

  • Number of jobs created or retained
  • Anticipated amount of new capital investments
  • Overall economic benefit to the state
  • Opportunities for future growth and expansion

For more information on eligibility and assistance, visit the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) website.

Apply by March 20

Get help applying

Learn about the application process via California GO-Biz’s on-demand webinars:

Fill out the form linked below to request application assistance from EDC staff, free of charge.

HELP MY BUSINESS APPLY

“Creative Electron is very pleased with the support received from CMTC and EDC. We are constantly thinking of our growth goals and how to get there. We believe our people and diversity make us great, and by providing them with the tools to expand their skill set, we are confident we will be able to exceed our ambitious goals.”
–Mariem Ortiz, VP of Operations at Creative Electron, which secured a California Competes Tax Credit of $446,700.

MORE RESOURCES

EDC’s business services

Four San Diego programs helping Latinx professionals thrive

Originally published on San Diego: Life. Changing.

September 15 kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States—a time to honor and celebrate the diverse cultures, rich heritage, and endless contributions of Latinx and Hispanic people in our country.

As a binational region, this community has long shaped, built, and led San Diego. And in observance of the month, we’ve compiled just a few of the many programs helping Latinx professionals thrive and climb in San Diego.

MAAC

MAAC helps local families achieve self-sufficiency through its pathways of service—advocacy and leadership development, economic development, education, health and wellbeing, and housing. The nonprofit offers multiple high-quality programs like its Unidos in Finance program to help kickstart your career in financial services with online training and job placement assistance.

Explore MAAC’s full menu of services and save the date for its upcoming Soirée.

MANA de San Diego

MANA de San Diego is part of a National Latina Organization that serves to empower Latinas through education, leadership development, community service, and advocacy. Its four-month Latina Success Leadership Program takes aim at the glass ceiling and addresses the problem of under-representation of Latinas in leadership roles through a series of sessions focused on leadership development, building resiliency, and increasing civic engagement.

Learn more about the program and stay tuned for the announcement of its next cohort’s application round in January 2023. And, if you’re a Latina in business, join MANA de San Diego for its Latina Success Conference in October.

SD2

Interested in a STEM career? San Diego Squared (SD2) focuses on helping underrepresented students enter careers in STEM by providing access to education, mentorship, and resources they need to thrive. Made possible through partnerships with San Diego companies like Illumina and Neurocrine Biosciences, SD2 connects educators and high school and college students to funding.

Explore its funding opportunities and check out its STEM Capsules for a series of inspiring videos highlighting BIPOC STEM professionals’ stories and advice for you.

San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

As San Diego’s largest business association representing the Hispanic community with over 500 members, San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s events and programs are a perfect way to grow your network and market your business.

Want to start your business and don’t know where to start? Connect with like-minded individuals at the Chamber’s monthly Cafecito and networking events with Latino business owners and leaders.

How can you support Latinx San Diegans?

Learning about Hispanic heritage, amplifying diverse stories and voices, and shopping at Latinx-owned businesses are just some of the many ways we can support all year round. This month and every month, we celebrate the accomplishments, resiliency, innovation, and leadership of San Diego’s Hispanic and Latinx community.

Blue Sky Network wins $25K MetroConnect V export grand prize

World Trade Center San Diego and nearly 250 voting audience award $25K for international expansion

World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) named Blue Sky Network, which provides satellite-based communications and fleet management solutions for aviation, maritime, and IoT customers, as the winner of the MetroConnect export accelerator program, now in its fifth year. Made possible through a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Procopio, Blue Sky Network will use the $25,000 award to expand its presence in Brazil and promote the launch of its new SkyLink product in global markets.

“Blue Sky Network is the perfect reflection of San Diego’s innovation economy coming together, leveraging our excellence in defense and technology now on an international stage,” said Lucas Coleman, senior manager at WTCSD. “The results from MetroConnect’s fifth cohort are impressive. Whether it’s alleviating supply chain processes in Australia or cultivating leads in Korea, Brazil and the UK amid incredible economic uncertainty, working to connect small and medium-sized businesses to international markets builds greater resilience here at home.”

Blue Sky Network beat out three other finalists in MetroConnect V: White Labs, Inc., SIDUS Solutions, and Mayan Robotics. The grand prize-winning company was decided by a 250-person voting audience via virtual events platform Whova, a former MetroConnect participant. Prior to this, a committee of senior international business leaders in San Diego helped the WTCSD team nominate these top four performers out of the initial 15-company cohort.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

In its first five years, MetroConnect has helped 80 local, small and mid-sized businesses generate a net increase of $95 million in international sales, 543 international contracts, and 22 overseas facilities. This international growth has coincided with 269 new hires here in the San Diego region.

Each cohort year, WTCSD selects 15 export-ready small and mid-sized businesses to receive $5,000 export grants, access to executive workshops, translation software, discounted international airfare, and a chance to win a $25,000 grand prize to aid in further international market expansion. Applications for year six of the MetroConnect program are now open through December 17. Interested small- and medium-sized companies that are looking to pursue international sales as a near-term priority or already exporting its goods or services may apply here.

Apply by Dec 17

GLOBAL CONNECTION TO BOOST RESILIENCE

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the national rhetoric around global trade has shifted. According to The World Bank, countries that trade internationally enjoy more economic growth, are more innovative and productive, and can provide more opportunities to citizens. San Diego is no exception—regional small businesses that export tend to have a larger and more diversified customer base, pick up best practices from global competitors, build up economies of scale, and ultimately pay their employees more. Access to international customers and markets is essential in helping San Diego’s business community recover after the COVID-19 pandemic, as small businesses employ 60 percent of San Diegans.

“We’ve successfully navigated an incredibly challenging global environment over the past year and a half and the MetroConnect program has helped exceed our international sales targets,” said Gregoire Demory, president at Blue Sky Network, MetroConnect V grand prize winner. “We look forward to using MetroConnect’s additional funding to keep promoting the Blue Sky Network brand and our new SkyLink product overseas.”

“Since 2015, JPMorgan Chase has been proud to support MetroConnect, helping San Diego businesses successfully navigate complex global markets and create new local opportunities,” said Aaron Ryan, Executive Director for San Diego Middle Market Banking at JPMorgan Chase. “San Diego is one of the best places for innovation, and we are excited to help these businesses maximize our region’s international potential.”

WTCSD hosted its MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest virtually on November 15, with keynote remarks by MetroConnect underwriters Dennis Doucette, Partner at Procopio, and Aaron Ryan, Executive Director for San Diego Middle Market Banking at JPMorgan Chase.

READY TO TAKE YOUR BUSINESS GLOBAL?

WTCSD has year-round, non-exclusive international opportunities that help companies break expand internationally, such as the Export Specialty SBDC and strategy for global engagement. To learn about more WTCSD initiatives, events, and programs, visit WTCSD.org.

Announcement: Preferred Providers of Manufacturing

Need talent? We’ve got options

Advancing San Diego partners remain committed to better connecting San Diego students to opportunities at local companies. We’re excited to announce our Preferred Providers of manufacturing talent, and to open applications for small companies in need of manufacturing interns.

Meet the Preferred Providers

EDC, San Diego Workforce Partnership, and other Advancing San Diego partners are excited to announce the following schools as Preferred Providers of manufacturing talent. These Preferred Providers are local programs recognized by industry, through a competitive application process, for training the next generation of machinists and engineering technicians.

Preferred Providers of Manufacturing talent:

The Preferred Provider network serves as a resource to better connect employers to locally-serving education programs. Previously, we have announced cohorts of Preferred Providers in software, engineering, and business talent.

View the Full Network of Programs

Need Manufacturing Talent?

If you are a small company (<200 employees) interested in hosting manufacturing interns specializing as engineering technicians or machinists this Summer, and you meet the eligibility criteria, please apply now! Twelve companies will be selected to host interns sourced from Preferred Provider programs starting July 2021. Interns will be paid $22/hour fully subsidized by the Advancing San Diego Internship ProgramApplications will close Wednesday, April 28, 2021. Read first-hand testimonials from some of the small companies who have already hosted interns in our blog series here.

Apply to Host Interns

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